The Grand Cascade of Petergof

The Grand Cascade in Petergof (Petergof, Russia) – description, history, location, reviews, photos and video.

The triumph, the celebration and the victory — that is the meaning laid in the most beautiful fountain complexes in the world, in the brilliant monument of Baroque art, in the legendary Grand Cascade of Petergof. This cascade however is not just a masterpiece for its architectural plan, but also the culmination of the whole palace and park complexes of Peter the Great, his apogee, the crown, the zenith of fame. And for that, there are quite reasonable reasons.

Parks, fountains, canals and palaces are found throughout the entire Leningrad region, whereas the Grand Cascade is a unique phenomenon in the world defying a decent description. Just imagine a dozen of gilded sculptures of people, monsters and mythical heroes, animals, as well as water jets intertwining with delicate threads above the center of the whole composition, – «Samson, the tearing lion“s jaw». The most impressive is that it all hides a very deep meaning, an implied sense, and only a brief excursion into history will help to unravel it.

The artistic idea of the Grand Cascade dates back to the beginning of 18th century. Its main concept is the glorification of the triumph of Russia, which gained access to the Baltic Sea and won over a powerful enemy – Sweden, in the Northern War, and thus becoming one of the greatest powers in Europe.

It is this idea that Peter and the genius Rastrelli tried to convey to his subjects and  associates through the water play, light and splashes, as well as the allegorical figurines. It must be said that they succeeded. More than 30 gilded statues of gods and heroes, 29 bas-reliefs on mythological subjects interpret the theme of victory, and the general plot outline intertwines directly around three main leitmotifs.

This is clearly the triumph of Russia“s victory in the fight with Sweden, a praise of our homeland which has subdued the water element and got access to the Baltic Sea, as well as a satire on the defeated enemy, what would we do without it.

The main concept of the Grand Cascade is the triumph of Russia, which gained access to the Baltic Sea and won over a powerful enemy — Sweden in the Northern War, and thus becoming one of the greatest powers in Europe. 

The Grand Cascade

The ideological center of the Grand Cascade is represented by the sculptural group of the «Russian Samson and the Sveysky roaring lion, gloriously torn to pieces.» This statue, with a  height of 3 m, portrays  St. Samson, the « heavenly» protector of the Russian armies, whose day of Remembrance represents the day when our troops defeated the Swedes. He is the one who represents Russia-the winner, sitting on a huge pedestal rock, surrounded by eight water jets gushing from dolphins mouths and gripping the lion mouth with his powerful hands in order to muffle his whining forever and its claims to the Russian lands. And all the defeated lion can do now, is to let out from its mouth a 20 meter water column.

Right here, in the heart of the Lower Garden, as nowhere else, one starts feeling proud of the motherland, re-perceiving the meaning of luxury and the richness, showing to the entire world how Russian men of Petergof can take matters in their own hands.

It was Peter the Great“s idea to erect the monument in 1735 in the honor of the 20th anniversary of the victory in Poltava, which had decided the outcome of the Northern War in favor of Russia. On both sides of the fountain complex, in the western and the eastern parts of the Lower Park, are located the cascades: “Chess mountain” and “Gold Mountain”, as if completing the already immaculate ensemble of the Petergof residence.

«Samson», like all the other fountains of Petergof, is closed down for the winter and is officially launched in the spring. It happens, respectively in May and September. As for the exact opening and closing dates, one ought to find them in advance on palace and parks ensemble“s website. You better don’t miss this event –  the launch of the fountains is considered one of the most beautiful holidays of Petergof.

Address: Peterhof, Lower Park.

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