The Summer Garden
The Summer Garden is the oldest garden in St. Petersburg. It was laid out in 1704, next year after St. Petersburg foundation, on the site of the former Swedish residence. It was elaborated according to the original design proposed by Peter the Great, who was deeply involved in gardening. With the assistance of talented Dutch gardeners Nicolaas Bidloo and Jan Roosen and French architect Jean-Batiste Leblond he created the magnificent regular garden with sculptures and fountains. The fountains gave the garden an atmosphere of luxury.
The garden was adorned with pavilions used for various entertainments. Precious trees were brought from Europe: lindens, maples, elms. The paths were lined with allegorical marble sculptures acquired from Italy especially for Russia's new capital. Roman emperors, gods and goddesses illustrated ancient history and mythology. According to Peter's wishes the garden was to be not only a place of rest for his guests but also to enhance their education. It became the center of court life as Peter hosted famous court festivities there.
Unfortunately, two disastrous floods, in 1727and 1824, destroyed the fountains. Some of them have been recreated not a long time ago.
By the beginning of the 19th century the gardens were opened up to St. Petersburg's residents. Two pavilions Coffee and Tea Houses appeared on the grounds of the Summer Garden in 1826. Coffee House was home for the Italian confectionery Piazzi, attracting lovers of coffee and pastries. Nowadays there is a lovely cafe in the Coffee House, where visitors can have a cup of hot coffee.
Since the19th century, the Summer Garden has become a favorite place for romantic walks and recreation.