Summer Garden

Letny sad

The Summer Garden is one of the places most favored by the citizens of St. Petersburg, it is the oldest garden in the city and Peter the Great's famous cherished project. Built for Peter I, the garden's Summer Palace is the oldest stone building in the city.

In 1704 Peter I ordered to set up a garden that would resemble the European gardens of that time, and he himself drew its initial layout. The Summer Garden was created as a garden of fountains, capable of being a rival to the famous parks of Versailles. The alleys of the garden were covered on the sides with oaks and elms taken from abroad. The garden features a unique collection of marble statues created by Italian masters of the 17th-18th centuries (today many of those you will see in the park are copies). Purchasing sculptures in Italy in the early 18th century was assigned to Peter's trusted men. Already by 1728 there were more than a 100 statues and busts in the garden. The garden was designed by famous Russian and foreign architects, such as Ivan Matveev, Domenico Trezzini, Jean-Baptiste Le Blond, Andreas Schluter, Mikhail Zemtsov, Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli and many others. Soon the Summer Garden became the center of political and social life and the place that used to host all of the court festivities.

The rise of the Summer Garden was in the second half of the 18th century. The fashion for landscape gardens quickly got hold of European capitals and regular gardens lost their popularity. After the flooding of 1777 that damaged the plants, statues and fountains, Catherine II order to dismantle the fountains and by the early 19th century the garden lost most of its statues. But at the same time Catherine II gave the Summer Garden its new decoration, a magnificent iron-cast railing (created by architect Yury Felten, 1770-1784)

From a variety of constructions of the original garden only the Summer Palace and once gorgeous Grotto were left intact. In 1826 on the foundation of the Grotto Carlo Rossi erected a pavilion. Straight after it was finished an Italian confectioner named Piazza rented it to establish a café there (hence, the name). Today the Coffee House is an art café and a souvenir shop. Each Saturday and Sunday famous local musicians perform here jazz music of the 1930s-1950s.

Address: Kutuzova Emb., 2 (Naberezhnaya Kutuzova, 2)
How to reach: Nevskiy Prospekt, Gostiny Dvor, Gorkovskaya metro stations
Coordinates: 59.944944, 30.335430