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Summer Garden

The Summer Garden is located where the Fontanka River flows out of the Neva River. It was founded in 1704 by order of Peter the Great, who was personally involved in planning it, and is laid out according to strict geometrical principles. The Summer Garden is home to marble statues acquired from Europe especially for Russia's new capital, and also to rare flowers and plants, as well as fountains. It was a traditional location for courtly life outside the palace, and balls were held here by the nobility, who also enjoyed simply taking the air in the Garden.

  • Sculptures of the Summer Garden in St Petersburg, Russia
    Sculptures of the Summer Garden
  • Newly-recreated fountain in the Summer Garden in St Petersburg, Russia
    Newly-recreated fountain in the Summer Garden
  • Sculptures of the Summer Garden in Saint-Petersburg, Russia
    Sculptures of the Summer Garden
  • The Summer Garden is full of people on warm summer days in St Petersburg, Russia
    The Summer Garden is full of people on warm summer days

The Summer Garden is also the location of Peter the Great's first Summer Palace, built by the great Italian architect Domenico Trezzini and still there today. This Summer Palace - a two-storey Dutch-style affair with a high roof and comparatively modest interior - was one of St. Petersburg's first stone palaces. Its original interiors have been preserve to this day.

In 1777 the Summer Garden was severely damaged by flooding: Several statues were destroyed and fountains broken. However, it was soon restored to its original regular plan. Today its avenues are adorned by 79 sculptures by Italian sculptors of the 17th and 18th centuries, including Boratta, Bozzazza, and many others - the oldest collection of garden statues in Russia. And the selection of mythological themes in the statues is no accident, as the images of the gods and heroes of Antiquity reflected the ideas underpinning Peter's state and transforming activity.

The famous wrought-iron fence of the Summer Garden and the Summer Palace of Peter the Great in Saint-Petersburg, Russia
The famous wrought-iron fence of the Summer Garden and the Summer Palace of Peter the Great

The Neva River end of the Summer Garden is bounded by a fence designed by the architect Yury Felten in 1773-1786. The Garden is also home to a Coffee House (designed by Carlo Rossi) and a Tea House (designed by Ludwig Charlemagne); in front of the latter is a statue of the great Russian fabulist Ilya Krylov by the sculptor Pyotr Klodt. The base of the monument is decorated by a bas relief based on themes from Krylov's tales.

How to Get There:

The Summer Garden is located next to the Field of Mars and St. Michael's Castle. To get there, take the metro to Gostiny Dvor station, cross Nevsky Prospekt and head up Sadovaya Ulitsa until you get to St. Michael's Castle. One of the two entrances to the Summer Garden is located just behind the Castle, across the canal.

Panorama of the Summer Garden and surrounding landmarks, including St Michael's Castle and the Field of Mars in St Petersburg, Russia
Panorama of the Summer Garden and surrounding landmarks, including St Michael's Castle and the Field of Mars
Timeline:
1704 - Summer Garden laid out on the island bounded by the Fontanka, Moika, and Neva Rivers and the Swan Canal.
1776 - 1786 - Fence designed by Yury Felten added at the Neva end of the garden.
1777 - Garden almost completely destroyed by flooding, but swiftly restored.
1826 - Carlo Rossi builds Coffee House.
1827 - Ludwig Charlemagne builds Tea House.
1855 - Statue of Krylov unveiled.
Open: Summer: Daily, 10 am to 9 pm. Winter: Daily, except Tuesday, 10 am to 7:30 pm.
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