THE MEZHEUMNY OR MIDWAY FOUNTAIN
Five bronze statues are set in a pool thirty metres wide, edged with a border of light-coloured Reval stone; they represent a ferocious dragon, with its wings spread, and four dolphins leaping out of the water. This fountain, typical of a formal garden, bears the unusual, very Russian name of Mezheumny or Midway Fountain, suggested by its position halfway between the main entrance and the central part of the garden. It was built between 1737 and 1739 on the suggestion of Bartolomeo Carlo Rastrelli, the sculptor, who made a gilded lead group for it, Perseus Defending Andromeda from the Dragon. The architects Blank and Davydov, the fountain-builder Sualem, and the founder and coppersmith Pierre Leclaire worked on the construction of the fountain. By 1773 only five of Rastrelli's sculptures had survived, the dragon and the four dolphins, and between 1773 and 1775 Ivan Yakovlev grouped them together. By the middle of the nineteenth century only the dragon remained. In 1858 it was removed and a vase, cast from the design of Stakenschneider, was set in the dragon's place; hence the fountain's second name, the Vase Fountain. The fountain retained this form until 1941. It was completely destroyed during the Nazi
occupation of 1941-44. In 1957 the sculptor Alexey Gurzhy re-created the figures of the dragon and the dolphins from drawings of the 1770s.
The Midway Fountain, the first element in the decor of the Upper Gardens, opens, as it were, the magnificent fountain display of the whole Peterhof ensemble.
· the Neptune Fountain;
· the Oak Fountain;
· the Fountains of
the Square Pools
or Midway Fountain.