One of the main distinguishing features of the Peterhof fountains is the original arrangement of a conduit. Unlike Versailles, this grandiose construction works without pumps and other water-pressure facilities. Water is supplied from numerous natural and artificial ponds, nourished by underground sources and springs.
The Grand cascade
At first, Peter I had planned the ponds of the Upper garden to be the water source for the Grand cascade and its fountains, but soon the tireless ruler, who personally investigated the area, found additional sources of water, which situated in the neighborhood of the future Peterhof Park. The nature of the terrain enabled the creation of a system of conduits, in which the water flowed by gravity from dozens of ponds, located above the Lower Park and the Upper garden.
Thus, all 4 cascades, and 191 Peterhof fountains (including the Grand cascade water cannons) are fed by ponds of Ropshinsky hills (which are located at a distance of 24 kilometres), as well as English, Meadow, Olgin and other ponds (18 ponds overall) and many streams and sources. All of these sources combine into a complex system of sluices and canals with total length of 40 kilometers. The most surprising fact is that the system of water pipelines constructed by the order of Peter I and with his personal participation operates to this day.
“The most notable of all the Peterhof fountains is spectacular and majestic Grand cascade”
The most notable of all the Peterhof fountains is spectacular and majestic Grand cascade. This gilded splendor includes 255 sculptures, bas reliefs and other architectural structures, as well as 64 fountains with 138 water jets soaring skyward. The focus of the entire composition is the famous gilded “Samson tearing the lion’s mouth”, and in the center of the cascade there is a Lower grotto with a viewing point decorated with golden sculptures and marble bas-reliefs.
Another cascade fountain, named Checkerboard hill, looks like a bright spot on green background. 20-meter speed checker board with two mysterious caves that are guarded by three dragons is sometimes also called the Cascade of dragons. On both sides of the construction there are staircases, decorated with sculptures of white marble. At the beginning of the World War II, the sculptures had been removed and hidden, while the cascade itself was completely destroyed by the Nazis.
The “Favorite” fountain
Like many years ago, the moving fountains are extremely popular among the visitors of Peterhof Park. These include the “Favorite” fountain, created in 1725. It depicts quacking ducks floating in a circle, and a little dog that unsuccessfully tries to catch them. It is a good sign if you lucky enough to throw your coin right at the duck’s back and if the coin remains there. So despite its modest size, park staff daily extracts a lot more coins from the “Favoirte” than from any other Peterhof fountain.
Today Peterhof is the most popular of all the Petersburg suburbs. Its palaces and fountains impress the most sophisticated travelers. Each of Peterhof fountains is a jewel in its unique and luxurious collection. If you want to find yourself in a dreamland, come to Peterhof and take a walk in its enchanting parks among fabulous fountains.