Winter Palace & Hermitage

The Winter Palace

Located near the heart of St. Petersburg on Admiralty Island stands the Winter Palace and all its majesty. As the main residence of the tsars from the 1760s until the uprising of 1917, some of the world’s greatest art is housed within it and the adjoining hermitage buildings totalling some 365 exhibition rooms. There is an exquisite amount to see within these walls, whether it’s grand throne rooms, art from different corners of the Earth and the very bedrooms of the tsars.

Designed by the Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli and built between 1754 and 1762 for Empress Elizabeth, the exterior sides measure up to 200m in length and consists of more than a thousand rooms. Much of the design, however, can be owed to the successors of Elizabeth and Francesco where each tsar added their own flavour and expanded the art and treasure collections.

The Small Hermitage

This adjoining building was built for Catherine II to accomodate her immense art collection and offer her a place of privacy. It’s comprised of two pavillions, two galleriesand an impressive hanging garden in the centre. The Pavillion Hall in particular is an elaborate room illuminated by natural light with a mosaic Roman-style floor. Much of the art here exhibits early Flemish paintings.

The Large Hermitage

This building, adjoining the Small Hermitage, is further divided into two; the Old and New Hermitages. The Old Hermitage was once again built by Catherine II but served as royal lodging after Nicholas I constructed the new building as Russia’s first public museum. The Leonardo Da Vinci Hall in the Old Hermitage holds the only Da Vinci art in Russia, in fact much of the art here is Italian Renaissance and Venetian in origin.

The New Hermitage from the exterior is awe-inspiring in nature. Ten giant Atlantes’ made from granite support the portico upon their shoulders. On display inside is 18th century art from Italy, Spain and others including priceless paintings by Rembrandt.

The Knights’ Hall is one of the most impressive collections of European arms and armour from the 15th up until the 17th century, containing over 8,000 pieces sure to please any medieval enthusiast and admirers of this romantic period.

Also on display on the lower levels are excellent collections of ancient Greek, Roman and even Egyptian art and antiquities. Travel to st Petersburg