If you were to make only one off-wall excursion during your stay in St. Petersburg, it would have to be this one. The Peterhof complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (along with the entire historic centre of St. Petersburg and its annexed ensembles of Tsarkoye Selo, Pavlovsk, Lomonosov and Gatchina) and is a visit not to be missed under any circumstances. Stretching along the Gulf of Finland, this city of palaces, fountains and terraced parks, which was called Peterhof until 1944, has often been compared to Versailles. It is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Founded in 1774 by Peter the Great, the New Peterhof, with its beautiful fountain and statue gardens and its pavilions - Marly, Hermitage and Monplaisir - had to reflect the power of the Russian Empire with dignity. To the south-west of the Grand Palais, enlarged by Elizabeth Petrovna, a palace of classical style was added by Catherine II, who also created the English landscape park surrounding it. Further parks and a few pavilions were added to the complex under Nicholas I. To the east of Petrodvorets, the small palace in Alexandra Park was used in the second half of the 19th century for the Imperial family's stays. However, in the summer, concerts were held in the Grands Appartements, which were then open to the public. The palaces and parks of this complex take on their full splendour in summer, when the fountains are turned on, brightening and refreshing the atmosphere.

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