Sunday, June 24, 2012

Saint Petersburg. Peter and Paul Fortress.

Peter and Paul Fortress - citadel of Saint Petersburg founded by Peter the Great and designed by Domeniko Trezzini at the beginning of XVIII century. The day was sunny, windy and actually very cold with short rains sometimes. We had a short excursion with a guide around the main sights of the fortress. We didn't see others because we were absolutely cold by that time.
Walking across the Ioann's Bridge
we entered the fortress through the Ioann's Gate
Then passed through Peter's Gate with a big two headed eagle on it.
Walked along the stone alleys between straight rows of old buildings heading to the Peter and Paul Cathedral - the highest building in Saint Petersburg. It's height is 122.5 meters.
Peter and Paul Cathedral from the inside.
Almost all Russian emperors are buried in Peter and Paul Cathedral.
In separate room remains of the Nicholas II and his family are buried.
This is the Ployed House, where Peter the Great was working on his boats.
The courtyard of the fortress - central square.
After that we headed to the Trubetskoy Bastion Prison, where a lot of Decembrists and other political prisoners were imprisoned. One of the single prison wards is on the picture below. Actually it is quite wide. I think nowadays single prison wards are much smaller. Anyway, we can only imagine how hard it was for prisoners to be here.
It was a high security prison, one of the best prisons in that time, that actually means that it it was the worst for the prisoners.
One of the Bastions.
Passing the Nevskiye Gate we appear on the embankment of the river Neva.
Sunny day and beautiful river views.
We liked Peter and Paul fortress. It's quite big and there are a lot of sights. For example, we also visited the Museum of Saint Petersburg History - a great museum with a lot of interesting items, that tell the history of this beautiful city.
Well, here ends our little Saint Petersburg journey. We still haven't seen a lot of it's sights. The places that I've told you about are make only a small percent of St Petersburg places of interest. It is a really wonderful city and I hope I'll come back here once.
See previous post about our St Petersburg vacation here: Moscow part, the city of Saint Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum, Petergof, Tsarskoye Selo.

Saint Petersburg vacation. Tsarskoye Selo.

Tsarskoye Selo (Tsar's Village) is located in a small town Pushkin near Saint Petersburg. It is famous of the Catherine's Palace and a huge park with ponds, bridges and other buildings. Catherine's Palace is the center of ensemble - a beautiful representation of Russian baroque. It was designed and built by genius architect of the XVIII century Rastrelli and is one of his best creations. Unfortunately, during the World War II a big part of the palace was destroyed and now is reconstructed due to original layouts.
Pushkin town is named after the great Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin, who spent his youth and actually started writing poems here.
The Palace itself looks beautiful, painted in soft blue and white colors, richly decorated with gold, columns and statues.
Inside the Palace we appeared in the atmosphere of XVIII century. The Big Hall is on the picture below. This is the main hall of the palace with area of 860 square meters. A lot of mirrors and windows, gold and glass - makes the hall visually larger. The painting on the ceiling is huge and cover it all - I even can't imagine how much work and efforts was needed to create such decoration. It is amazing and worthy of respect.
All other rooms are decorated with the same richness and elegance. On the picture below is one of the dinning rooms with an example of table decoration.
Ceiling in each room are separate masterpieces. Looks gorgeous.
Another smaller dinning rooms where Russian emperors had dinners with nobility.
Antique tableware, wonderful fruits and flowers decoration.
Reproduction of Catherine's favorite dress made of (!)paper.
Richly decorated interiors.
Dinning room in ancient greek style in light green color.
Catherine's bedroom.
A snapshot from the famous and mysterious Amber Room, which was considered an Eighth wonder of the world. In 2003 it was finally reconstructed from the drawings and schemes. Unfortunately, initial Amber Room was lost at the beginning of the World War II after it was stolen by German forces during palace occupation. There are a lot of different versions of where might it be now, but the most realistic are that it is neither destroyed already or stores in private collections wherever in the world. Eight tonnes of amber were used for the new Amber Room. It is a beautiful masterpiece, carefully recreated by modern artists.
Out of the palace we got into a beautiful big park with a lot of nice alleys.
The Grot.
The Hermitage.
The Dutch Admiralty.
Monument representing Peter Bruegel's painting "The Blind Leading the Blind".
The Turkish bath and the Marble Bridge on the back.
Another view of the Turkish bath with 25 meters high Chesme Column on the background.
The park includes numerous ponds. The water in them is so calm and smooth, that everything is reflected in them creating a beautiful landscapes and views.
The Siberian Marble Bridge and it's reflection - a pleasure for eyes.
There are a lot of other buildings of different purpose on the territory of the park. Concert hall on the picture below.
Creaky arbor in Chinese style.
Cameron Gallery from the back.
Hermitage kitchen.
Those were the most interesting and good looking photos from our visit to Tsarskoye Selo. This place is very peaceful, quiet and relaxing, far from busy crowded city. It might have been a real resort for Russian emperors - beautiful nature and architecture makes Tsarskoye Selo a perfect place to rest, take a break from busy life and soak good mood and energy from nature.
We enjoyed our visit very much. Hope you enjoyed it as well.
Previous post about our Saint Petersburg vacation can be found here: Moscow part, the city of Saint Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum, Petergof.
Will be back soon with the final part of Saint Petersburg beauties.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Saint Petersburg vacation. Petergof.

