St. Petersburg Summer Garden was the favourite place of Peter the Great, the first Russian emperor.
The garden with a collection of sculptures and the Summer Palace that was the first Emperor’s residence constitute a single museum complex. is one of the places where one can feel the atmosphere of Peter’s times. The Summer Garden is a pearl in the garden necklace of Petersburg. Peter I really liked this garden. It was laid out in 1704. Time has changed the garden a lot. However, its original planning still remains.
Peter I wanted the garden of his residence to be as beautiful as the famous gardens of European monarchs. To decorate the Summer Garden he commissioned marble busts and statues from Italy. This purchase laid the foundation of the collection of sculpture of European level.
The fence on the Neva side of the Summer Garden is an architectural masterpiece of universal fame. The impressive monumentality merges miraculously with lightness, simplicity, and grace.
The garden was in its prime in the mid-18th century, dazzling all with the splendour of the palace buildings and marble statues and its achievements in landscape design and engineering. Changing fashions and devastating floods drastically then changed its appearance. By the 19th century, the fountains and almost all of the structures had disappeared. The hedgerows lining the paths had stopped being trimmed, and the garden gradually turned into a well-shaded place to stroll. The garden also suffered during World War II. But despite all of these changes, the original layout still remains. Currently, the Summer Garden is a part of the Russian Museum complex.
In the course of restoration from 2009 to 2012, many of the elements present in the garden in Peter’s time were recreated. Today, the Summer Garden is once again an integral part of the magnificent ensemble that is St. Petersburg – a cultural treasure not only of the Russian state, but a world cultural-heritage site as well. One of the oldest sculptures in the Summer Garden, a bust of the Polish King Jan Sobieski, famed for his victories over the Turks, may be found in Palace Alley. Modelled in 1683, the bust is a fair likeness of the king, but bears the somewhat idealised majestic appearance typical of formal portraits of that period.