Russia, St. Petersburg
To me, St. Petersburg in its original form, was a city of excess and of pain. The city was built by serfs (80% of population) in 1703 under conditions so horrific that over 150,000 (official figure) died in the first few years of cold and privation. My great grandfather was a serf as were 80% of all Russians by 1825 so I see the city as a symbol of servitude and decadence of the wealthy. However, it is indeed a beautiful city with some amazing architectural works created by the finest architects in Europe.
Peterhof is just one of the many magnificent palaces that grace the history of the city. The small palace with the little garden is where Catherine II resided when she received word that her husband had been killed (accidentally, in a scuffle) by the Orlov brothers, one of whom was her lover. She became thus Empress of all the Russias.
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