|View up the channel toward palace|
|View from palace toward the sea|
A visitor has to walk along a channel linking the ocean with the palace. Originally, the Sea Channel was built to access the palace by boat, but today it's part of the breath-taking view as you approach the palace.
|Grand Cascade with palace chapel in background|
This main fountain is set in the middle of the huge gardens surrounding the palace. Other parts of the garden also are decorated by beautiful fountains. We walked for several hours from one end of the gardens to the other and saw all these gorgeous fountains built in the 1700s.
Also situated in the midst of the gardens, we saw the Hermitage Pavilion. Peter and some of his successors used this small building as a dining area outside of the palace. Surrounded by a tiny mote, the two-floor pavilion is only one room - a dining room.
The table was set and guests arranged around the table. Then the table and guests were pulled up to the second floor by servants using a pulley system. There were no stairs in the building to keep the servants on the floor below. This was done because the Czars wanted to speak to their guests without the servants hearing any of the secrets they discussed. It seemed to be a lot of trouble to go through just so the servants didn't listen in.
It was a beautiful day to see a wondrous place.