Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Viking Homelands: St Petersburg Peterhof II (9/5/2018)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 (continued)
We proceeded from the Peterhof Grand Palace out to the Lower Park or Gardens. Peter the Great traveled throughout Western Europe and was greatly impressed by the palaces and gardens he visited. He envisioned a grander ensemble for himself. The Summer Palace (1710-1714) was the first palace he built in St Petersburg, located in the Summer Garden on the island surrounded by canals. The land did not lend itself to grand fountains with high-spraying jets.
Peter the Great found property on the shore of the Gulf of Finland that had a natural bluff on which he planned to build his Grand Palace. Water to power the fountains was carried through pipes from a spring 12 miles away, and kept in reservoirs in the Upper Garden on top of the bluff. Gravity and the Bernoulli principle, not pumps or mechanics, are used to power the numerous fountains in the Lower Garden.
View from the Grand Palace down the Sea Channel
that empties into the Gulf of Finland
The Grand Cascade on the left and Samson Fountain to the right (KSS)
Our guide, Yuri, timed it so that we were able to be the first to stand at the rail around the Samson Fountain at the base of the Grand Cascade. After a bit of a wait, the fountains were turned on at 11:00 along with music especially composed for this daily summer event.
Samson Fountain with a copy of Samson Rending
Open the Jaws of the Lion (1735, by Carlo
Rastrelli) representing Peter the Great defeating
Sweden, whose coat of arms includes a lion (KSS)
The Grand Cascade (1715-1724, by Johann Braunstein, Jean-Baptiste Le Blond, Niccolo Michetti,
and Mikhail Zemtsov) has 225 sculptures including 37 gilded human figures
We explored the eastern side of the Lower Garden, which is more or less symmetrical with the western side.
Bowl Fountain (1721-1722, by Niccolo Michetti) with
the Imperial Chapel (1747-1751, by Francesco Rastrelli)
Danaid Fountain, a copy (1854) of a statue
by Christian Daniel Rauch; there is a Nymph
Fountain on the western side
The story of Danaid is that she represents the fifty daughters of the Egyptian prince Danaus, who were condemned to eternally fill water into a bottomless well for killing their husbands.
Subject of the Flight of the Bumblebee interlude
(1899-1900, by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov) (KSS)
Adam Fountain (1721-1722, by Giovanni Bonazza);
there is an Eve Fountain on the western side
Peter the Great liked to have fun with his guests, and had
several trick fountains installed such as this Bench Fountain
(1723, by Niccolo Michetti)
The trick fountains are not always spouting water, but are triggered somehow by people walking by. There are two Bench Fountains in the gardens of the pleasure pavilion, Monplaisir (1723, by Peter the Great himself), along with several other fountains, all by Niccolo Michetti.
Bacchus on a Bell Fountain
with a fluted column base
Apollino Bell Fountain with an acanthus leaf base,
in front of Monplaisir Pavilion
Psyche Bell Fountain with an acanthus leaf base
Faun with Kid (goat) Bell Fountain
with a fluted column base
In the center is the Sheaf Fountain, which supposedly
resembles a sheaf of grain shedding its seeds
Gulf of Finland side of Montplaisir
View across to St Petersburg, ha!
Sun Fountain (1721-1724, by Niccolo Michetti), where the central
column turns to give everyone a view of the "sun"
Statue (1884, by Mark Antokolsky)
of Peter the Great (KSS)
Instead of throwing coins in the fountains, one
should try throwing them into the boots of Peter the Great
Oak Tree (and Tulips) Fountain (1735, by Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli)
The Oak Tree Fountain is also a trick fountain, because
you cannot walk past without suddenly getting wet (KSS)
Umbrella Fountain (1796, by Franz Brouer),
used to be a trick fountain, but the hidden switch no longer works
Sorry, one must beware of pickpockets! (KSS)
Roman Fountain (1800, by Franz Brouer), supposedly
resembles the fountain in St Peter's Square at the Vatican
Fir Trees Fountain (1784, by Johann Wilhelm Reiser and Fiodor Strelnikov)
Dragon or Chessboard Hill Cascade (1722-1739,
by Niccolo Michetti, Johann Braunstein, Mikhail Zemtsov,
and Timofey Usov, among others) (KSS)
Triton Fountain (1726, by Timofey Usov) in front of the
Orangerie (1722-1725, by Johann Braunstein and Mikhail Zemtsov)
Triton Fountain with A Triton Tearing Apart the Jaws
of a Sea-Monster (by Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli) (KSS)
Now we see the Grand Cascade and Samson Fountain in operation, with the
Voronikhin Colonnades (1800-1803, by Andrey Nikoforovich Voronikhin)
Posing with a costumed couple (KSS)
Whale Fountain (1800, by Fiodor Strelnikov);
the wooden whale is long gone but the name remains
despite the four gilded dolphins
Coat of Arms Pavilion (1745-1755, by
Francesco Rastrelli) topped by the double-headed eagle,
which actually has three heads so that from any direction
you can see (one or) two heads
The "double-headed" eagle
This pavilion was our landmark to meet to go to the motor coaches after the tour. However, most of us stayed with the guide.
The front gates to Peterhof
Spruce and white (or silver) birch forest
Russian EZPass lane
We were a bit worried that we may not have enough time between shore excursions to have lunch and go through passport control two more times. But we had more than adequate time, because passport control was much faster today.
Next: St Petersburg Tour I.

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