Place: Palace Square
Construction time: 1754-1762
Architect: Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli
Style: Russian Baroque
Remarkable features: The building is decorated with abundant moldings, columns and pilasters with ornamental purposes only. Numerous images of human faces and animal snouts have no symbolic meaning, as well as the sculptures on the roof of the building. The Italian architect decided to place that sculptures to hide protruding chimneys that were making him angry. Inside the Winter Palace, there are more than 1,000 rooms, but only a few hundred of them are open to the public.
Value: The main residence of the Russian emperors from Catherine II to Nicholas II.
Our days: The main building of the State Hermitage Museum, the largest museum in Russia and the fourth largest museum in the world (after the British Museum, the Louvre in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum in New York).
Highlights of Hermitage: Ceremonial halls of the Russian emperors, famous paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael (the only place in Russia where you can see their works); the single sculpture by Michelangelo in Russia and Peacock Clock; the largest collection of Rembrandt, including the famous “Danae” which was damaged by the man. He splashed an acid on it in 1985 and its restoration took 10 years.
Interesting fact: There are more than 3 million items in the Hermitage collection. To look at each of them for just one minute, you need to spend about 8 years without rest or sleep.
Wrong belief: The State Hermitage Museum complex includes five buildings connected by passages. The building of the Winter Palace is only one of them. Therefore, it’s incorrect to tell that the Winter Palace and the Hermitage are the same building.
Guide recommendations: You should never combine the visiting of Hermitage with a sightseeing tour – this entertainment is not for the faint of the heart! It is a usual thing, to spend several hours standing in line to the Hermitage Museum. Therefore, it is better to decide earlier what you want to see in the Hermitage. Otherwise, you will aimlessly wander the museum for half an hour, and then, tired, you will go to drink a cup of coffee. Maybe it is better to drink a cup of coffee without waiting for a few hours and continue walking around the city? However, to be serious, it is better not to spend more than 3 hours in the Hermitage and to go there with a good guide or guidebook.