Summer Garden

Summer Garden

The Summer Garden is one of the most famous parks in Russia. It was Peter I who ordered to set up the garden, which throughout its three-century-long history served as a model of garden design and was often praised in poems, paintings and films. 

On April 5 (March 25), 1704 Peter I gave the following instructions to Tikhon Streshnev, military governor: "When you receive my letter, don’t delay – order a gardener to bring lots of different flowers, mostly scented ones from Izmaylovsky Park to St. Petersburg”. It was the first written record of the Summer Garden. The Tsar himself made a plan of the park, which received its name Letniy, because initially so-called letniks - the annual flowers – were planted in the garden. I. M. Ugryumov was in charge of the layout of the garden and the construction of a summer wooden house for Peter I. Starting from 1706 he was responsible for the construction of first fountains in St. Petersburg. First sculptures appeared in the Summer Garden in 1707. Today, there are 92 marble sculptures, including 38 statues, 5 sculptural groups, 48 ​​busts, and 1 herm. Most of them were created by Italian masters of the late 17th – early 18th century. From August 1710 to 1714 a two-storied summer residence to the plan of architect Domenico Trezzini was built instead of a wooden house. In 1712 Peter I moved into a half decorated palace and spent every summer there until his death. In 1934 a historical museum of daily life was opened in the palace building. From the early 1710s until 1726 the layout of the garden was designed by Dutch gardener Jan Roosen. Starting from 1716 it was Jean-Baptiste Le Blond, who re-arranged the layout of the Summer Garden. In 1718 a Poultry Yard was built next to the Summer Palace to his design. In 1711–1719 the Swan and Poperechny Canals were dug to drain the garden. It was then that the Fontanka and Moika were connected. Since then the garden is located on the island. The Summer Garden was largely completed in 1719. The garden was open to the public on Sundays, however not everyone was allowed to enter. In 1752 Elizaveta Petrovna ordered to let well-dressed people to the Summer Garden on Sundays and on holidays. Starting from May 1756 the public of the rank below 2 class could enter the garden when the empress was not in St. Petersburg. In 1770 it was decided to build a fence on the Neva side. It was designed by Yu. M. Felten and P. E. Yegorov. The construction of the famous railing was completed in 1784. In 1826–1830 L. Charlemagne erected the railing on the Moika side and added final fan-shaped pieces. In 1827 he also designed the Tea House wooden pavilion. In 1855 a monument to Ivan Krylov to the design of architect P. K. Klodt was unveiled next to the Tea House. On April 4, 1866 an attempt on the life of Emperor Alexander II took place at the Summer Garden. It was Osip Komissarov who stopped D.V. Karakozov. In commemoration of the escape a chapel designed by R. A. Kuzmin was built into the garden railing in 1866–1868. After 1917 the garden became public. During the siege an anti-aircraft battery was located in the garden. Sculptures were buried underground. After the end of the Great Patriotic War the garden was restored. Since 2004 the Summer Garden is a branch of the State Russian Museum. In 2009–2012 the Summer Garden underwent major restoration work. The collection dedicated to the Summer Garden includes postcards from the Children's Museum of Postcard and private collections. The collection also contains books and archival documents.

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