The former residence of Russian tsars, and now the museum complex Hermitage is the most famous historical and cultural landmark of our country. Visiting the museum will be interesting for any person: a variety of expositions allows each tourist to find a topic of interest to him.
In the middle of the XVIII century on the banks of the Neva was built a beautiful Winter Palace. The location of the building was chosen not accidentally, it is located opposite the Peter and Paul Fortress, where the first stone of the future St. Petersburg was laid. This building became the residence of the royal family. In 1764, Catherine the Great returned a long-standing debt, stretching from the time of Yuri Dolgoruky. Returned not money, not gold, but priceless canvases of Dutch and Flemish artists. Pictures hung in the halls of the Winter Palace, and the Empress was carried away by collecting masterpieces of painting. The collection grew, in one building for her already lacked space. Two more buildings were added to the Winter Palace: the Small Hermitage and the Great Hermitage. Catherine’s case was continued by Alexander I, and later by Nicholas I. In 1852 he decides that the world’s masterpieces should be available to all those who wish to see it, and open the exposition to the public. Until this time, only the elected guests of the imperial family could see the paintings.
To admire canvases was not possible even to A. S. Pushkin.
After 1917 the museum was replenished with new exhibits and collections, then lost some of the priceless treasures for economic and political reasons. During the Great Patriotic War, about 2 million exhibits were evacuated from the Hermitage. After the victory, the exposition returned to its place intact and intact.
It is advisable to begin acquaintance with the Hermitage by examining the facades of buildings. Even without taking into account the treasures stored there, the architecture of the complex makes it possible to attribute it to objects of cultural heritage. Go to the Palace Square, from here the eyes of tourists open 5 buildings that are part of the museum ensemble:
- The Winter Palace of the architect Rastrelli, built in the Baroque style. Here are the ceremonial halls and living quarters of the imperial family.
- The Grand Hermitage of the architect Felten, Baroque style.
- The small Hermitage with the Hanging Garden and 2 pavilions was built in the classicism style, to link the Winter Palace with other buildings.
- The new Hermitage was erected by the architect Klenze in the Neo-Greek style. The building was built on the orders of Nicholas I for public displays.
- The Hermitage Theater of the architect Quarenghi in the style of classicism, built on the foundation of the first residence of Peter the Great.
These buildings are only part of the Hermitage. In other parts of the city there are objects that are also part of the museum ensemble. If you have time, be sure to visit:
- The “Staraya Derevnya” depository, which will familiarize tourists with the work of the restoration workshops and with exhibits that are not exhibited in the museum.
- East wing of the General Staff Building. Here is an exposition of painting of the XIX-XX centuries.
- Menshikov Palace with the exhibitions of the cultural heritage of the XVIII century
- Museum of the porcelain factory. Here you can get acquainted with the history of porcelain production in Russia and see the services, figurines and other products produced by the orders of the imperial family.
It is impossible to inspect all buildings and their expositions in one day. If you want to carefully examine all the buildings and exhibits interesting to you without haste, so plan on a tour for at least 4-5 days.
Do not forget to insert a large memory card into the camera, there will be a lot of pictures to be regretted that they did not take two.
If the cats meet in the Hermitage or near the building, you need to treat them with respect. It’s not just domestic animals, but official museum staff, guarding exhibits from rodents. Each of them has a passport and a veterinary certificate. This tradition was initiated by Catherine the Great, and since then, honest bounty hunters have saved us unique masterpieces.
What to see in the Hermitage
Note that for this you need to go 24 km
The facades are inspected, it’s time to go to the museum. The mistake of many initial visitors is the desire to see all the exhibits in one visit. Note that for this you need to go 24 km, and still need time to inspect, read explanatory inscriptions. Of course, you can quickly run through all the halls, but you will not get the pleasure of such an “excursion”. It is better to understand in advance where and what exposures are located, and follow the planned route.
Only at first glance it seems that the exhibits are located chaotically. In the device of expositions there is a simple and understandable system. Interesting treasures are found on any floor, but each tier is dedicated to a specific topic:
- The first floor is dedicated to ancient culture. Here you can get to know the life, art and religion of Greece and Egypt, Asia, Siberia and India to see archaeological finds.
- The second floor opens with a suite of ceremonial halls, which demonstrated to the guests of the emperor the strength and power of Russia. Here you can see the interiors of the living rooms of the royal family. Lovers of applied art, magnificent furnishings of rooms, statues, exclusive furniture will linger in this part of the palace for a long time.
- The third floor will please connoisseurs of painting. Here is a magnificent collection of paintings. Cloths of the most famous artists adorn the walls of the halls of the palace.
Let’s move on to individual rooms and exhibits. The Hermitage business card is the “Peacock” clock, which is located in the pavilion hall. The mechanism was assembled 2.5 centuries ago, but it still works. Not only clock hands moved, but also figurines of birds, while the sounds of bells chime off. At 19 o’clock the inspector starts the mechanism, the clock starts ringing, the peacock spreads its tail. Be sure to look and other unique treasures of the museum:
- Knight’s Hall with statues of knights and battle horses. Children and men will really like the collection of uniforms, weapons and other items dedicated to the heroic warriors.
- Library of Nicholas II. The interior is made in the Gothic style, the center of the exposition is a fireplace with royal emblems. The hall is furnished with carved furniture of dark wood, with which the leather of book bindings, decorated with embossing, perfectly harmonizes.
