Admission to the museum
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Please find below the most famouse museums which are the heritage of the Russian Federation in cultural capital - Saint-Petersburg.
The State Hermitage Museum
The museum was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great as a court museum. 225 pictures of the Dutch and Flemish schools, which were bought by Catherine in Berlin, mark the beginning of the collection. Originally, the museum served as a private gallery for the art amassed by the empress. For displaying the rapidly growing art collections the new buildings, adjacent to the palace, were built during the 18-19th centuries.
The museum was opened for public in 1863. Following the October Revolution of 1917, the imperial collections became public property. At these days, one of the world’s greatest art collections (it numbers over three million items) is housed within 1057 rooms of five interconnected buildings along the Neva river, including the Winter Palace, the Small, Old, and New Hermitages, and the Theatre.
Unfortunately, even their enormous inner space is not enough to house the whole collection, the larger part of which is still kept in storerooms.
The Peter & Paul Fortress
Founded on 27 May 1703 (the date is celebrated by the locals as the city’s birthday) to ward off the enemy raids, the fortress was the city’s very first structure. It never served as a defensive bastion, though, as Peter the Great defeated his enemies before the fortress was completed. Instead, it became a prison, through which passed many political enemies of the Tsars.
The museum complex includes: Peter and Paul Cathedral, Prison Trubetskoy Bastion, Boat House, where an exact copy of Peter’s little boat (often called “the grandfather of the Russian Navy”) is kept, and other buildings. The gilded spire of the Cathedral’s bell tower, with Cross and Angel on the top, is the symbol of St.Petersburg. Built by Tresini in 1722-33, the Cathedral is still city’s tallest building noted for magnificent gilded wooden iconostasis. It was here that in 1725 Peter the Great was buried.
Since then on the Cathedral was the burial place of all the Romanovs, including the last Tsar Nicolas II and the members of his family (all were brutally killed by Bolsheviks in the Urals in 1918). The remains of them were brought to St.Petersburg and buried in the Cathedral in July 1998. The last burial ceremony took place in the fortress in September 2006, when the remains of Maria Fyodorovna, the Denmark-born Nicolas II’s mother (died in Copenhagen in 1928), were reburied in the Cathedral.
Max. number of visitors in a group – no limit
Open: Fortress 10:00 – 22:00
Museums 11:00 - 18:00
Cathedral 11:00 - 18:00
Closed on Wednesdays
Address: 3, Petropavlovskaya Krepost.
The Russian Museum
Founded by Alexander III in 1895 under the name “The imperial museum of Russian art”, the museum was opened for public in 1898. It occupies the Michailovsky Palace built by Karl Rossi in 1819-1825 for Grand Duke Michael. The palace, which is one of the city’s most beautiful buildings, is the ideal place to house the unique world’s largest collection of Russian art. It numbers over 300 000 items, with works ranging from 12thcentury icons to the 19th century pictures by the Itinerants (Russian school of realist painters) and 20thcentury works by Russian avant-garde artists like Chagal, Malevich and Filonov.
Open: 10:00 – 17:00
Closed on Tuesdays
Address: 4/2, Inzhenernaya ulitsa
The nearest metro stations: Gostiny Dvor, Nevsky Prospect.
Fully restored nowadays inside and out, St.Isaac’s is one of the world’s largest and most ornate cathedrals. Built in 1818-1858 to design by Auguste de Montferrand, the cathedral was named in honor of St.Isaac of Dolmatia, on whose day (30 May) the founder of the city Peter the Great was born. It’s 101.5 metres high and accommodates up to 14 thousand people. On the outside the cathedral is decorated with 48 one-piece granite columns and with over 400 statues of the Apostles and the Evangelists. The cathedral’s interiors are adorned with 14 sorts of marble, precious stones (malachite, lazurite, porphyry and many others), gold trim, mosaics and paintings. Prior to October Revolution of 1917 St.Isaac’s was the city’s main cathedral. It was here that in 1901, owing to his sharp criticism at Russian Orthodox Church, Leo Tolstoy was excommunicated. In 1931 the cathedral was converted to a museum. Badly damaged during the 1941-1944 siege of Leningrad (as St.Petersburg was called then)), St.Isaac’s was re-opened for visiting in 1958, though restoration was still in full swing at the time.
