The Summer Palace of Peter the First is one of the most romantic and evocative places in Saint Petersburg.
Built between 1710-1714, The Summer Palace of Peter the First was the first palace built in St. Petersburg, the first to be constructed of stone, the first building to have piped water and the first to have a water-centric sewage system. It was also the first residence of Peter the Great before the days of the grand and lavish Imperial palaces that were soon to follow.
Designed by Italian architect Domenico Trezzini, this modest palace can be more appropriately described as an intimate home where Peter and his second wife Catherine 1, resided with their 12 children.
Surrounded by the scenic waterways of the Neva River, Fontanka River, Moika River and the Swan Canal, Peter's island Summer Palace, with it's sweeping natural woodlands and Summer Garden has remained unchanged for 300 years.
Here, visitors get an intriguing peek into the Tsar's private life with his family by visiting the palace, which is a small square building of about seven rooms on two floors; and the beautiful and well known Summer Gardens, a popular spot among locals for chilling out.
The Summer Garden has features personally designed by Peter in 1704, with the help of his Dutch gardener. The beautiful promenades, fountains, trails, sculptures, marble statues and paths along the river are not only admired for being historic, but favored for being peaceful, as visitors enjoy being able to purchase fresh fruit and ice cream while taking a romantic stroll in the serenity of the Tsar's gardens.☺
Interested to visit the Summer Palace or take a stroll in the Gardens? If so, click on the links below or scroll down the page to learn more.
The Summer Palace of Peter the First is not really a palace but simply a moderate charming two-story home built in Petrine-baroque Russian architecture. The interior's carved oak panels, pictorial tiled walls and unique Dutch-tiled stoves for heating were designed by German architect and sculpture Andreas Schluter.
The oak staircase remains original and each level has its own kitchen.
Peter's quarters on the first floor include his Study, which has his anemometer indicating wind speed and direction still facing out over the Neva River. Catherine's quarters, her Green Drawing Room and rooms for the children are all on the second floor.
The Summer Palace located in one of the corners of the Summer Garden is not free to enter, while the gardens are free to enter, and on a sunny day, it can be the perfect spot in which to spend half an hour just admiring the avenues, ponds, and fountains.
After Peter's death in 1725, the Imperial family continued living in The Summer Palace with their courtiers and during Catherine the Great's reign from 1762-1796, it was used by court officials. In 1826, it was transformed into the Coffee House by Italian architect Carlo Rossi, but by the end of the 19th century, it was left vacant.
Although the palace and gardens were badly damaged in a World War II bombing raid by Nazi Germany, Peter's Summer Palace still stood in remembrance of his life and remains a tribute to this day.
Today the palace has become a branch of the Russian Museum. It showcases the original interiors, many personal belongings of Peter I and Catherine, original items of the 18th- century, unique paintings, and other interesting artifacts.
You can purchase a ticket to the palace at the ticket offices on the spot before 4.30 pm. Instead the entrance to the gardens is free of charge.
Starting point: Corner of Nevsky Prospekt and Sadovaya Ulitsa across the street from Gostiny Dvor Metro Station.
Optional starting point: The Mikhailovskaya Ulitsa exit of the Nevsky Propeckt Metro Station. For both starting points, walk northbound on Sadovaya Ulitsa on the right hand side of the road. Walk past the Mikhailovsky Palace (The Engineer's Castle) and cross over the Moika River. Turn right on the Moika Embankment and look for the main entrance to The Summer Garden. Enter and walk northbound through the garden to reach the Summer Palace.
Address: 3, Letny Sad
Metro: Nevsky Prospekt, Gostiny Dvor
Opening hours: From June to October, daily from 10am to 6pm
Entrance fee to the Summer Palace: 300 Rubles
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