Peterhof is the only seaside residence of the Russian emperors, that is why it was quite natural to open the "Imperial yachts museum", on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, in 2004.
The exposition demonstrates unfamiliar pages of the imperial family life. Here you can see the navy overcoat and the skipper's jacket of Peter I, the tunic dress in fleet uniform style of the Empress Catherine II, the photographs and the models of the imperial and grand dukes' yachts, that were true "floating" palaces, the yacht services, paintings, graphics and a variety of decorative and applied art objects, dedicated to the glorious history of the Baltic and Nevsky fleets.
The history of Russian imperial yachts, goes back to Peter I's time. Since childhood, the future emperor dreamed of the sea, and later, while traveling in Europe, he mastered among others, the profession of shipbuilder. The gained access of Russia to the sea, and its establishment on the Baltic coast, led to a rapid development of shipbuilding in Russia. Since 1702, the court yachts were built at the Voronezh shipyard. After the first victories in the Northern War, the tsar initiated the creation of the Baltic fleet. In 1703-1704, several frigates, sailing and rowing snows were constructed, with one of particular interest among them, called "Munker" (Fr. "Mon Couer"), that was made according to the sketches of Peter himself (the model is exhibited in the museum).
The yacht building gathered momentum during the reign of Catherine II, and its particular flourishing began in the reign of Nicholas I. Among the twenty two imperial, grand duke and officer yachts, created in the XIX century at the Russian and foreign shipyards, there were both small sailboats of modest design and comfortable ships with luxurious interiors. Distinctive decoration, special furniture and services, that do not repeat each other, were created for each of the yachts.
In the second half of the XIX century, the large, comfortable yachts for long-distance voyages were starting to be built, with some made specifically for the heirs to the throne. Among them, there was a yacht "Shtandart", laid in construction in 1893 in Copenhagen, and had its building completed three years later. It was the largest oceanic yacht, and the most advanced by its engineering and technical characteristics. It belonged to Tsesarevich Alexei, as evidenced on the numerous photographs.
The post-revolutionary fate of the imperial yachts was sad, many of them were dismantled or turned into the targets for testing of anti-ship missiles. The "Imperial Yachts Museum", grants a unique opportunity to see them again.