10 Places To See In The Suburbs Of Saint Petersburg

10 places to see in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg: Gatchina

If you are the one of those lucky travelers who happen to be in Saint Petersburg in summer you definitely should visit the suburbs. As any capital of huge and magnificent empire Saint Petersburg is captured in the ring of fabulous palaces and former imperial residents. Those caramel names of Peterhof, Pushkin, Gatchina and other place should definitely come into your list of places to go. Get prepared to spend a day exploring any of the suburban palaces. Any place you pick to go will meet you with the variety of legends, myths, and even anecdotes sometimes. To help you plan your trip before landing we worked out a list of things you cannot miss if you are in Saint Petersburg suburbs.

10 places to see in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg, Russia : Peterhof Petergof 1. Peterhof. The Gorgeous And The Simple.
You will not miss the fountains of Peterhof. In summer days you can reach this open air museum either by car or by water. Take a fast boat from Dvortsovaya (Palace) embankment and don’t miss the moment when you approaching to the sunlit palace pier with fabulous perspective of the fountains. Grasp your breathing, and enjoy the views of shining golden statues and water springs. The coastline where Peterhof is located offers you amazing views of the Finnish Gulf spiced with lovely breeze. Peterhof is famous with fountains built without any machine but sourced only from the natural ponds with pipes of different size and put on different height to compress and spring water. You never believe it when you see these aquatic masterpieces never repeating one another, and the next one is always more beautiful than the previous one. Even when you think you are amazed enough the Big Cascade with the Samson Tearing the Lion’s Throat will lift your amazement degrees higher. Take your time to enjoy it and explore the grotto behind it to see the pipes and the fountain water supply system. To take a break from glittering gold go to the right from the Big Cascade right behind the western colonnade where smallest fountain in the park is hiding – ‘the Fountain of the Favorite”: a small dog , the Favorite, is chasing the ducks. If you throw a coin and it lands on one of the ducks you’ll gain some more luck into you life. The fountain was build for Catherine I and her guests pleasure, and it still brings a lot of simple joy.

10 places to see in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg: Peterhof Petergof 2. Peterhof. Tsar’s Attractions.
Before the main palace was constructed by the talented Italian architect, who was incarnating the idea of Peter the Great about building Russian Versailles, the miniature house of Mon Plaisir was constructed for Tsars pleasure literary named Mon Plaisir.. Remembering that Peter I was very extraordinary personality and enjoyed leg-pulling jokes, he decided to add some more fun into the life of the visitors of the house of Mon Plaisir. He asked the fountain master team to build the tricky fountains and camouflage them with the park facilities familiar to any eye: small pavilions, sculpture groups and other decorative elements. And when someone enters pavilion or sits down on the bench water springs start splashing all around so you cannot leave your trap without getting soaked. This is very popular amusement in hot summer days both for kids and adults jumping and screaming all around on the way to Mon Plaisir. You should definitely join and give a chance to Peter the Great crack his watery joke on you!

10 places to see in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg: Sergievka 3. Sergievka. Mystic Boulder.
Not far from Peterhof towards Oranienbaum (Lomonosov) you get into Sergievka – this is beautiful park and palace ensemble created for Maria the beloved daughter of Nikolay I. There are beautiful ponds, creeks, palaces and a church where Maria secretly married prince Stroganof after she got widowed of her first husband. But by far the most popular landmark of Sergievka is the huge stone boulder called ‘the Head’ and the head it is! There are a lot of legends on how this crafted stone appeared. Someone said this is the head of Peter the Great carved in stone by some unnamed but grateful worker whose daughter was a godchild of the emperor. There is more romantic story about Alexander Pushkin who was once so much impressed by this massive stone head in the childhood so when he grew up he’d begun his poetic experience firstly because of the image of this head which was pursuing him until he described it in his famous poem ‘Ruslan and Ludmila’

10 places to see in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg: Sestroretsk 4. Sestroretsk. Lenin’s Inspiration.
At opposite coast of the Finnish Gulf there is beautiful resort region in Saint Petersburg surroundings. Picturesque lakes, forests and shore line very well ventilated with the winds from the Gulf make the atmosphere in the resort area very comfortable to relax and just observe nature beauty. Once this charms were the scenery for the political show of one famous political actor – Vladimir Lenin who was hiding from his persecutors in the hovel at the shore of the lake Razliv in Sestroretsk during the summer months. And this is where he worked and finalized the ideas of the revolution which happened in the autumn. You can walk the paths Lenin walked and enjoy the asceticism of the hovel which is preserved for visitors.

