Cascade "Chess Mountain" in the palace and park ensemble of Peterhof: history and interesting facts
Cascade "Chess Mountain" is equipped on the natural slope of the Lower Park of the Peterhof Museum-Reserve, in the eastern part of the park complex.
This complex is also called the "Dragon Cascade" or"The Ruined Cascade." He got his name thanks to the drain slopes, painted with white and black paints in the form of a chessboard. What is the history of this unique element of the Peterhof Palace and Park Ensemble? Who is the author of the "Chess Mountain" cascade? What interesting facts are known about the fountain composition?
Description of the cascade composition
The composition "Chess Mountain" includesLower and Upper grottoes and four rectangular slopes covered with a thin layer of water. The water surface resembles huge mirrors, in which beautiful glare plays in sunny clear weather.
In the Upper Grotto of "Chess Mountain" is a massiveThe door that is closed. It is guarded by three formidable dragons, from the mouths of which water escapes, flowing down the cascade slope and after 32 meters falling into the round bowl of the basin. Her water forms a canopy, which covers the entrance to the Lower Grotto.
On both sides of the "Chess Mountain" are locatedtwo stairs that adorn the white marble sculptures brought in 1724 from Italy: Flora, Olympia, Priestess, Neptune, Jupiter, Vulcan, Cecera, Adonis, Pluto and Flora. These 10 sculptures are a valuable collection of the Peterhof Museum-Reserve and were created by Italian sculptors in the 18th century.
The creators of the unique fountain complex
In the construction and design of the Chess MountainPeterhof was attended by architects M. Zemtsov, I. Blank, I. Braunstein, I. Davydov, the brothers Barattini, T. Usov. The cascade was initially thought of by Peter the Great as "Ruin", it should look like a destroyed fortress tower, symbolizing the Russians taking Swedish fortifications.
The design of the cascade was also worked by the architects N. Miketti, Yu. Felten, J.-B. Leblon, N. Benois.
The water pipe to the "Chess Mountain" fountain was laid by the famous master Vasily Tuvolkov.
History of the cascade complex
The construction of the fountain cascade began at PetraΙ in 1721. On the site of a small cave built in 1717, the emperor ordered the construction of the Marble Fountain Cascade, which, according to the idea, should have been similar to the Little Cascade in Marly, the residence of French kings.
According to the drawings of Nicola Michetti, works began.At the top of the cascade was the composition "Neptune cart" with four horses, from whose mouth the streams of water would erupt. On both sides of the fountain they also wanted to install dilapidated fortresses. Such a composition was conceived by Peter Ι, but his plans during his lifetime did not come true.
Due to lack of materials, the Marble cascade was never built. Work in 1727 was suspended. A "Neptune's cart", cast by the architect Rastrelli, was placed in the Upper Park.
Ten years later the construction was resumed, butThe new project, which was developed by Mikhail Zemtsov. The fountain cascade was decorated with wooden dragons, from the mouths of which water erupted and flowed down the plateau, lined with lead. Since that time, the cascade has been called the "Dragon".
On both sides of the fountain complex, marble sculptures of Italian masters of the 18th century were installed.
In 1769 the draining plateau was painted with white and black squares, because of which the cascade complex was called the "Chess Mountain".
After a hundred years in 1875, the wooden dragons were replaced by metal ones.
The fate of the "Chess Mountain" fountain complex during the Great Patriotic War
During the war in 1941, all marble sculpturesThey were removed and buried deep into the earth to preserve historical exhibits. As a result of the bombing of the German fascist forces, Chess Mountain, Peterhof suffered greatly. After the war in 1953, the cascade during the restoration work was completely restored following the sketches of the 18th century. The statues were safely removed from the ground and returned to their former places.
Interesting facts about the cascade composition
In 1875 on the wall of the Upper Grotto wasthe sculpture of an eagle is established, and in a pool - sculptures of the Nymph and Satire created by the Petersburg architect Peter Stavasser. These new marble figures did not fit into the general composition of the "Chess Mountain" fountain, but they still stood there until 1941.
During the war period, statues of the eagle, Nymph, Satire anddragons were abducted by fascists. The rest of the marble sculptures park workers had time to bury themselves in the ground, and their German invaders were not found. In 1953, all of them were excavated, while during the war none of the ten statues seriously suffered. Thus, the museum staff managed to preserve the historical legacy of Peter's times.
Restoration of the fountain
After the restoration works in 1953, the "Chess Mountain" fountain in Peterhof was never repaired. In 2012, restoration work began, which lasted a whole year.
Completely recreated cast-iron water pipe, which is located in a huge tunnel and was laid in the 19th century. Through the pipes, water rises to the fountain cascade.
Restored the grotto and the foundation of the cascade complex, while the builders used old bricks.
The tuff slope, Upper grotto and four stingrays, painted in the form of a chessboard, were restored.
But the sculptures of the ancient deities had to be replaced with copies, as the marble is eventually destroyed by moisture and frost. The originals were placed in the glass pavilion of the Lower Park.
The opening of the "Chess Mountain" fountain in Petergof became a great holiday, a big chess tournament was held, festive events were organized, and a brass band was also playing.