Peterhof

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The Upper Gardens of Peterhof

Peterhof (or Petergof), meaning "Peter's Court" is a town in Saint Petersburg on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland. It has a population of about 65,000. It hosts one of two campuses of Saint Petersburg State University. A series of palaces and gardens, laid out on the orders of Peter the Great, and sometimes called the "Russian Versailles", is also there. The palace-ensemble along with the city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the time of Peter the Great, the sea floor just north of the Petergof site and to the east toward St. Petersburg was too shallow for commercial ships or warships. But to the west of Petergof, the sea floor dropped off to be deep enough for sea vessels. Accordingly, when Peter the Great decided to build St. Petersburg at the eastern end of the Gulf of Finland, he built the commercial harbor for St. Petersburg and the Kronstadt fort across the 20 kilometers (12 miles) of shallow sea to supply and defend his Navy.