- The picture “Danae”. Even those who are indifferent to painting, will be interested in the history of this painting. In 1985, a mentally ill visitor splashed ink on the canvas and almost completely destroyed Rembrandt’s masterpiece. After 20 years of restoration, the picture returned to the gallery, but now it is protected by glass.
Tips for visitors
People who visit the Hermitage museum for the first time often face many domestic and organizational problems. If you follow simple rules, the tour will pass without annoying misunderstandings.
In order not to waste time remember the schedule of the museum:
- The day off – Monday;
- Wednesday and Friday – from 10:30 to 21 hours;
- The first Thursday of the month – from 10-30 to 17 hours, admission is free;
- Other days – from 10-30 to 18 hours.
Do not be afraid of the complaints appearing on the websites on the multi-hour lines in the museum. If you plan the visit correctly, you can significantly reduce the tedious standing in the pouring rain or scorching sun. The biggest influx of visitors is during school holidays and long weekends. If you come in autumn or spring, you can not see the line at all. The first Thursday of each month and December 7 are days of free visits. There are a lot of people wishing to visit the museum these days, it will take several hours to wait. Decide for yourself that it’s better to save: time or money.
Often, congestion arises from the lack of places in the wardrobe. It is better to choose the day when the weather allows you to walk to the Hermitage without outer clothing. Think about whether you want to spend the whole day in the Hermitage or to inspect certain exposures in 2-3 hours. In the first case, come in the morning on days when the museum is open until 21 hours. In the second it is better to come about the afternoon, when the bulk of visitors leave the building.
The cost of tickets depends on what objects you want to visit. Ticket price:
- All objects – 700 rubles;
- To the Hermitage – 400 rubles;
- For other objects of the museum complex – 300 rubles;
- Gold or Diamond pantry – an additional 300 rubles;
A ticket for visiting all objects is valid for 1 day. It’s impossible to inspect the whole complex for such a time, it’s better to buy a ticket to the Hermitage for 400 rubles. In the Hermitage ticket office, usually a large queue, it’s better to go to General Staff Building or buy tickets via the Internet.
How to navigate the museum
At the entrance there is a cloakroom where you can hang your outerwear and items of clothing. Do not rush to consider the exhibits as soon as you undress. A person without sufficient skill can get lost in the labyrinths of the palace in the first half hour. Take the map at the entrance, consider it, mark the places which you need to visit and schedule a route.
Audioguide will help you orient yourself the halls, you can take it for 350 rubles near the cloakroom. If you can’t find the desired object yourself, contact the museum staff. They are almost in every hall and they are ready to help you to find the way.
You can photograph the exhibits, but the photo-flash is forbidden. Not all the halls are sufficiently illuminated to make photos of good quality. Visitors have the opportunity to make high-quality photo-shooting for a fee.
Excursionist is an ordinary person, who needs to eat, drink, rest and go to the toilet several times a day. All these issues were resolved in the museum. If your legs are tired, sit on one of the benches that are in all the corridors and halls. In the halls of the museum it is forbidden to eat, if you are hungry, go down to the buffet on the first floor. Toilets are easy to find: they are located near the stairs on each floor. If you can’t find a toilet, do not hesitate to ask for help from the museum staff. They will understand your problem and show you the nearest way.
The Hermitage is accessible for wheelchair users. The museum has ramps and other auxiliaries. If you have any problems, ask for help from the nearest museum staff.
Visitors to the Hermitage often want to buy various souvenirs. After visiting the museum you will find a lot of interesting things on the ground floor, but prices can unpleasantly surprise you. If you want to save money – books, posters and other souvenirs can be bought at street kiosks, but the goods may be of poor quality.
How long will it take to visit?
Time to inspect the Hermitage museum depends on what you are interested to see. Standard tour lasts 4 hours, if it is led by a guide who knows the way. The amateur will need 6 hours to go on the same route. In advance, decide what you want to see in the museum. Connoisseurs of painting can stand almost half an hour beside each masterpiece. A person who is not interested in pictures during this time will go through the whole gallery. Carefully consider the floor plans, mark the interesting expositions and go on an exciting excursion, in that case you will have time to inspect all the important exhibits for the day. If you have free time, and do not want to leave the museum, you can freely roam through unfamiliar halls. Even an ordinary trip through the labyrinths of the palace will give any person great pleasure, and the unusual exhibits encountered on the way will make you forget about fatigue.
In the review article it is impossible to tell even about the hundredth part of all the wonders of the Hermitage. Visit the amazing museum yourself or book an excursion, and the impressions of what you see will not be forgotten until the end of life. The most correct opinion was expressed by a five-year-old girl, leaving the museum: “I want to live here to see beautiful and interesting exhibits every day.”
The Hermitage is the most important museum in Russia. More than 200 years it was the royal residence and during the tour of the complex you will see all the luxury of the interiors of that time.
Three-hour tour with a personal guide to the ancient residence of Russian tsars – what could be more majestic and exciting? You will see the throne on which Nikolai the First sat, Rembrant’s Cloths and Egyptian mummies. The Winter Palace impresses with its wealth and luxury, and our guide will pleasantly surprise you with its knowledge in the history of Russia and not only.