10 places to see in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg: Repino 5. Repino. The Residence Of Art.
If Lenin is not the hero of your life, you can drive forward along the gulf coast up to Repino village and find the house of famous Russian artist Ilya Repin. ‘Penaty’ the name of the residence is a small cottage hidden in the wood was a heart of artistic life of Russia in the end of XIX century. Gorkiy, Mayakovskiy, Shalayapin were random guests of the artists. First verses of Esenin were read in the hall of that house by the famous round table on Wednesday, one of famous Penaty Wednesdays. An artist last will was to stay in these gardens forever, and he was buried under the tree not far from the garden. Walking around you will fill your blood with artistic oxygen form the Homer square of from the small stage pavilion. Don’t get surprised of on the way back some impulse will push you to sing a song or rhyme a poem.

10 places to see in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg: Kronstadt 6. Kronstadt. Officers, Oysters, and Orthodox.
Right between two coasts of the Finnish Gulf there’s Kotlin island with Kronstadt town on it. Beautiful windy island with formidable military sea port and the town you can walk around within couple of hours. In Soviet times Kornstads was nicknamed as ‘the Cradle of Marine Revolution’. Long before the revolution Kronstadt was frontier port and oyster farm, supplying the royal court with brave marine officers for balls and oysters for dinner. And when you see all the leftovers of ports, and docks and still busy piers you clearly understand why revolution was conceived here.Don’t miss the magnificent Marine Dome at the Anchor (Yakornaya) Square. It is such massively impressive that you can see its head over the Finish Gulf from the shores of Vasilievskiy island in Saint Petersburg, for instance. The Dome was busted and turned into the cinema theatre while early days if the Union, and was returned to the church in the early 90s only. There is Admiral Makarov statue next to it, and people joke that two Marine Gods share one square. Kronstadt gave name to one of the Orthodox saints – Ioan of the Kronstadt, people believed he casted help to all seamen. You will love Kronstadt, and you should definitely ask the locals to show you the monument to the dead parachutist. If you have time left, don’t hesitate to go to the forts around the island. There you can touch the traces of the history. They were never reconstructed, and just keep the air of old times.

10 places to see in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg: Amber Room, Tsarskoe Selo 7. Pushkin. Tsarskoe Selo. Touch the Wonder.
Driving along the road towards Novgorod and Moscow you will not miss another pearl in the ring of Saint Petersburg suburban palaces – Pushkin, known before as Tsarskoe Selo (The Tsar Village). This ensemble can easily compete with Peterhof in beauty and luxury of the parks, ponds, statues, ballrooms, and galleries. Tsarskoe Selo awakes a number of names in the history: Elisabeth II, Catherine the Great, Alexander Pushkin, and even Nikolay II, who signed the renunciation document in the early XX century in the Alexander palace of Tsarskoe Selo. But those sad moments of powerful empire never loomed on the horizon of the brilliant times of the empire in the mid XVIII century. This is when the Amber Room, a gift of the Prussian King to Peter the Great, was moved from the Winter Palace to the Big Palace of Tsarskoe Selo. This magnificent interior leaves no one untouched: nearly 500 kilos of sunny stones either glaring with rare sunlight of the North or hazing with the local mists. The eights Wonder of the World was once brutally destroyed while the World War II. The room you see now is a restored by the drawings in the later XX century. Mind that amber is considered natural air filter, and when you enter the room together with hundreds of other people in the day, you will breath in absolutely fresh air with some notes of sea breeze and pine woods.

