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THE MARLY AVENUE

The Marly Avenue, which was called The Perspective in the eighteenth century, is the main alley in the Lower Park and also the longest - two kilometres, starting from the Marly Pool. It served from the earliest days of Peterhof as a place for ceremonial and festive processions, and fancy-dress parades. The Avenue cuts across the park from its western to its eastern limits, running parallel to the coast. On its axis, at an equal distance to the right and left from the Marine Canal, are the Adam and Eve Fountains. They are, respectively, the key points in the composition of the Lower Park's eastern and western areas. Eight avenues radiate from the octagonal basins of these fountains like eight shafts of starlight. Where the Marly Avenue crosses the Canal, there is a bridge; this was a swing bridge in Peter's time. Four vistas open up from this point: one to the Great Palace and the Cascade, another to the Gulf, and the other two, to the Adam and Eve Fountains.

In Peter the Great's early sketches, which embody the original concept of the whole Peterhof ensemble, the Marly Avenue is already marked. Between 1714 and 1723 it was laid out and decorated by Braunstein, Le Blond, and Michetti, and the master-gardeners Harnigfelt and Borisov.

In 1798 the master-gardener Terenty Timofeyev set out parallel riding-paths along the sides of the Marly Avenue, beginning at its intersection with the Monplaisir Avenue. This widened the main route through the Lower Park without changing the basic plan of the area. The fountains in the Avenue, which were created between 1721 and 1726 by Michetti, Braunstein, and Usov, and the fountain-builder Sualem, have survived to the present day. Not so the trellises near the Adam and the Eve Fountains, which were originally made to designs of Michetti and Rastrelli, but were replaced at the beginning of the nineteenth century with eight arbours built by Brouer.

The point where the Marly Avenue crosses the Marine Canal is marked by four marble vases, made to Voronikhin's design in 1805. They were placed where the brick drums for the cables which moved the swing bridge had previously stood. In 1884 the bronze statue of Peter the Great, cast in Paris from Mark Antokolsky's model and under his personal supervision, was erected on a granite pedestal at the intersection of the Marly and Monplaisir Avenues, in the middle of a rectangular opening surrounded by marble busts of Italian eighteenth-century workmanship.

During the occupation of Peterhof from 1941 to 1944, the Nazis turned the avenue into an abatis, cutting down the ancient, two-hundred-year-old lime trees; they ringed it with barbed wire and mined it. After the liberation of Peterhof, the Marly Avenue was cleared of new growth and dead roots, and 1050 lime saplings were planted to replace the old trees; when their crowns grew they were clipped in the formal style. Two of the former eight trellised summerhouses near the Adam Fountain have been reconstructed.





The Marly Avenue: easten part, with the Adam Fountain in the distance


Vases at the Marly Bridge
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Artistic director - Valery Gergiev (Mariinky (Kirov) Opera and Ballet)

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