From Palace to State Hermitage Museum

When we first came to St. Petersburg last summer, the question we most often heard was, "Have you been to the Hermitage yet?" Being new in the city, we didn't have any idea what that was. Now we know.

The Winter Palace of the Tzars, on the shore of the Neva River, is now the Hermitage, the largest museum in Russia. Catherine the Great was the Empress who first started collecting art for this museum in 1794. The Tsars added to their collection year after year and opened it to the public in 1852.

The collection outgrew it's original space in the Old Hermitage until today when it covers six buildings in the main museum plus other buildings for storage of items not on display. If you would spend 1 minute per each item - 8 hours per day - it would take 15 years to see everything in the entire museum.

A drawing of the six buildings of the Hermitage as seen from the Neva River

Gold embellished stairs
We spent about three hours in the Hermitage on one day, so far. The following pictures are some of the things we saw. I'm sure we'll go again sometime.
Entrance to the Palace

Painting of Catherine the Great 

Painting of Nicholas II
Decorative gazebo inside museum 

Beautiful room of wood parquet

Library outfitted in dark wood 


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