Welcome to another historical place of Saint Petersburg - Petergof (actually means Peter's city). The palace ensemble along with the city center is recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace ensemble included the palace itself, few churches and a huge park with a big number of beautiful fountains and buildings. Petergof is sometimes referred as "Russian Versailles". We didn't get inside the palace, because at that day it was closed, but we had enough time to enjoy the beauty of the park, gardens and fountains. On the photo below you can see the main fountain ensemble Grand Cascade from the top. This is one of the biggest fountain cascades in the world. It includes more then 60 fountains, 250 statues and reliefs. Construction began in 1715 after Peter's order. The water from the fountains fall into a pool that is connected with the Sea Channel, that ends up in the Gulf of Finland. The fountain in the center of the pool is the main fountain of the Cascade - famous Samson Fountain. Cascade looks absolutely beautiful.
Few photos from the Upper Gardens
Neptune Fountain
View on the Palace from the Upper Gardens
Nice alleys. They must look gorgeous when plants that cover them become green. Unfortunately the beginning of May is still too early for these northern places.
And Lower Gardens again. View from the alley near the palace.
The Samson Fountain. It was placed in the middle of the Grand Cascade in 1735 and it's water jet (21 meter) is the highest among all Petrgof's fountains. Separate conduit was made to provide such effect. The initial statue of Samson was made by Rastrelli, then it was remade by another artist during Cascade reconstruction. During the Second World War the statue of Samson was taken to Germany and it was lost after that. So after the war Samson was remade once again according to the drawings and layouts.
Front view of the Grand Cascade.
The Gulf of Finland

One more view of the Gulf of Finland.
Marly's Palace.
Marly's Fountain ensemble or Golden Mountain
Sculptures of ancient gods on the top of Golden Mountain Fountain.
Lion's Cascade
Monplezir Garden near Monplezir Palace and Catherine's Building.
The Sun Fountain
Small Rose fountains and the Oak Fountain.
Triton Fountain
It is located near Greenhouse Building in beautiful romantic style.
Well, I can say, that Petergof is a great place to visit, a lot of fabulous things to see. It was a good sunny day and walking along nice alleys from fountain to fountain and from garden to garden was a pleasant thing to do. The only inconvenience was a bit cold weather and wind from the Gulf of Finland, so keep this in mind while travelling to Saint Petersburg and take some warm clothes with you, unlike we did.
Hope you enjoyed my Petergof story. Will be back soon with the next portion of Saint Petersburg beauties. Yes, I'm not finished yet :)
You can find my previous posts about our Saint Petersburg vacation here: Moscow part, Saint Petersburg - the City, The Hermitage Museum.