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The fountain gardens of Peterhof

500 acres, 200+ statues, 144 fountains and a whole lot of decadence. The Peterhof Palace near Saint Petersburg is one of Russia’s most famous sites. Tsar Peter the Great had it built as a summer residence and in an attempt to compete with the finest Western courts like Versailles, he managed to make it even bigger and more spectacular…

Saint Petersburg has a whole lot of attractions on its own, including Peter the Great’s Winter Palace. But if you can, I advise you to save one afternoon for a trip to one of the suburbs: the city of Petrodvorets or Peterhof, about 29 km west of St. Petersburg. This is where you’ll find one of the oldest, most beautiful and best preserved imperial estates in the whole world: the 18th century palace complex (or should I say playground?) of tsar Peter the Great.

What makes the fountains special is that there’s not a single pump needed to make them operational. The water is supplied by reservoirs on the upper level and the natural slope of the terrain creates the pressure and force necessary to reach all the fountains, from upper to lower level. The whole system is about 22 km long… Good to know: the fountains are shut down in winter and turned back on in May.

Getting there

Getting to the Peterhof palace is easy if you’re staying in St. Petersburg. You can chose between different transport options: by train, by bus or minibus (they’re called marshrutkas) or you can take a canal ride, like we did. We boarded a cool looking hydrofoil of the Peterhof Express company at Angliskaya Naberezhnaya (next to the Senate Building). It took us down the Neva river and the Gulf of Finland in about 45 minutes and we boarded a jetty right in front of the palace gardens.

Find more photos and facts on my blog:


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Hi there! I’m Belgian, I’m a freelance journalist, I made my first real trip abroad when I was 8 (as a member of a folk dancing group) and I have been traveling ever since. Here are my stories, videos and pictures!

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