Peter the Great masterminded this complex of gardens and residences, starting around 1720. His motivation was twofold. First, he was proud of the capital city he was creating and wanted its evolving Imperial grandeur showcased with a proper summer palace. Second, he became attached to this spot while erecting the naval fortress of Kronshtadt on a nearby island across the Gulf of Finland. Half-encircled by the sea, filled
with fountains and other water monuments, and with the Marine Canal running straight from the foot of the palace into the bay, Peter's palace was also intended as a tribute to the role of water in the life, and strength, of his city. The German name (Peter's Court) was changed to Petrodvorets after World War II.