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The Russian Versailles

Petergof, Saint Petersburg, Russia
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Peterhof Palace is sometimes referred to as the Russian Versailles. It is a series of palaces and gardens arranged by the plan of Peter the Great. The grand palace is the centerpiece of the grounds. Just in front of the palace lies the Grand Cascade. The Grand Cascade is comprised of an artificial grotto and 64 fountains. The grotto contains a museum of the history of the fountain and connects to the palace by means of an underground passageway. Peterhof palace is surrounded by the upper and lower gardens. Throughout the lower gardens are many creative fountains. The greatest achievement of the fountains is that they all operate without the use of any pumps. The water collects from natural springs in reservoirs in the Upper Gardens and are gravity fed to the fountains in the Lower Gardens. On a playful note, two of the fountains in the Lower Gardens are designed to soak unsuspecting visitors who wander too near. Peterhof Gardens can be reached by hydrofoil from the pier in front of the Hermitage. Approaching from the water gives you a majestic approach to the palace. Overall, it was a most pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
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