Destination Museum: State Hermitage Museum & Winter Palace
The State Hermitage is an arts and cultural museum complex that is located in St. Petersburg, Russia. It’s considered to be one of the largest, oldest and most famous museums on the planet. In fact, it has coined its’ presence in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest collection of paintings in the world. The museum was founded in the year 1764 by Catherine the Great, and it has been open to public since the year 1852.
The main complex consists of several buildings including the famous Winter Palace (which was built in 1754-1762 and was the official winter residence of Russian emperors), and the Small Hermitage (which was built in 1764-1775 and was the private palace of Catherine the Great). Apart from these two, there are many other buildings in Saint Petersburg which belong to State Hermitage. They include; the buildings of the Small, the Auxiliary House, Old Hermitage, New Hermitage, and the Hermitage Theater.
The museum’s exhibitions, storerooms, services and departments are housed in about 10 buildings, and 7 of them are monuments of the 18th and the 19th Century Russian culture. The Winter Palace which comprises the main collections of the museum has over 1, 057 rooms and halls. Today, the State Hermitage, houses over 3 million items including a sculpture by Michael Angelo, paintings by Leonardo da Vinci as well as the largest collection of the Rembrandt’s paintings outside Netherlands.
The State Hermitage museum is especially strong when it comes to Italian Renaissance, French Impressionist paintings, and outstanding collections of works by Matisse and Picasso. When you visit State Hermitage Museum & Winter Palace in St Petersburg, Russia, you should also take advantage of its’ excellent Roman and Greek antiquities collection, and its’ exhibits of Central Asian and Siberian art.
The State Hermitage museum itself is also a great attraction, with its’ fine interior decorations and the exquisite baroque architecture. Views from windows to Peter and Paul Fortress, and Neva River is another reason why you should consider visiting this magnificent place.
Best Time of the Year to Visit The State Hermitage
The best time to visit this incredible museum is during winter and during spring, when there are few people. However, if you want to visit in the summer, between May and September, are the best times to do it. With that said, you should consider going to the museum in the middle of the day, when the tour groups are having their lunch.