Petergof (or Peterhof – Dutch for “Peter’s yard”) was conceived by Peter The Great in 1714. According to Peter’s plan, this country’s residence should not give in to the famous Versailles in France by its luxury and beauty. The general concept of planning parks, the main palace, and fountains were invented by the king himself (there preserved his drawings and document notes). Peterhof’s grand opening was held already in 1723, and it quickly gained the fame of one of the most beautiful park-palace ensembles in Europe.
Nevertheless, Peterhof has a difficult destiny. After Peter’s death, Peterhof was consigned to oblivion for several years and only in 1730 started a new 10-year construction phase. During World War II, the ensemble was very hurt: Nazi troops cut down trees, made dugouts, pillboxes, and trenches in parks; blew up and burned The Grand Palace, taken out statues and thousands of museum’s values to Germany, and so on. After the war, by the enormous efforts of sappers and, later, restorers and simple Leningrad inhabitants, parks and palaces were turned into their current view.
This photo series is my attempt to look into Peterhof’s soul. Walking around his parks, looking at his palaces, churches, still sleeping fountains, I almost saw horse-drawn carriages, walking maids of honour, and stiff foreign guests of the royal court.
At the same time, on these images, I wanted to show Peterhof like he is waking up after a long winter dream and bad weather, shaking off his memories about the experienced hardships and setting his “face” to the first warmth and sunlight.