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The Summer garden in poetry

 

From the first days of its existence the Summer Garden was a center of St.Petersburg public life. During the reign of Peter the Great long assembles, celebrations (victory days and weddings) and special receptions were very common. Feofan Prokopovich, famous Russian religious writer, gave one of the first descriptions of the Summer Garden ("It reveals its wondrous beauty and brings joy to boaters on the river").

Kamer-Junker Bergholz (prince Schleswig-Holstein) left a very detailed description of the garden in 1721-1725. "It has everything one could want in a delightful garden." He admired the fountains and vegetation and wonderful fireworks on Neva River.

After the Summer Garden became a public garden in the second part of the18th century it was a favorite place for educated people to gather. Concerts have been held in the garden since 1751.

 

Alexander Pushkin loved Summer Garden. In one of his letters he wrote,

"The Summer garden is my kitchen garden (ogorod). I wake up and go there in my robe and slippers. I read, write, and take my afternoon nap there. It is home to me."

Famous poets and painters such as Vasili Zhukovskii, Taras Schevchenko, Ivan Krylov, A. Venetsianov and K. Briullov would meet in the Summer Garden for intellectual debates.
In one of the bosquets inn the Summer Garden a monument to fabulist Ivan Krylov was erected in the mid-19th century.

 

Ivan Krylov, Alexander Pushkin, Vasilii Zhukovsky, and Nikolai Gnedich in the Summer Garden. Painting by G. Chernetsov, 1832.

Russian poet Anna Achmatova dedicated one of her most romantic poems to the garden:

The Summer Garden

I long for the roses in that singular garden
With the world’s best ironwork fence,
Where the statues remember me in my youth
And I remember them under the Neva in flood...

In all poetic descriptions the romantic image of the garden seems to be the most permanent. Admiration of the old linden trees, shady alleys, the beauty of the marble sculpture and the scent of Neva River are common feelings of people of St.Petersburg in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
Today the Summer Garden is an even more popular place to visit because of its location as an ecological island in the urban environment and its pleasant microclimate. The Summer Garden will always be a favorite place for painters, lovers, families and friends.
Further topics and interdisciplinary essays
History and Design of the Garden

Garden and River

Ecology of an Urban Greenspace

The Summer Garden in Poetry

Nostalgia as a Cultural Force

References and links

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