The Hermitage


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The vast Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, Russa contains one of the world’s greatest art collections. The main complex comprises five separate buildings, including the opulent 18th-century Winter Palace, with a total of 360 rooms. Even without the artwork, touring the spectacular Winter Palace is worth the price of admission.

After taking a shuttle bus from the Princess Anastasia ferry to St. Isaac’s Square, we checked into our hotel, picked up a local SIM card, and spent the rest of the afternoon hitting the highlights of the Winter Palace and the extensive Hermitage collection.

Below are trip highlights from May 24th, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

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St. Isaac’s Cathedral
Imposing 18th-century St. Isaac’s Cathedral is a top sight in St. Petersburg. We’ll be visiting in two day’s time and for now are just passing by while walking to our hotel from the shuttle bus drop-off near St. Isaac’s Square.
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Admiralty Tower
The Admiralty Tower, the headquarters of the Navy, viewed from Alexandra Garden’s.
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Winter Palace
The opulent Winter Palace, completed in 1761, is now home to the world-famous Hermitage museum. Once we check into our hotel and drop off our bags, we’ll be spending the rest of the day here exploring the vast collection.
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Stroganov Palace
St. Petersburg is a beautiful city of grand buildings and palaces, and reminded us very much of Paris. This is the Stroganov Palace, built in the mid 18th-century for the richest family in Russia. Their chef created a meat dish served with a sauce of sour cream and mushrooms that became known all over the world as “Beef Stroganoff”.
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Kazan Cathedral
The 364-ft (111m) colonnaded arms of Kazan Cathedral wrap around a lovely garden on Nevsky Prospect.
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Megafon
At Megafon to pickup a data SIM card. At just over €4 for 40 gig, it’s by far the cheapest data we’ve ever purchased.
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M Hotel
Redistributing our gear in our room at the M Hotel. We were travelling with just two knapsacks, and transferred our essentials to a medium-sized fanny pack to travel light while touring the city and attractions.

A hotel nearer to St. Isaac’s Square would have been better, but none were available, and this one worked out well. We chose the M Hotel because it was convenient to the metro line, but ended up deciding to walk everywhere instead.

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Library
The National Library of Russia, established in St. Petersburg in 1795, is Russia’s oldest public library and its first national library.
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Catherine the Great Monument
Monument to Catherine the Great, the ruler of Russia from 1762 to 1796. She came to power after organizing a coup that overthrew her husband, Peter III. Her reign was considered Russia’s Golden Age, a period of great expansion of the Empire and the adoption of the ideals of the Enlightenment.
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Anichkov Most
With rivers and canals running throughout the city, St. Petersburg has many bridges. Anichkov Bridge, built in 1841-1842 with its famous horse sculptures on each corner, is among the most well-known.
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McDonald’s
We grabbed a quick lunch at McDonald’s on our way to the Hermitage. All the signs were in Russian, but they had placards we could point out what we wanted on, and the staff also spoke reasonable English.
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Malaya Sadovaya St
Pedestrian mall on Malaya Sadovaya St lined with fountains, cafes and terraces.
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Singer Building
The Singer Sewing Machine Company opened a factory in St. Petersburg in 1904 and erected this distinctive Art Nouveau building, topped with a glass dome and sculpture, as their headquarters.
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Moyka River
Looking north along the Moyka River from Nevsky Prospekt, the main street in St. Petersburg. As in Amsterdam, canal tours are popular here.
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General Staff Building
Passing through the arch in the General Staff Building, a massive structure with a 1,900ft (580m) facade and one of the most famous buildings in St. Petersburg.
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Palace Square
The Alexander Column in Palace Square was erected in 1834 to commemorate Russia’s 1812 victory over Napoleon. It is named for Emperor Alexander I who ruled from 1801-1825. Beyond the column is the Winter Palace with a stage being setup out front as part of the St. Petersburg Day celebrations that will take place in three days on Monday May 27th.
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Triumphal Arc
Looking back to the Triumphal Arc connecting the two wings in the General Staff Building. The arc is a monument to Russia’s victory in the War of 1812 against Napoleon’s invading forces.
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Jordan Staircase
We spent most of the rest of the day in the vast Hermitage museum, containing one of the world’s greatest art collections. The main complex comprises five separate buildings, including the Winter Palace, with a total of 360 rooms. To ensure we hit the highlights, we followed Lonely Planet’s “Half-Day Tour”, which got us through the major exhibits and points of interest in the time we had.

The tour starts at the spectacular Jordan Staircase, the main staircase to the Winter Palace.

