The Grotto in Lefortovo

The first project of the grotto on its present place was carried out by Nicolaas Bidloo in the early 1720s. The monuments in this grotto included fountains, the statue of Hercules and gilded sphinxes.
In 1731 Francesco Rastrelli built a ‘stone cascade’ in the park which included a back wall with niches and fountains in the form of a grotto. This monument must have been renovated in 1770-1780s during the construction of Catherine the Great Palace. According to the description made in 1793 the grotto and the fountains were notable for their wonderful sculptural decoration. In the central niche there was a stone statue of Hercules and in front of it — three stone seals with tubes for gushing water. On both sides of the lower platform faced with white slabs there were two stone sphinxes. On the platform (in the wooden cup decorated with rocks) one could see a fountain with a gilded triton and 12 dolphins around it with water gushing out of them.
Nowadays the grotto is a brick structure with white stone decorations, 4 pairs of columns and 3 semicircular niches. Unfortunately, the sculptures haven’t been preserved.

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