Peter the Great's Summer Palace and Gardens
Across the river from the Peter and Paul fortress and the wooden Cabin of Peter the Great you can visit the historical Summer Garden. Behind the beautiful wrought iron fence there is an old park that has witnessed some of the most spectacular moments in St. Petersburg's early history.
Impressed by the royal parks that he had seen in Europe, Peter the Great was very keen to create something similar in his newly built "Venice of the North". In Peter's new park everything was created according to the latest fashions; the trees and bushes were trimmed in the most elaborate way and all the alleys were decorated with marble statues and fountains. Peter the Great used to organize regular receptions and balls in the gardens, his " assamblei ", which involved dancing and drinking and impressive firework displays.
Tsar Peter commissioned the city's first and foremost architect, the Italian Domenico Trezzini, to build a small palace in the park. The palace had no heating and was intended only for summer time use, hence its name "Summer Palace", as opposed to the "Winter Palace" that Peter had built just down the same embankment of the Neva. The Summer Palace, a small two-storey yellow building, was built between 1710 and 1714, with 7 rooms on each floor. After the Second World War the palace was carefully restored, the older interiors were recreated and a collection of early 18th century artifacts, many originally owned by Peter the Great, was put on display.
It is always a great pleasure to take a stroll down the alleys of the Summer Garden, passing by the palace, the marvelous marble statues and the pond. A pair of white swans returns every year to the Karpiev pond in the Summer Garden, even though the park is located in the middle of a bustling city...