2012 Peterhof

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The Tsars lived in sumptuous luxury for a few hundred years before the 1917 Revolution.
St Petersburg was the capital of Russia much of this period, so the Tsars built a magnificent "Summer Palace". Peterhof (or Petergof),  about 30 km East of the city, and a Winter Palace in the city, integrated with the Hermitage museum. 
Various members of the royal family built their own palaces.  While none approached the grandeur of the Summer and Winter Palaces, they would have been outstanding is almost any other part of the world.

There are many excellent pictures of Peterhof on the web and in books.  The few here mostly show our party when we visited for a day.

(Double click any picture to see full size, then use the back button on your browser to return here)
The main palace building sits on an escarpment, overlooking the gardens with the  upper end of the Gulf of Finland in the background  The panorama above and the photo of Helen beside the vase were take from the palace forecourt.

On the left Helen and Vladimir are standing on a bridge over the ornamental canal that runs to the sea from just below the forecourt.
The main palace building is about 300 metres long with the Tsar's private chapel on the East end (to the left) and the west wing at the other end.
There are numerous other buildings, some of which would qualify as royal palaces anywhere else in the world.
The main staircase in the palace is spectacular.

The "outbuilding" on the right is now used as a restaurant for the many tourists.
Peterhof has over 100 fountains, all fed by gravity. 

This set of fountains is on the staircase from the palace forecourt down to the main canal.

There is a massive collection of pictures available by googling "Peterhof, St.Petersburg" and clicking on the link to images.

Peterhof was overrun by the German army during the siege of Leningrad, and seriously damaged.  The extensive restoration seen here is a tribute to Russians determination to preserve their heritage, and to the skill of the rennovators.
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