10 places to see in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg: Tsarskoe Selo 8. Pushkin. Tsarskoe Selo. Birth Place of Genius.
But Tsarskoe Selo is not only the Palace, or elegant pavilions and borderless parks, it is also a place of where new Russian language was born, where classic Russian poetic tradition grew up, and where the air is filled with rhymes and verses, thanks to Alexander Pushkin who grew up there studying in the Lyceum. Young Alexander spent 6,5 years in the Lyceum and this is where he earned his first romantic experience. If you walk along the gardens from the Grotto Pavilion towards the Admiralty ensemble you will meet the Milk Maid – a natural spring decorated with the statue of the girl crying over the cracked jug. People say young Alexander used to come here and sigh softly while composing his tentative lyrics. He was about 12 when he wrote a poem and devoted it to the young lady. Nobody knew who that muse was, but it’s beautiful to believe that it was that bronze Milk Maid who provoked a teenager for an ode, and gave a kick to the talent.

10 places to see in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg: Pavlovsk. Roses and Waltzes. 9. Pavlovsk. Roses and Waltzes.
Further on towards Moscow and Novgorod you enter Pavlovsk, named after Paul I the son of Catherine the Great, and well known in the world as the leader of the Maltese Order. This emperor was in charge of Russia only for the year, but there are great number of legends, myths and even tales connected with his tragic personality. But while in Pavlovsk you will never get any trace of sadness or sore. Pavlovsk was the residence of Paul I and his family before he entered the mounted the throne of Russia, and was the house for his widow after his assassination. Besides all these well-known journal facts Pavlovsk was a place where the talent of Johan Strauss The King of Waltz was discovered in Mid 50s of the XIX century. Famous ‘Pavlovsk Seasons’ were attracting a lot of bohemian names who admired the beauties of the park while the white nights and applauded to the life bursting music of the young composer. Among those names were Dostoevskiy, Tolstoy, Balzac, Dumas and many other European celebrities of those times. Join this gallery, walk along the Big Star Paths of the New Park and try to guess why the paths have such weird names: the Alley of the Green Woman, or the Path of the Red Sun, Friendly Walk and other. Cross the Centaur bridge and visit tiny amphitheatre not far from lovely Viskontiev Bridge. And don’t miss the Rose Pavilion, where roses bloom, obviously. If you happen to be there in July, don’t miss traditional Rose Festival when flowers from all over the world travel to boast their blooming by the Pavilion.

10 places to see in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg: Gatchina 10. Gatchina. Grand Master Wannabe.
Another suburban landmark connected with the name of Paul I is Gatchina a bit further on from Pushkin, but definitely worth sparing a day for exploring its palaces, parks and canals. Gatchina was first presented to Count Grigoriy Orlov, the favorite of the empress, and he was spending nights there when hunting in the nearest woods. Then it was given to Paul I who made it a residence of art and harmony. Paul I was occupied with the idea of putting Russia into connection with the powerful Maltese Order, and here in Gatchina you can find a lot of links to the symbolic of the Order. At the Constable Square indicating the center of the whole Gatchina complex there’s pyramidal column which was destroyed right after the construction by the lightning strike, and was then reconstructed only ages ago because the Quarries that produced some specific black limestone were flooded. The Priorate Palace was constructed in the park especially for Prince Conde, a good friend of Paul I, and the Prior Master of the Maltese Order. Admiring Conde’s residence Paul brought a copy of Venus pavilion to Gatchina and put it in the center of the Isle of Love at one of the lakes of the park ensemble. You can whisper your secret wish in the Echo Grotto and if the Echo returns it to you, it will come true. The Grotto is connected with the Palace galleries and was used as way of secret escape for royal favorites. Gatchina is a good cocktail of flirty stories, chivalrous mystics, artistic charm and primitive beauty of the nature, and you will not get tired while walking in the parks, over the bridges and observe the Palace, which looks like Sleeping Beauty residence.

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