Duderhof Heights
Duderhof Heights or Duderhof Hills is a small highland area in the southwestern part of Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 (Krasnoselsky District
Krasnoselsky District, Saint Petersburg
Krasnoselsky District, Saint Petersburg is an administrative and municipal district , one of the 18 in Saint Petersburg, Russia....

), to the south of the town of Krasnoye Selo
Krasnoye Selo
Krasnoye Selo is a municipal town in Krasnoselsky District of the federal city of St. Petersburg, Russia. It is located south-southeast of the city center. Population:...

, on the northern edge of the Izhora Plateau
Izhora Plateau
The Izhora Plateau is an elevated landform on Ordovician limestone bedrock in the southwestern part of Leningrad Oblast, between the Gulf of Finland in the north and the Luga River in the south. Its northern edge is formed by the erosional cliff known as the Baltic-Ladoga Klint...

, which consists of several hills, most notably, the Orekhovaya hill , the highest point of Saint Petersburg at 176 m (577'), in the south, and the Voronya hill , 147 m (482'), in the north. Sometimes other smaller hills are considered part of the area as well: the Lysaya hill further northward, the Kirchhof hill to the east, and the Kavelakhtinskaya ridge further to the south (however, all the smaller hills are situated in Leningrad Oblast
Leningrad Oblast
Leningrad Oblast is a federal subject of Russia . It was established on August 1, 1927, although it was not until 1946 that the oblast's borders had been mostly settled in their present position...

 rather than in Saint Petersburg). Since 1992 the Orekhovaya and Voronya hills have been designated as protected natural area (of about 66 ha), divided by Sovetskaya Street of the settlement Mozhaysky into two parts. Nowadays both hills are mostly covered by broadleaf forest
Broadleaf forest
Broadleaf forest can refer to:* Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests* Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests* Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests...

s (with Acer platanoides, Fraxinus excelsior, Tilia cordata
Tilia cordata
Tilia cordata is a species of Tilia native to much of Europe and western Asia, north to southern Great Britain , central Scandinavia, east to central Russia, and south to central Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey, and the Caucasus; in the south of its range it is restricted to...

, Ulmus glabra, Quercus robur, Corylus avellana
Corylus avellana
Corylus avellana, the Common Hazel, is a species of hazel native to Europe and western Asia, from the British Isles south to Iberia, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, north to central Scandinavia, and east to the central Ural Mountains, the Caucasus, and northwestern Iran. It is an important component of...

), very uncommon for the region situated in the taiga
Taiga , also known as the boreal forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests.Taiga is the world's largest terrestrial biome. In North America it covers most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States and is known as the Northwoods...

 belt, and have a peculiar fauna and flora. The steep slopes of the hills and alkaline soils on the limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 bedrock are also notable. For a critically endangered species of weevil
A weevil is any beetle from the Curculionoidea superfamily. They are usually small, less than , and herbivorous. There are over 60,000 species in several families, mostly in the family Curculionidae...

, Otiorhynchus rugosus Humm., this is the only known location in European Russia. This is also the only site in Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast where European Beech
European Beech
Fagus sylvatica, the European Beech or Common Beech, is a deciduous tree belonging to the beech family Fagaceae.-Natural range:...

 is able to overwinter in cultivation, albeit suffering considerable dieback.

The vegetation on the hills hasn't remained intact and has been subject to heavy anthropogenic influence for the last two centuries. In the first half of the 19th century a landscape garden
Landscape garden
The term landscape garden is often used to describe the English garden design style characteristic of the eighteenth century, that swept the Continent replacing the formal Renaissance garden and Garden à la française models. The work of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown is particularly influential.The...

 was laid down on the Orekhovaya hill. During the Siege of Leningrad
Siege of Leningrad
The Siege of Leningrad, also known as the Leningrad Blockade was a prolonged military operation resulting from the failure of the German Army Group North to capture Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg, in the Eastern Front theatre of World War II. It started on 8 September 1941, when the last...

 (1941-1944) the battlefront ran through the hills and they became almost completely deforestated
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

. German artillery positions shelling the city were situated on the Voronya hill. The hills are still a popular ski resort
Ski resort
A ski resort is a resort developed for skiing and other winter sports. In Europe a ski resort is a town or village in a ski area - a mountainous area, where there are ski trails and supporting services such as hotels and other accommodation, restaurants, equipment rental and a ski lift system...

. The surrounding area is totally devoid of forests and mostly built up. The nearest railway station, Mozhayskaya (formerly Duderhof) of the Ligovo-Krasnoye Selo-Gatchina
Gatchina is a town and the administrative center of Gatchinsky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located south of St. Petersburg by the road leading to Pskov...

railroad (constructed in 1859), is situated immediately to the west of the hills.

Further reading

  • Дудергофские высоты – комплексный памятник природы / Ред. Е. А. Волкова, Г. А. Исаченко, В. Н. Храмцов. Saint Petersburg, 2006. ISBN 5201111335.
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