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The Summer Garden

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The Summer Garden

First mentions of the Summer Garden dates back to 1704. It was created according to the taste and directions of Peter the Great, who wanted to have a summer residence “better than French king had in Versailles”.

Front part of the garden was designed as regular. Straight alleys divided the garden into bosquets, where oaks and fir trees were set out, arbours were built and fountains were laid out. According to the European order of the day, the garden was decorated with sculptures brought from Venice and Rome. The sculptures were ordered in series grouped together by the meaning. Still stand on the garden’s alleys the sculptures by Giovanni Bonazza – Aurora, Midday, Sunset and Night, the muses Terpsichore, Talia and Euterpe by Paolo and Giuseppe Gropelli, pendant sculptures – Justice and Mercy, Veritas and Sinceritas, as well as the marvelous sculptural groups Treaty of Nystad, Cupid and Psyche and a lot of busts. The collection of marble sculpture in the Summer Garden became the first Russian museum in the open air and helped to develop the Russian school of secular art. During the reign of Peter the Great, the Summer Garden was a centre of social life in the capital, and retained its position after the emperor’s death.

However, gradually the trend for regular gardens took turns to a romantic attraction for landscape park. After the golden age of the park in the 1730s and 1740s, the Summer Garden fell into decline. The 1777 flood, which destroyed the fountain system and many other features of Peter’s original garden, contributed to it greatly. About the same time the works on setting up the Neva River embankment were started, and Georg Friedrich Veldten had designed railings separating the Summer Garden from the road running along the bank of the Neva River.

In the 19th century new pavilions were created for the convenience of the public walking in the garden: in 1826 Carlo Rossi built the Coffee House, and in 1827 the wooden Tea House was built upon the project of Ludwig Charlemagne-Baudet. In 1839, a majestic vase of pink porphyry from Elvdalen was installed in front of the Carp Pond. This was a present to Tsar Nicholas I from King Charles XIV of Sweden.

After February 1917, the Summer Garden lost the status of an Imperial park and in 1934 together with the Summer House of Peter the Great became an independent memorial architectural and historical museum.

Since 2003 the Summer Garden is a part of the State Russian Museum complex.

The Project “The Russian Museum: the Virtual Branch”
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