Peterhof is the first imperial residence of Peter the Great, the founder of St.Petersburg ( if we don’t consider Strelna town where it was too expensive to build fountains. That is why Versailles of the North has been moved further). Peterhof is famous for its fountains, there are around 150 of them and 4 cascades. Famous Peterhof parks are divided into the Upper Garden and the Lower Garden. In the Lower Park there’s a beautiful Grand Channel with a Grand Cascade – official entrance into the residence with favorite transport of Peter the Great, by sea.
Ships used to approach to the beginning of the Canal from the Baltic Sea, guests would move to small boats and those would arrive right to the main staircase leading to the Grand Palace. There’s still that beautiful lace like balcony where the emperor Peter the Great together with his spouse empress Catherine I used to welcome guests (Catherine I should not be mixed with Catherine II). That’s where a famous Russian expression comes from: from the ship to the ball . Guests would get into the whirl of dancing right from their boats!
In the majority of cases no one lived in the Grand Palace, it was used for masquerades, carnivals, balls. The royalty lived in small cozy palaces which are still around in the Lower Gardens. They represent a special interest. I love the Imperial Bath. It is a whole system. It consists of Antechamber for ladies in waiting of the empress, Room for rest of the empress, Cold Bath and other super interesting premises. There’s a kitchen which has been there since Peter the Great’s times which means 18th century. The cold bath is interesting because that is where the empress Maria Alexandrovna, spouse of the emperor Alexander II (ruling 1856-1881) spent her days. St Petersburg is known for its cold and humid climate, we do not have much sun. A lot of people suffered from tuberculosis so did the empress Maria.
Doctors were not capable of curing the disease, there were no antibiotics at that time but the empress’s doctor prescribed a certain procedure so that Maria felt better. What was the procedure? The empress went down into an oak tree pool, sat on a chair and rang the bell. Cold water started running from the shower head, after that her body was wrapped with cold wet sheets and covered with dry wool blanket. With all that the empress was given cold water to drink.
It sounds weird but the empress felt much better after such manipulations and could breath freely. She lived quite a long life for a person ill with tuberculosis -55 years.
The zest about this shower thing is that it is a shower-chandelier! It looks like a chandelier made of milk glass and decorated with grape leaves but if one looks closer they will see that inside there’s a shower head! A charming structure!
I advise tourists to visit the Lower Gardens with the Grand Palace and some small palace, for example: Mon Plaisir, the Imperial Bath House, Catherine’s Block, the Hermitage. They all are worth visiting.