Day 10: Peterhof
Peterhof faces the Gulf of Finland about 18 miles southwest of St. Petersburg. Peter the Great began constructing a small wooden palace in 1710. The palace as we see it today was laid out and built in accordance with Peter’s own design. He hired a series of European and Russian architects, landscape architects, and hydraulic engineers to carry out the work. The Grand Palace and park were finally opened in 1723 as a symbol of Russian national wealth and power and of the country’s entrance into modern Europe. Unfortunately, the Grand Palace was heavily damaged during the 900-day Nazi siege in WWII. The interior seen today is a restoration done very carefully for historical accuracy, largely funded by the German government. The grounds feature the Grand Cascade with its gilded statuary and elaborate gravity-operated fountains extending from the front of the Grand Palace to the Gulf of Finland.