On the eve of the 350th anniversary of the birth of Peter the Great, we are talking about the creation of the Summer Garden under the heading #PETROVSKIE_STORIES
Near the Fontanka River, where the Coffee House Pavilion is now located, in 1713 the construction of a grotto began.
Its project was developed by the architect A. Schluter, but the construction of the grotto was delayed for many years and several of the most prominent architects of St. Petersburg took part in its creation. After the death of Schlüter, the construction of the grotto was in charge of his closest student I. Mattarnovi, then the architects N. Michetti and J.-B. Leblon, completed and decorated the interiors of the grotto M. Zemtsov.
The archives have preserved a lot of different information that gives an idea of what the grotto in the Summer Garden was like. Its three halls were united by large arched openings. A high glass dome rose above the central one. Under it was arranged a fountain, decorated with a gilded lead figure of Neptune, standing in a chariot with sea horses harnessed to it. The walls were finished with tuff, colorful sea shells, crushed glass. Marble bas-reliefs, statues and busts completed the decor. There was also an organ powered by water.
The appearance of the grotto was also bright and elegant. The corners of beautiful brick walls were decorated with rustication, window and doorways were framed with expressive stucco garlands. Above the entrance was a sculptural composition of two seated figures holding a huge cartouche. The roof along the perimeter was surrounded by a parapet, on which the statues of Terpsichore, Flora, Sibyl, Fortune and others were installed.
The grotto in the time of Peter I was considered an outstanding building in St. Petersburg. They called him “curiosity”.