Place: Palace SquareOn the map
Construction time: 1754-1762
Architect: Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli
Style: Russian Baroque
Notable features: 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 sculptures on the roof of the building. Sculptures placed there to hide protruding chimneys and it was making the italian architect angry. Inside the Winter Palace there are more than 1,000 rooms, but only a few hundred are open to visiting.
Value: Main residence of the Russian emperors from Catherine II to Nicholas II.
What it is in 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).
What you can see in Hermitage: Ceremonial halls of the Russian emperors, the famous paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael (this is only one place in Russia where you can see the works of these two great painters), the only one in Russia Michelangelo sculpture, Clock Peacock, the largest collection of Rembrandt (including the famous “Danae” which was damaged by the man who splashed an acid on it in 1985 and which was restoring during 10 years).
Interesting fact: In the Hermitage collection there are more than 3 million items. To explore each of them just for one minute, you need to spend about 8 years without rest or sleep to do this.
Misconceptions: The State Hermitage Museum complex includes five buildings connected by passages. The building of the Winter Palace is only one of them. Therefore assert that the Winter Palace and the Hermitage are the same building is incorrect.
Guide recommendations: The visiting of Hermitage should never be combined with sightseeing tour – this entertainment is not for the faint of the heart! The queue to the State Hermitage is a usual case. In it you can wait your turn for several hours. Before going the queue up, decide exactly what you want to see in the Hermitage. Otherwise you will aimlessly wander the museum half an hour, and then you all get tired, and all you can do then is to go and drink cup of coffee. Maybe it’s better to drink a cup of coffee without waiting for this a few hours and go for a walk around the city next? But speaking seriously, Hermitage must be visited no longer than during 3 hours and with a good guide or guidebooks.