What is Peterhof apart from the famous Upper Garden, the Lower Park with its fountains and the Grand Peterhof Palace? It is gothic castles and cottages, as well as temples built in this style. It is Alexandria Park, which has a lot of amazing buildings and pretty bridges and paths.
Created at the beginning of the 18th century, Peterhof was a place for rest and horseback riding of the family of the Russian Imperial House. In 1825, Emperor Alexander I presented this site to his brother, Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich, who, when he became Emperor Nicholas I, built his private residence here – Her Imperial Majesty’s Own Dacha Alexandria. Almost all the buildings of the Park are made in neo-Gothic style, because the wife of the Emperor, Alexandra Feodorovna, born Princess Frederica Louise Charlotte Wilhelmina of Prussia, liked it most of all.
Another place of interest is the famous Peterhof railway station, which was built by Nicholas Benois on the model of the Italian Gothic Cathedral in Orvieto in 1854-1857. Its central part is covered with metal trusses, and the facade is decorated with a four-tier tower. On the sides of the tower there are arches with a Gothic colonnade that served for the passage of trains. The scale and grace of the building is so impressive and so strongly convey the spirit, color and taste of the epoch that feature films are constantly being shot there. In June 1857, pilot trains from St. Petersburg arrived at the station, so it became one of the first railway facilities in Russia.
Peterhof has a lot of beautiful old buildings, located away from popular routes. Tourists rarely come there, which is not surprising: several hours are needed to get around all these attractions on foot. There is a way out, however: you can take a cozy stagecoach and go on a leisurely journey across a small picturesque town, which grew out of the summer Imperial residence.
A stagecoach ride is also a great way to give rest to feet tired after walking in the Lower Park of Peterhof and the Grand Peterhof Palace.
Below we offer two different routes. In order to book a ride on one of them or ask clarifying questions, please, contact us by email email@example.com. Specify the possible date of your visit and the number of people. The stagecoach (in the cover photo to this article) can accommodate 14 guests. In addition, you can book a guided tour in English for 3500 roubles per hour. The driver or the guide will contact you to discuss all the details, including the best place to meet the crew and start the trip.
1. The Small Route
There is an ancient castle near the famous Peterhof Park – the former Imperial stables, sometimes called Gothic, where 328 royal horses used to live long ago, there is a riding hall, reminiscent of a Gothic temple, as well as buildings for staff. Today the stables occupy a whole block. The romantic building is decorated with nine graceful towers, sculptural images of horse and lion heads and emblems of Peterhof.
Nearby there are the gems of Peterhof architecture, among which stands out the Hall for Ladies-in-Waiting, also built by Nicholas Benois. There were the summer apartments of the ladies-in-waiting of the Empress.
The Gothic houses – the former summer cottages of the courtiers – are also of great interest.
The stagecoach doesn’t ride into the Alexandria park, but it is possible to see several amazing buildings:
— Gothic Chapel, aka Orthodox church in the name of St Alexander Nevsky;
— the Palace Telegraph Station;
— the New Farm.
Created in the neo-Gothic style, St. Alexander Nevsky Church is called «Gothic Chapel». Built under the supervision of Nicholas I, it was a home church for the four generations of the Russian emperors.
The building of the Palace Telegraph Station was built in 1857-1858 by a famous architect Andrey Stakenshneider. The station was a part of the Kronstadt electromagnetic telegraph line, created during the reign of Emperor Alexander II. The telegraph station was originally intended not only for the needs of the imperial court, but also for public use, this is why the building had two entrances, and that for urban residents was separated by a special fence.
the New Farm
The New Farm was not only a farmstead with a cowshed, a pigsty and other similar buildings, but also a place where court farmers tested new developments in the field of agriculture. During the Soviet Union era, the New Farm was the place for all sorts of institutions, now it is a children’s educational center.
On the way back you will see the Colonel Strukov’s classicism-inspired mansion and an important element of the Peterhof fountains water supply system – the Red Pond. This is an artificial pond, created in the time of Empress Anna Ioannovna (reigned in 1730-1740). Water from it is supplied to the fountains of the Eastern part of the Lower Park. In the old days, pleasure carriages were allowed to drive along the alleys near the pond. At your request, you can visit a magical corner of Peterhof – a small glade, which is home for three cats. If you ruffle their fur, it is believed that your wish will come true.
Moving along Likhardovskaya street, named after Sergey Likhardov, one of Peterhof town governors, you’ll see the building of present-day district administration and a beautiful flower garden – the Garden of the 300th Anniversary of Peterhof.
We will also drive through the Kolonistky Park, stop at the Olga’s Pond, look at the Cathedral of Peter and Paul, the House of the historian of Peterhof Alexander Geyrot, and the railway station.
We can make stops at:
— the Peterhof railway station;
— Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral;
— the Imperial stables.
2. The Big Route
The Big Route partially includes the Small one. You’ll see awesome Imperial stables, built during the reign of Nicholas I, as well as parks created for his family’s rest – Alexandria (with its Farm, the Palace Telegraph Station, and the Gothic Chapel) and the Kolonistsky Park.
From the stagecoach you can admire the general panorama of Alexandria Park (the stagecoach does not enter the Park), enjoy the facades of the Imperial stables and visit the Kolonistky Park.
Alexandria Park and Imperial stables were built in the spirit of the neo-Gothic style, fashionable in Russia in the 2nd quarter of the 19th century. A passionate admirer of horses and horse riding, Nicholas I considered to build a Grand stable complex, reminiscent of an English castle.
The compositional center of the Kolonistky Park is a vast Olga’s pond, named in honor of the Emperor’s daughter. There are two artificial islands in the pond. Designed by the court architect Andrey Stakenshneider, pavilions were built on them: the Tsarina’s pavilion “in Pompeian spirit” for Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and the Olga’s pavilion as a gift to her daughter for the wedding. The latter was built in the style of country villas on the Sicily island. Court and family events and performances were held in the Kolonistsky Park, and honored guests were hosted in the pavilions.
the Olga’s Pond and the Tsarina’s pavilion
The stagecoach will ride across the alley along the shore of the pond, so you’ll see the pavilions on the islands, the Renaissance-inspired mansion, Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Peterhof. The mansion belonged to the first historian of Peterhof Alexander Geyrot. Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral was built by architect Nikolai Sultanov in Russian style. It was consecrated in 1905 in the presence of Emperor Nicholas II.
Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Peterhof
A part of the route will pass through the alley along the Samson water conduit; there is also Vasily Truveller’s house with a tower, built in the neo-Gothic style.
On the way back you’ll see the monument to Anton Rubinstein, pianist, musician, honorary resident of Peterhof, in whose honor the famous street in the center of St. Petersburg is named. Anton Rubinstein became also famous as a benefactor of the city, so the monument to him stands next to the gymnasium, which he helped to.
We can make stops at:
— the entrance to the Alexandria park;
— Peter and Paul Cathedral;
— the Imperial stables.
Prices For Stagecoach Riding In Peterhof:
The Small Route 30 minutes – 5 000 rubles;
The Big Route 60 minutes – 12 000 rubles.
Horseback Ride In The Lugovoy Park:
Route 60 minutes – 3 000 rubles.
The Lugovoy Park
A guided tour in English on all routes — 3500 rubles per hour.
To book a ride, please, send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
And read also our post how to get to Peterhof.