Many tourists come to St Petersburg simply to visit the Hermitage, one of the world’s great museums which celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2014.
Visiting all of its' 350 exhibition rooms would entail a walk of over 10 km and it was once calculated that to undertake the feat of glancing, just momentarily, at every item would take over 9 years to accomplish.
The Hermitage houses amazing examples of Italian High Renaissance art, as well as unrivalled collections of paintings by Rembrandt, the extensive collection of Dutch and Flemish masters - not to mention fabulous treasures from Siberia and Central Asia, Egyptian and classical antiquities, and Persian and Chinese artworks, among many many others.
In addition, there are the interiors of the Winter Palace itself, with its sumptuous state rooms, where the Tsars once held court and the Provisional Government was arrested by the Bolsheviks.
The sheer opulence of these rooms must be seen to be believed and to stand in the middle of them, trying to soak up their rich and at times tumultuous history will be, we trust, one of life’s unforgettable experiences.
Because of its sheer size it is all too easy to get lost and become overwhelmed and tire before you have seen all that must be seen and this is exactly where our guides can help you. And please don't forget about our “early entry” arrangement with this museum, together we will beat the queues and the crowds!
Just some of our tour highlights
Rembrandt’s masterpiece “The Return of the Prodigal Son” one of his last canvases and “Dande” with its tragic story of having been slashed and then defaced with acid by a deranged visitor in 1985.
The Peacock Clock, a miracle of craftsmanship by the English Jeweller James Coxe, once belonging to Catherine the Great’s lover Potemkin. On the rare occasions that the peacock “performs” it spreads it’s tail as a cockerel crows and a mushroom rotates in surreal accompaniment. This famous icon is rumored to have saved the Hermitage Museum from destruction during WWII and the catastrophic 900 day siege of Leningrad.
Two magical works of Leonardo Da Vinci are on display - “Madonna Benois” and “Madonna Litta” a later and much accomplished work depicting the Virgin suckling the infant Jesus. Works by Titian that he “never planned to sell” and one of his last works completed when he was over 90 years old are also on display.
The Winter Palace Staterooms, which are as memorable as anything on display in the Hermitage Museum, are a sight to be seen as well. The rooms are glittering with gold leaf and enormous crystal chandeliers, and boasting acres of marble. They have witnessed everything from imperial gala balls to declarations of war.
Ultimately this is only a taste of what our wonderful tour of St Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace has to offer you and for, further, more in depth reading may we suggest the following link: http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/
So please, place yourself in the experienced hands of our passionate and knowledgable guides, who, through interesting stories, facts and some myths will bring this amazing building, and all it contains, to life for you…
And thus avoid the all too familiar feeling of having missed something important but have already reached that threshold whereby you simply can’t take in anymore.