Peterhof - Château de Marly
Almost at the western edge of the Lower Park at Peterhof, between two ponds, stands Château de Marly – a two-story palace painted yellow ochre. In spite of its relatively small proportions it plays an important part in the layout of the whole Lower Park. From it the park’s three main avenues fan out, the Central Marly, the North Maliban, and the South Birch Tree Avenue. The palace is also the architectural center of the ensemble containing two parks, a cascade and fountains.
Entering the chateau from the pond side the visitors find themselves in a corridor leading into the Hall. The corridors of both floors are hung with paintings. On the ground floor, for example, there is Gerard Segher’s Antiquarian Shop, a canvas by an unknown 18th century Dutch painter entitled The Leaning Tower of Bologna and A Philosopher by a painter of the Rembrandt school.
In 1720 Johann Braunstein produced a design for a small single-story building between ponds near the seashore. Peter found it somewhat unimpressive, however, and ordered a second floor to be added. In 1723 the palace was ready. It was named after the French kings’ residence at Marly-de-Roi near Paris. True, the Peterhof Marly could in no way rival the huge palace ensemble in France.
It was at Marly that Peter the Great liked to observe his nascent fleet docked in Kronstadt. It was in Montplaisir, the summer residence built in the style of Dutch houses, that Empress Elisabeth loved to spend her leisure time, and sometimes engage in activities, such as cooking; and it was in this humble abode that Peter the Great drew his last breath. His bed is still preserved and has not been touched since his death.
St Petersburg Guide, Jean Bastin, 1874
The Chateau de Marly has seven rooms on each floor with an identical layout. The floors are linked by a staircase with a splendid wrought-iron balustrade with gilded details.