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Летний Сад


The Summer Garden is younger than St.-Petersburg only for one year.

The work on laying it out began in 1704. Peter the Great had drawn up a plan of the garden by himself, had been giving the instructions concerning the kinds of flowers and trees and where from would be better to bring them in.

Outstanding architects and masters of the gardening had been continuing to work under the design of the garden for the next decades in accordance with the Peter’s rough draft and putting it into practice.

The Summer Garden was created as a regular park which was characterized by the right symmetrical arrangement of paths, the cutting of the trees and bushes in a form of geometrical figures, the creation of arbours, galleries, labyrinths with the aid of green planting.

The arranging of the fountains began in 1706. First of them were erected according to the plans of an architect Ivan Matveev, who was in charge of the main works in the garden in 1705-1707.

In 1710-1711 the water had been moved to the fountains by specially set machine. In 1718 the construction of the Ligovsky canal began. This canal linked the Liga river with the basins situated in Nekrasov street from which the water had been led by the pipes to the reservoir of the water-carrier towers situated on the Bezimyanni Yerik later named

"Fontanka".

By the middle of the XV??? century there had been more than 50 fountains in the garden. Thirty one of them were situated in the southern part of the garden and in the labyrinth built in the twenties years according to the plan of an architect M.G. Zemtsov (1688-1743). It is common knowledge that in 1719 the foundryman was called in order to cast figures according to the drawings of Zemtsov. The fables of an ancient

Greek fabulist Azop were used as a subject of the fountain’s sculpture. By the evidence of an eyewitness, these were the lead gilded sculptural groups separately from which stood the statue of Azop. An idea of creation a labyrinth with such figures also belonged to Peter I. It’s a pity but the construction hadn’t been preserved until nowadays.

The compulsory construction of the regular parks of the XV??? century-the grotto- hadn’t been preserved too. The beginning of work on laying out the grotto by architect Schluter was 1713-1714. After Schluter’s death the work was continued by I.Mattarnovi, I.Miketti, G.-B. Leblon and

M.G. Zemtsov. It was the pavilion with high dome, decorated with columns , marble busts and sculptural groups before the entrance. The grotto’s interior walls were faced with shells and stones of different colours. In the center of the main hall there were fountain "Neptun" and the organ, which was set going by the water. During the flood of 1777 the grotto had been almost completely destroyed. Either had the fountains.

The marble sculpture, which was ordered by Peter I in Italy, became the integral part of the regular garden. Particular glory did have Venice’s masters P.Baratta, D.Bonatsa, A.Tarsia and others. Their works were bought gladly in Europe. The prominent connoisseurs of an art U.Kologrivov,

S.Raguzinski, P.Beklemishev (last one was the ambassador of Russia in

Italy) helped Peter I to acquire Italian sculptures for the Summer Garden.


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