Palace Square - Hermitage
Spend a day exploring the outstanding art and artifacts displayed in over 400 exhibit halls of the Hermitage Museum. This institution was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and today holds over 3 million items, making it one of the world’s oldest and largest museums.
The museum is spread across five buildings along the Palace Embankment. As you explore, notice the Baroque and Neoclassic majesty of these buildings, many of which once served as royal residences.
Begin your tour in the Winter Palace, one of the country’s finest Baroque buildings. Peruse exhibitions of art from nomadic tribes and look for the world’s oldest surviving knotted-pile carpet before taking a tour of Scythian and Sarmatian goldwork exhibits.
Browse exhibits of Greek pottery from the 5th century B.C. and Roman marble from the 2nd century. Explore rooms adorned with Italian Renaissance pieces by Titian and Da Vinci or Flemish-age Baroque works by Ruben and Rembrandt.
Stop by Pavilion Hall in the Small Hermitage, which features a spectacular interior that’s an attraction in its own right. See the 18th-century golden Peacock Clock and an impressive collection of mosaics. Pass through the Room of the Great Vase to see the Kolyvan Vase, an 8-foot (3-meter) piece made from Altai jasper that was installed before the room was erected.
Admire the grand design of the General Staff Building, which has a triumphal arch that was built between 1819 and 1829. Notice the arch is topped with an imposing 33-foot (10-meter) tall bronze statue of the deity Victory driving a six-horse chariot. The building served as the army headquarters and the ministries of foreign affairs and finance during czarist rule.
Don’t miss the State Hermitage Theatre, which was built between 1783 and 1787 by the Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi. Ballets and concerts are still performed here, so consider attending a show during your visit.
Get to the Hermitage Museum in central St. Petersburg by metro or bus. The museum is open daily except Mondays and charges admission.
Take your time discovering the treasures of one of the world’s most famous museums.