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A winding spiral path flanked by trees leads to the top of an artificial hill known as the “Mount Parnassus” in the Alexander Park. The name comes from Greek mythology: Mount Parnassus, near Delphi, was the dwelling place of Apollo and the muses, the goddesses presiding over the arts. Hills like this, in the shape of a cone with a flattened top, ascended by a gently sloping path surrounded by shrubbery were often constructed in Renaissance parks and eighteenth-century regular parks.

This Parnassus was raised in the New Garden in 1755, when the ponds and the Krestovy Canal were enlarged and deepened. The hill was immediately planted with trees. In 1762 there was a proposal to place an octagonal domed summer-house on the top, but that plan remained unrealized.

In the 1810s, the idea of erecting a pavilion on the Mount Parnassus came up again, but although Piotr Neyelov, Luigi Rusca, Vasily Stasov, William Hastie and Pietro Gonzago all produced designs, none of them were built.