Peterhof - Golden Hill Cascade
The Golden Hill Cascade at Peterhof is the architectural focal point of the western part of the Lower Park. The white marble steps, the gold leaf of their verticals, the splendid collection of sculpture, and the stone staircases with balustrades all make it unusually striking. At the foot is a gigantic jet of water, and around the cascade four gilded tritons gleam through the veil of water.
In the year that the chateau was built Peter the Great commissioned Niccollo Michetti to design a cascade. The edifice was completed at the same time as the palace, in 1723. In 1731-1732 the architect Mikhail Zemtsov reconstructed the cascade. On the side walls at the bottom and on the small wall at the top he erected five figures of marble and two of gilded bronze, as well as mascarons of the Medusa. He edged the verticals of the steps with gilded bronze plates that produce an interesting interplay of light through the mirror of the cascading water. Ever since then the cascade has been called the Golden Hill.
The completion of the sculptural ornament (1869-1870) is associated with the architect Nikolai Benois. It was on his initiative that ten marble figures of Greek gods were acquired to replace the lead sculpture. Then, too, the steps were faced with white marble.