It was a beautiful morning strolling through the lush gardens of Peterhof Palace. It was to no surprise that these very Palace grounds (and gardens) were the favorite of Peter the First. Given our very limited time in St. Petersburg, we barely got to see the interiors of the imperial residences. However, we were able to marvel in the grandiose of the the great outdoors — exquisite 18th to 19th century decorative ensembles, golden sculptures of allegorical symbolism, and magical fountains. At the backdrop of the first photograph is a Roman Fountain constructed back in 1799. What was absolutely special about our visit was that it was perfectly timed with the fountain show. A unique feature of Peterhof are the fountain jets that were positioned during the Petrine era, with all the fountains stretching down to the sea.
Now the most beautiful exterior of a church that I had the luxury to lay my eyes on was… The Church on the Spilled Blood also known as Church of Resurrection! This was the sight of the assassination of Emperor Alexander the Second. The most aesthetically pleasing feature included the bright cupolas at the top of the church. Hands down to two brilliant architects Alfred Parland and Archimadrite Ignaty for the construction of work of art.
Two other must see monuments include: St. Isaac’s Square and St. Isaac’s Cathedral. St. Isaac’s Cathedral is perhaps the largest Russian Orthodox Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The Monument to Nicholas I lies is directly across the street from the church. Killing two birds with one stone — visiting two sights in one go. Some travel sites recommend climbing up the walkway of the Cathedral’s base, but I was happy just looking through the pastel-like gilded gold of the interior. The painting we see in the cupola is one of Mother Mary surrounded by angels and religious deities. Words aren’t even suffice to express the grandeur of this place. I spent fifteen minutes looking up at the ceilings and really trying to take in the interiors of the Cathedral.
While frolicking about, my aunt commented, “Wow, the Russians never tire of living in castles!” And it’s true. Feat your eyes on another majestic castle called Tsarkoe Selo (Pushkin), the Palace of Catherine the Great. The Tsars would frequent this place every winter. Walking through the grounds was literally a scene out of a Cinderella movie. The I was a little bit confused as to which type of architecture the Palace exhibited — apparently commissioned by Peter during the Baroque epoch.Just see for yourself, Catherine was actually living in your childhood fairytale dream (at least mine – hehe). What you should not miss inside the Palace is the bright Amber room. Tourists were not allowed to take photographs but there is a room inside the Palace where the wall is covered in Amber and glistening in hues of red, orange, pinks, and nudes. Anything type of Amber you can possibly conceive, the room contains.
My only apprehension is that we spent such a short period in St. Petersburg. Given the opportunity to do it all again, I would leisurely take the time to enjoy the Palaces, museums, and watch a ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre.