History of summer cottages

In Old Peterhof on the shore of the Gulf of Finland in the second half XIX - early XX century there was a picturesque village Bobylskaya (now the village of Prosveshchenie) - a resting place for industrialists, entrepreneurs, architects and artists. Surnames well known at that time: Benois, Brandt, Grube, Kron, Pren, San Galli, Shteiner - the owners of summer cottages - enjoyed well-deserved honor and respect before the revolution.

А.Н. Бенуа Финский залив Бобыльск Петергоф

A.N. Benois. Evening at the seaside 1910

A.N. Benois. The village of Bobylsk near Peterhof 1880s

There were eight summer cottages a few meters from the water, and along the road leading to the Peterhof highway, and further, on the ridge of the Peterhof ridge, there were a number of buildings. The village was surrounded by fields, vegetable gardens and mows, among which were laid picturesque cobblestone paths. From the west, the village bordered on the Own Park, which belonged to the imperial family, dachas, and from the east - on the farm of the Prince of Oldenburg.

Friendly and neighborly relations of family members of summer residents led them to frequent communication, and, together with guests who constantly visited hospitable houses, turned the village into a kind of cultural recreation center for the Petersburg intelligentsia.

Фрагмент карты Петергофского уезда с обозначением дер.Бобыльской. 1904 г.

A fragment of a map of the Peterhof district with the designation of the village of Bobylskaya. 1904

Башня дачи М.Н. Бенуа.

Tower of dacha of M.N. Benois.

For almost thirty years, Nikolai L. Benois built and designed in Peterhof. His authorship belongs to such buildings as the Gothic stables, the Ladies' buildings and the station in New Peterhof.


Вокзал в Новом Петергофе
Фрейлинские корпуса в Петергофе.

Station building in New Peterhof.

Maid of honor corps in Peterhof.

In turn, his son, Leonty Nikolaevich Benois, went down in the history of Russian culture not only as a talented architect, but also as an energetic public figure, urban planner, and teacher. He was rightfully considered the leader of the architectural school of the Academy of Arts that raised him. Under his leadership and influence, the talent of dozens of students was formed, who subsequently managed to make a significant contribution to the development of Russian architecture. Possessing extensive knowledge in the field of arts and a talent for interpreting, he with apparent ease created numerous variations on themes of historical styles, skillfully coordinating them with specific tasks.

Л.Н. Бенуа.jpg
Герб семьи Бенуа.

L.N. Benois.

Coat of arms of the Benois family.

They settled in the village of Bobylskaya since 1883, when the eldest son of N.L. Benois, Albert Nikolaevich, rented a dacha there. A master of watercolors, he was the first to feel the combination of the delicate lyricism of the landscape and the dramatic influence of the sometimes harsh expanses of the Gulf of Finland, so characteristic of this place. According to the project of Leonty N. Benois, two dachas were built by a single ensemble in the "English taste", for the families of L.N. Benois and A.E. Meissner, standing "like two sisters" a few meters from the coastline. “Our dachas, - noted the architect, - turned out to be very successful, picturesque and cozy, and, in addition, spacious. In the living room, a large one-piece mirrored glass is inserted directly into a frame that would not open. This is done so that with strong northerly and northeasterly winds you can sit warm and admire the raging sea.

Дачи Л.Н. Бенуа и А.Э. Мейснера Бобыльск Петергоф вид с залива

Dachi L.N. Benois and A.E. Meissner.

View from the bay, 1897

Семья Бенуа на даче в Петергофе.

The Benois family at their dacha in Peterhof.

Дача Бенуа в Петергофе

A year later, according to his own project, a dacha of Mikhail Nikolaevich Benois, brother of L. N. Benois, a former naval officer, with a picturesque, asymmetrically located tower was built on the border with the royal residence. Guests often came here, many of whom were also architects and artists: colleagues and students of Leonty Nikolaevich, relatives, family friends and neighbors. “At the turn of the 19th – 20th centuries, the Bobylskaya village became a kind of center of Petersburg dacha culture.”

Эскиз фасада дачи М.Н. Бенуа.

Dacha M.N. Benois.

Sketch of the facade of M.N. Benois.

   In Bobylsk, people loved not only to create, but also to play tennis and croquet, swim, ride boats and yachts, arrange cycling, horseback riding and hiking in Oranienbaum, Sergievka and Lugovoi Park. Holidays were organized in the open air, often theatrical, especially crowded on the birthdays of N. L. and L. N. Benois. In addition, family members themselves planted plants around the dachas, which turned the once deserted coast into a blooming garden. In 1915, M. N. Benois even intended to rent a neglected area of the Own Dacha park for laying out a garden on it, an agreement was concluded, but the revolution ruled out the possibility of carrying out any work.

Дача Л.Н. Бенуа с садиком на переднем плане. 1897 г.

Coast of the Gulf of Finland with "Giant Steps". 1897

Дача Л.Н. Бенуа с садиком на переднем плане. 1897 г.

Dacha L.N. Benoit with a garden in the foreground. 1897

   In 1920, a fire destroyed the dachas of L. N. Benois and A. E. Meisner.
All dachas by the Decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of 1918 were transferred to the Union of Educational Workers as a health resort. An exception was made only for Leonty Nikolaevich. In 1919, he equipped a creative training workshop and a library in his dacha, where he worked with young architects. In the post-war years, the grandchildren of L. N. Benois - A. V. Frolov, art critic, family historiographer, architects L. L. Schreter, professor at the Academy of Arts and his wife, O. A. Ivanova, teacher at the VKhPU im. Mukhina, and then their students, children, nephews and grandchildren, continued the traditions of creative life and the creative environment of the Benois dacha.


Дом отдыха "Учитель" (бывшая дача М.Н. Бенуа). 1951 г.
Здание бывшей дачи Крона. 1924 г.

The building of the former dacha Kron. 1924

Rest house "Teacher" (former dacha of M.N. Benois). 1951

   In 1973, the complex was transferred to St. Petersburg University as a sports base, which was not put into operation. 
Within the boundaries of the territory there is a private property, where, in the former office buildings of L. N. Benois's dacha, his descendants live.


   During the work of the holiday home, the wooden buildings of the summer cottages were subjected to  completion and redevelopment, which changed their appearance not for the better. Due to misuse and subsequent lack of repair, they quickly fell into disrepair.

Здание бывшей дачи Крона. 1924 г.

The building of the former dacha Kron. 1924

Здание бывшей дачи Крона. 1924 г.

The building of the former dacha Kron. 1924

  Most of the green spaces on the territory have become wild and turned into thickets and forests, their territorial and visual integrity has been violated. Initially, “the place was bare,” noted L. N. Benois. The landscaping work was supervised by the gardener Redesheid, an employee of the outstanding park designer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, R. E. Regel. 

План участка дачи М.Н. Бенуа.

Site plan for M.N. Benois.

 Now the characteristic features of the landscape are the flat coast of the Gulf of Finland, small bays and picturesque reed beds, granite stones along the coastline, left over from the once neatly laid embankment.

Укрепление берега Финского залива в районе бывшей дачи Бенуа. 1924 г.
Береговая линия у дачи Бенуа.

Strengthening the coast of the Gulf of Finland in the area of the former dacha Benois. 1924

The coastline at the Benois cottage.

  The main line of historical buildings runs along the coast, very close to the bay. This determines the valuable visual qualities that dachas have: space, air and incredible sunsets that can be observed from this shore of the bay.

Вид на залив с пляжа дачи М.Н. Бенуа.
Вид на залив с пляжа дачи М.Н. Бенуа.

View of the bay from the beach of M.N. Benois.

View of the bay from the beach of M.N. Benois.