Interesting facts in the history of Peterhof
On the way from Kronstadt to St. Petersburg on September 13, 1705 at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon the small sailing ship Muncher anchored on the coast of the Gulf of Finland opposite Peterhof. This, at first glance, a minor event reports the logbook of the ship.
It is believed that it was on that day that Peter I, assessing the terrain, decided to build a seaside "paradise" on the manor. Since that time, tsarist decrees constantly mentioned it, along with Kronstadt and St. Petersburg, as an object of construction work.
Let's get acquainted briefly with the history of Peterhof, as well as some interesting and unusual facts. And we will begin our excursion into the past of the museum-reserve from the era of the Middle Ages.
The history of Peterhof began long before the day when Peter the Great decided to create his summer residence here. It is known that already in the XII century in this area lived Novgorod, who built in 1237 the city of Koporye. Prince Alexander Nevsky, according to legend, left him in a battle with the Swedes.
In the heyday of the Novgorod Republic, the environs of present-day Peterhof belonged to the mayor Zakhari Ovinov. After the conquest of the land by the Moscow principality in 1478, vozvoda Bestuzhev Afonya began to own these lands.
By the beginning of the 18th century, Chukhonian villages were located on the coast of the Gulf of Finland: Kusoya and Pokhioki, on the site of which the country palace of the imperial family was soon laid.
The brainchild of Peter the Great
The history of Peterhof is replete with legends. According to one of them, the idea of building the palace belonged to Catherine I. Since Peter often traveled to Kronstadt to monitor the construction of fortifications, and in stormy weather the sea presented many dangers, the empress advised him to build a house in the place where the move would be convenient and close.
Later, when Peter I saw a suitable manor, he followed the advice of his wife, ordering in 1709 to build a harbor, and not far from her to build a “passing palace” in the Dutch style. So Monplaisir appeared, and next to it was built a bathhouse, a dining room, a bathroom, a buffet and a marching church.
Preserved memories of his contemporaries, which you can imagine what was Peterhof at the time of Peter the Great. So, the Upper Chambers (the present central part of the Grand Palace) had two floors.On the first lived a servant, on the second - the royal family. Behind them, the Upper Park was broken, and a menagerie was arranged behind it.
A wide cascade of three ledges went straight down to the Lower Park to flower beds and two alleys that led to the pleasure palaces built near the Neva itself. The first fountains were earned in Peterhof in 1721, although those that we see today were installed after the death of the reformer tsar.
Peter the Great, as we know, was a very active monarch. He himself drafted decrees relating to the construction of a suburban residence. The drawings and drawings with the emperor’s notes have been preserved, so it is often called the first architect of Peterhof.
The king ordered sculptures and paintings abroad to adorn his palaces and parks. He also wrote a sculptor, painter and architect from France. In addition, Peter personally developed a fountain system, to which he proposed to conduct a 20 km long water line from Ropshinsky heights.
Finally, in the summer of 1721, a yacht with foreign ambassadors moored along the canal, dug from the sea to the palace. They were met by Peter I, who invited diplomats to the opening of a new suburban residence.In honor of this event in the history of Peterhof fountains were first launched.
Bell Tower "Notes"
The preserved reports of foreign ambassadors indicate that a visit to the suburban residence of the Russian Tsar impressed them greatly. Like other European monarchs, Peter I loved various wonders.
In the history of Peterhof, for example, there was an unusual bell tower, “Notes”, arranged in a large grotto. Glass bells matched by tones rang thanks to cork hammers, which were set in motion by means of a water mechanism connected to them. Silent pleasant chords made by the bells reproduced various melodies.
The history of Peterhof, of course, did not end with the death of its creator. The case of Peter was continued by Anna Ivanovna, Elizaveta Petrovna and other monarchs. Old buildings were demolished and new ones erected. However, some buildings that existed during the time of Peter the Great, can be seen today.
For example, a small palace of Marly in the Lower Park. He cannot be called a copy of the royal residence of Marly-le-Roi, which Peter visited during his trip to France in 1717.However, it borrowed the idea of combining the economic and decorative purposes of the park, as well as the general architectural solution of the building.
The restored Marly Palace opened the doors for tourists in 1982. The exposition of this museum presents many personal belongings of Peter the Great: books, a sea overcoat, a slate, a caftan, dishes, etc.
Empress Elizabeth, like her father, loved to rest in Peterhof from the tiresome court etiquette. Nevertheless, she wanted to have a magnificent country residence for ceremonies. Such a task was set before the Baroque genius - Bartolomeo Rastrelli.
The history of the Peterhof Palace, which began under Peter I when the Upper Chambers were erected, continued in 1745. Two wings were attached to the building, in which there were halls, sofa beds, living rooms and offices not inferior to the luxury of French Versailles.
In subsequent epochs, the interior of the Grand Palace was repeatedly updated in accordance with the successive artistic styles. However, its main purpose has always remained the same - to be the center of social life in St. Petersburg.
Every year several million tourists come to the northern capital of Russia to admire the legendary fountain complex in Peterhof. True, in the original plan of Peter I, it was supposed to be arranged in Strelna. However, after engineer B. B. Munich proved the impossibility of implementing this plan, the construction was transferred to Peterhof.
The history of fountains, or rather their creation, has more than a hundred years. Today the complex consists of 4 cascades and 173 fountains, among which Samson undoubtedly occupies the main place. Already after the death of Peter I in 1725, Empress Catherine established this group, which symbolized Russia's victory over Sweden in the Northern War.
The first fountain was cast from lead, and only under Emperor Paul was replaced by a bronze sculpture. During the Second World War, the statue of "Samson" disappeared along with the other three large sculptures of the fountain complex, which did not have time to evacuate. Like the palaces, the cascade had to be rebuilt. The last reconstruction of the fountains ended in 1995, after which they started working again.
Of course, it is hardly possible to list all the interesting facts in the history of the creation of Peterhof in the framework of a small article.However, this in no way detracts from the cultural significance of the palace and park complex and its place in the history of Russia.