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The Hermitage Museum is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg. It is the second largest art museum in the world, it was founded in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great acquired an impressive collection of paintings from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky. It has been open to the public since 1852. It has been said that if you wanted to see everything inside the museum it would take you over eleven years. This is just what I saw on our two hour tour.
We start our tour around the Hermitage from the 2nd floor, I would recommend going there through the Main staircase of the Hermitage, where you feel the power and majesty of the palace which used to impress the Imperial guests and will amaze you, too. It is so beautiful.
We saw art and collections from the following;
- Russian Culture
- Palace Interiors
- France 15th to 18th Centuries
- Dutch Netherlands
- Early Netherlandish Art
- Western European Medieval Art
- Western European Arms And Armour
- The Great Church Of The Winter Palace
- Ancient Russia
The collections comprise over three million items and occupy a large complex of six historic buildings along Palace Embankment, including the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors. Apart from them, the Menshikov Palace, Museum of Porcelain, Storage Facility at Staraya Derevnya, and the eastern wing of the General Staff Building are also part of the museum.
Of the six buildings in the main museum complex, five namely the Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, New Hermitage, and Hermitage Theatre are open to the public. The entrance ticket for foreign tourists costs more than the fee paid by citizens of Russia and Belarus. However, entrance is free of charge the first Thursday of every month for all visitors, and free daily for students and children. The museum is closed on Mondays. The entrance for individual visitors is located in the Winter Palace, accessible from the Courtyard. There are no lifts in this building and to explore this place you could easily get lost. I would recommend booking a tour guide online, who could make your tour flow better. I struggled inside due to all the walking but I am glad I did this. The Hermitage is a beautiful and amazing place to explore and see some amazing things.