Our Peterhof Gardens Promenade

Often referred to as Russia’s Versailles, the Peterhof Palace gardens (Петерго́ф) offered us a picturesque — albeit congested and hectic — spot to stroll during a visit to St. Petersburg earlier this month. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Peterhof was commissioned by Peter the Great in the 18th century.

Under shadows cast by heavily-gilded cupolas, palace caretakers brusquely ushered us through this grandiose palace complex. When we encountered artists dressed in Baroque garb, we tried to imagine Peterhof in its heyday. Then, we tried to visualize the destruction its Nazi occupiers inflicted between 1941-1944.

Aside from the elegant gardens, we simply enjoyed people-watching. Visitors young and old brought life to the formal palace. There were Russian school-children visiting this UNESCO-World Heritage Site on a field trip. Some of them seemed more interested in games of hide-and-seek.

There was even a bride that resembled a delicately painted matryoshka doll.

Elsewhere, aggressive salesmen peddling matryoshka dolls, miniature wooden buildings with colorful spires, and Siberian cashmere shawls. Some of their expressions evoked Cold War intrigue.

Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

2 thoughts on “Our Peterhof Gardens Promenade

  1. Lovely post. It was wonderful to see Your very beautiful photos from Russia. They differ so much from those which I presented in my series of posts “Return to the roots”.

    Thank You.

    1. Thank you for your compliment. I have yet to post pictures from St. Petersburg’s urban corners. Indeed, they’re more gritty than the picturesque gardens at Peterhof. How much time did you spend in Russia?

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