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Summer Palace of Peter the Great

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The palace as seen from across the Fontanka River in August 2007.
The palace as seen from across the Fontanka River in August 2007.

The Summer Palace of Peter the Great was built between 1710–1714 in the northeast corner of the Summer Garden, located on an island formed by the Fontanka river, Moyka river, and the Swan Canal.[1] Its northern perimeter runs along the left bank of the Neva river across from the Cabin of Peter the Great and Peter and Paul Fortress and was the first palace built in Saint Petersburg, the second largest city in Russia. It was the first palace built in Saint Petersburg and the city's first building which had piped water.

The building is currently a museum.[2]


The Summer Palace was planned in 1710 by Peter the Great and built by the Swiss Italian architect Domenico Trezzini, who elaborated on the Petrine Baroque style of Russian architecture with a two-story stone building with four-sloped roofing.

Compared with other European palaces of the time the Summer Palace was a very modest building, reminiscent of the style of houses for Dutch Burghers from the same period. During its construction, the Summer Palace was decorated with a frieze of 29 bas-reliefs by the German baroque sculptor and architect Andreas Schlüter depicting scenes from ancient myths and victorious Russian battles in the Great Northern War.

The Summer Palace’s two floors had similar floor plans, with seven rooms on each. They were decorated by Russian architect Mikhail Zemtsov, German baroque sculptor and architect Andreas Schlüter and Italian architect Nicola Michetti. Most of the rooms had walls of red and green and oak panels, and an innovative central heating system that featured solid fuel burning boilers with elaborate blue and white porcelain ductwork.

Of the rooms to be noted are: the reception room; the assembly room (grand hall); the jail where Peter personally prosecuted, imprisoned, and released prisoners; and Peter’s favorite room, his workshop.

The construction of the Summer Palace was completed in 1714.[3][4][5]

Residence and other uses

When the Summer Palace was completed in 1714, it became the residence of Peter the Great and his second wife Catherine I of Russia and many of their 12 children—with Peter occupying the first floor and Catherine, along with the children, occupying the second one, until Peter’s death in 1725.[3][4][5]

Residence for Russian imperial family

After Peter the Great’s death, the Summer Palace was occupied for several years by members of the Imperial family and their courtiers.[5]

19th-century use

During part of the 1762–1796 reign of Catherine the Great, the interior of the Summer Palace was altered for its use by court officials during the summer months. In 1826, the Italian architect Carlo Rossi turned it into the Coffee House, but by the end of the 19th century it had become vacant.[3][5]


Being used only for a small number of exhibitions during the early 20th century, in 1934 the Summer Palace was turned into a museum featuring the daily life of Peter the Great with the original oak staircase surviving as well as the upper and lower kitchens, along with Catherine's apartments on the upper floor that include the Green Drawing Room.[3][5] The Summer Palace Museum has been a part of the State Russian Museum since 2004.[6]

During World War II, both the Summer Palace and Summer Gardens were badly damaged by a German bombing raid.[3] The building was repaired, however, and the layout remains unchanged from the original.[7]

In the early 1960s, the Summer Palace was fully restored, including its interiors, the carved oak panels in the lower lobby with images of Minerva, the unique Dutch tiles for its heating system and the fireplaces with stucco decorations.[5] Reconstruction was supervised by architect A. E. Gessen.[7]

The current Summer Palace of Peter the Great Museum gives visitors an opportunity to see Russian imperial court life from 300 years ago. Exhibit include paintings, prints, and the clothes and furniture of Peter the Great.[7] Opening hours from June to October daily starting at 10:00 (10 a.m.) and lasting to 18:00 (6 p.m.).[4]

See also

The river frontage The palace in 1809 Seen from behind the railing of the Summer Garden


  1. ^ "Swan Canal in St. Petersburg". Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Summer Palace of Peter the Great",, Accessed July 5, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e "The Summer Garden & Palace of Peter I Nevsky Prospekt". Nevsky Prospekt. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Summer Palace of Peter the Great". Saint-Petersburg. 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Summer Palace of Peter the Great". Saint-Petersburg Encyclopedia. 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  6. ^ "The State Russian Museum". The State Russian Museum.
  7. ^ a b c "Peter I Summer Palace", The State Russian Museum, Accessed July 5, 2019.
This page was last edited on 9 June 2020, at 06:45
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