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Peterhof

The world-famous palace, fountain and park ensemble of Peterhof is an outstanding landmark of Russian artistic culture of the 18-19th centuries. Founded in the very beginning of the eighteenth century by Emperor Peter the Great not far from his new northern capital St Petersburg, Peterhof was intended to become the most splendid official royal summer residence. Credit for its creation should go to a great number of eminent architects, artists, and anonymous folk craftsmen. Its wonderful parks, 176 fountains of various forms and styles and four cascades, majestic palaces, numerous gilded statues of ancient gods and heroes, remarkable collections of sculpture, painting and works of the minor arts make Peterhof a veritable gem of art, often called "Capital of Fountains", unique in the world. After 1917 the Peterhof ensemble was taken into state custody and turned into architecture and art museum. Nowadays, due to the unforgettable beauty of its fountains, parks and palaces, Peterhof has become the most attractive for numerous Russian and foreign visitors suburban royal park and palace ensemble of the northern Russia's capital. To feel happy, to make their spirits high, people often come to Peterhof and enjoy its magic charms. Peterhof (in the second half of the 20th century known also as Petrodvorets - "Peter's Palace") is one of the most magnificent European palace-and-park complexes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and is situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, twenty-nine kilometres outside St Petersburg. Its beautiful gardens and parks, its splendid palaces and exquisite pavilions, and particularly its picturesque fountains and cascades, are justly famous the world over. To provide water for the fountains, a gravity-fed water system, twenty-two kilometres long, was designed by Vastly Tuvolkov, the first Russian hydraulic engineer. Skilfully exploiting the natural slope of the terrain from the springs of Ropsha towards the sea, he constructed a reliable hydrotechnical system here. The water-jets of the Great Cascade, and one of the fountains in the flower parterre of the Lower Gardens in front of the Great Palace, were turned on for the first time (to test the water pressure) in the summer of 1721. Extended and improved in the first half of the nineteenth century, this system still supplies enough water to the fountains and cascades of Peterhof to keep them working for up to ten hours a day.

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