When in St. Petersburg you must go to Peterhof, as it is just this palace that can give you some idea of magnificence of Russian imperial residences with fountains in nice park.
Peterhof was the first out-of-town palace on the coast of the Finnish Bay. It was built by Peter the Great only 29 kilometers of the city in 1714. During the building of Petersburg there arose the question about the out-of-town royal residence, and Peter I had no doubts about its location. As Petersburg, the new palace had to be on the coast of the Finnish Bay where he could stop on the way to Kronstadt (then the main base of Russian fleet), or watch exercises of the fleet.
Of course, in the time of Peter I the palace wasn’t as magnificent. There were only fountains, cascades and Monplaisir Palace. And only under Elizabeth Peterhof gained its today appearance. There were planted two parks – the Upper and Lower ones.
The Lower Park has 4 cascades consisting of 150 fountains, which amazes by their splendor and diversity. The Fountain Alley connects the Grand Cascade with the Finnish Bay. Samson Fountain is considered the most beautiful and wonderful fountain. It was erected in front of the Palace in 1735 to commemorate the 25th jubilee of Poltava Battle. It is the largest fountain, with the height of 20 meters.
Katherine I finished the Great Peterhof Palace founded by Elizabeth. It was designed by architect Francesco Rastrelli (who also designed some other palaces of Petersburg, such as Winter Palace, Tsarskoselskiy Palace and Smolny). The Palace was built in the style of baroque.
In the reign of Katherine the Great the parks were considerably extended. For example, besides Monplaisir Palace there were constructed many various pavilions, as well as another two smaller palaces, Marly and Hermitage, in Lower Park. It would be very interesting to have a promenade in the Park. Also, you must to take a tour of cascade fountains near the Great Palace.
It would be most convenient to go to Peterhof by high-speed powerboat, departing from the landing opposite Hermitage. Or otherwise, you could take a bus at Avtovo or Veteran`s Avenue metro stations (though, the trip will be much longer).