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Hall of Peter the Great
The Hall of Peter the Great, also known as the Small Throne Room, was created in the Winter Palace as a memorial to Peter I.
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Nicholas Hall
Nicholas Hall, also called the Great Hall, is the largest room in the Winter Palace and could support 5,000 guests.
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Great Church
The dazzling Great Church, following a major renovation in 2014.
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St. George’s Hall
St. George’s Hall in the Winter Palace is a spectacular room with white Carrara marble imported from Italy and wooden floors made from 16 different kinds of trees. The imperial throne used to sit in these former staterooms.
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Academic Library
The Hermitage Academic Library is housed in this wonderful Gothic library, believed to have been created in 1762 when Catherine the Great established a position of librarian for her book collection.
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Golden Drawing Room
The Golden Drawing Room, with a gilt ceiling and marble fireplace, was part of the private apartments of Tsar Alexander II.
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Lady in Blue
The spectacular Winter Palace tends to overshadow the Hermitage’s art, but it does have a great collection. This is Portrait of a Lady in Blue by Thomas Gainsborough, considered among the best British portrait artist’s of the period 1750-1800.
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Infant Hercules Strangling Serpents
Infant Hercules Strangling Serpents by Sir Joshua Reynolds was commissioned by Catherine the Great in 1785.
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Peacock Clock
The wonderful Peacock Clock in the ornate Pavilion Hall was a gift to Catherine the Great in 1781 from Griory Potemkin. As the hour strikes, the peacock spreads its wings and the surrounding animals come to life. Here’s a video showing the clock in detail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilPlVRoUl_8.
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Loggia of Raphael
Catherine the Great commissioned the Loggia of Raphael as a copy of a Vatican gallery.
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The Lute Player
The Lute Player, painted in 1596 by Italian master Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
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State Staircase
The somber State Staircase in the Winter Palace.
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Knight’s Hall
Knight’s Hall in the Winter Palace contains a collections of weapons and armaments that Nicholas I collected from around the world, including four 16th-century armored German knights and steeds.
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St Sebastian Cured by St Irene
St Sebastian Cured by St Irene painted in 1628 by Spanish artist Jusepe de Ribera.
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Return of the Prodigal Son
The Hermitage has 26 paintings by Rembrandt, including the Return of the Prodigal Son, painted between 1663 and 1665 at the height of his talent.
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Council Staircase
The light-filled Council Staircase, adorned with a malachite vase created at the Imperial Yekaterinburg Lapidary Works in 1841–42.
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Ancient Egypt
Jennifer has long been interested in Ancient Egypt and was excited to visit the Hermitage’s extensive display.
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Mummy
Mummy of a priest from the 7th century BC in the Hermitage’s Ancient Egypt hall.
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Jupiter
Huge marble statue of Jupiter, one of over 100,000 items in the Hermitages’ Greek and Roman antiquities collection.
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River Neva
A great view southwest to the River Neva from the second floor of the Hermitage. At the far left is the gold dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, with the Admiralty Tower just to the right.
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Swords
Display of 19th-century swords and sabres in the Hermitage’s Oriental and Middle Eastern collection.
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St. Petersburg Day
Hundreds of singers performing outside the General Staff Building as part of the St. Petersburg Day celebrations. The city will be 316 years old on Monday, May 27th.
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Marble Staircase
The General Staff Building houses the Hermitage’s Impressionist and post-Impressionist collection. This striking marble staircase, that doubles as an amphitheatre, leads through a light-filled atrium to the galleries.
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Roberto Matta
Hall dedicated to the works of Roberto Matta, one of Chile’s most famous painters and a pioneer of 20th century abstract expressionist and surrealist art.
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Dance with Veils
Dance with Veils, a good example of Picasso’s cubist work and one of over thirty paintings by the artist in the Hermitage’s collection.
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Portrait of the Artist’s Wife
Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, one of nearly 40 paintings by 20th-century artist Matisse, a leader of the Fauvist movement that emphasized strong colors and visible brush strokes.
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Goose Goose
After a long and exciting day, we had an excellent meal at a window table in second-floor Goose Goose. The restaurant was filled with dramatic photos of principal dancers with St. Petersburg’s famous Mariinsky ballet company.
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Vsconti
As we returned back to our hotel after dinner, we passed several bands playing street-side. This band was quite good.
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Dom Basina
The striking bright pink Dom Basina building near our hotel was completed in the late 1800s in the neo-Russian style at the home for architect N.P. Basin.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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One comment on “The Hermitage
  1. filo says:

    very cool.

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