At the very edge of the Lower Park's western section stands the Marly Palace, which gave its name to a vast surrounding area laid out in ponds, gardens, and groves. It rises on a narrow strip of land between the Marly Pool and a water-garden of four octant ponds forming a semicircle. To the north of it, almost on the brink of the Gulfs waters, rises an earth bank with a supporting wall in its south slope, sheltering the Garden of Venus from the north winds. To the south of the Palace is the Garden of Bacchus, laid out next to the slope of the coastal terrace and decorated with six fountains. Down the slope runs the Marly Cascade, also called the Cascade of the Golden Hill.
The impulse for the creation of this ensemble was provided by the French royal residence of Marly-le-Roi, which greatly impressed Peter during his tour of France. The Marly ensemble at Peterhof was noted for the great diversity of its covered walks, summerhouses, garden pavilions, and trellised decorations. It was first conceived as fеrmе ornée, a model utility garden with fish ponds and an orchard, quite distinct from the other parts of the estate: the central ensemble, with its pomp and grandeur, and the area of the Monplaisir Palace, with its atmosphere of seclusion and elegance. The western area also includes the Hermitage Pavilion and the complex of the Whale Fountain. In the late eighteenth century, the Lion or Hermitage Cascade was built there, and at once became an integral feature of the ensemble.
The Nazi occupation of 1941-44 dealt a terrible blow to the Marly area. The Palace and the Gardens of Venus and Bacchus were very badly damaged; the Lion Cascade was blown up.
After the end of the war much restoration work was carried out. The Hermitage Pavilion was opened to the public, and the Marly Cascade and fountains were put back into working order. Today, the formal layout, the planting, and the trellised decorations of the early eighteenth century are being restored to plans by Xenia Agapova, Vladimir Banige, Mikhail Mikishatyev, Eleonora Garagashyan, and other architects and garden designers.