Open: 11:00 – 18:00, colonnade 11:00 - 17:00
Closed on Wednesdays
Address: Isaakievskaya ploschad 1
The nearest metro stations: Gostiny Dvor, Nevsky Prospect.
Church of the Savior on the Spilt Blood (The Redemption Church)
Built in 1883-1907, the Cathedral got its awkward name because it was built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was murdered in 1881.This Moscow-style church looks a bit out of the place in the very European part of St.Petersburg, but it is still one of the city’s most beautiful landmarks. The interiors are richly decorated with different sorts of Italian marble and Russian semi-precious stones. The ceiling and the walls are utterly covered with mosaic panels made to designs by outstanding Russian painters. With its total area of some 7000 square meters, this is the world’s largest mosaic. Called sometimes by locals ‘the mosaic church’ because of the rich colors of its onion-shaped domes, it was renovated in the early 1990s and was reopened as a museum in 1997.
Open: 11:00 – 18:00
Closed on Wednesdays
Address: Naberezhnaya kanala Griboedova 2b
The nearest metro stations: Gostiny Dvor, Nevsky Prospect
Alexander Nevsky Monastery
The monastery was founded by Peter the Great in July 1710 in memory of victory of Russian troops under command of the Prince of Novgorod Alexander Nevsky over Swedes (1240). Built by Domenico Trezzini in 1713-1790, it was given the official title of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra (monastery) of the Holy Trinity in 1797. Located in the end of Nevsky prospect, the monastery gave its name to the main street of St.Petersburg. At the turn of the last century the monastery complex included 16 churches, of which five still survive. Holy Trinity Cathedral (built by Ivan Starov’s in 1776-1797) is the centerpiece of the architectural ensemble. Many outstanding Russians are buried on two monastery cemeteries. Dostoevsky and Tchaikovsky are among them (their graves are to the right when walking toward the Cathedral).
Open: 09:30 – 18:00
Closed on Thursdays
Address: 179/2-a, Nevsky prospect.
The nearest metro station: Alexander Nevsky Square
Built in 1710-1727 to Giuseppe Fontana’s design for Alexander Menshikov, the first Governor-General of St.Petersburg, the palace was the city’s first multistoried building. It was also the largest and the most beautiful St.Petersburg’s palace in Peter the Great’s times. For these reasons the palace was the place where receptions of the foreign ambassadors and the famous Peter’s parties (‘assemblies’) took place. Since 1981 it is a branch of the Hermitage, and the beautifully decorated rooms display early 18th century Russian art.
Max number of visitors in a group – 15 persons
Open: 10:30 – 16:00
Closed on Mondays
Address: Universitetskaya nab.3
The nearest metro station: Nevsky Prospect
The Russian Ethnographic Museum
Founded in 1901, the museum is one of the world’s largest ethnographic museums. The unique collection numbers about 450 000 items reflecting way of life and culture of over 150 peoples of Russia. The extensive display of folk costumes, weapons, jewelry, toys and other objects is housed within a neo-classical building built specially for the museum’s needs adjacent to the Michailovsky palace (Russian museum at these days).
Open: 10:00 – 17:00
Closed on Mondays and on the last Friday of every month.
Address: Inzhenernaya ulitsa, 4/1
The nearest metro station: Gostiny Dvor.
Designed by Velen-Delamot in pure classic style, the palace was built in 1760s for the count Shuvalov. In 1830 the palace was purchased by the Yusupovs, one of the richest and most-powerful families in pre-Soviet Russia. Considerably reconstructed in1830s, it became one of St.Petersburg’s most magnificent palaces competing with royal palaces in luxury and elegance. The real pearl of the palace is a cosy family theatre. The palace is noted not only for its splendor, but for the historic event which took place there in December 1916, when a group of plotters, with Felix Yusupov among them, killed Gregory Rasputin, the Royal family’s favorite.
Max number of visitors in a group – 30 persons
Open: daily 12:00 – 16:00
Address: Naberezhnaya reki Moiki 94
The nearest metro stations: Sadovaya, Sennaya
Located 29 km south-west of St. Petersburg, Petrodvorets is widely known as “the capital of fountains” and as one of the world’s most grandiose architectural and park ensembles.
The construction of the tsar’s seaside summer residence was started by Peter the Great in May 1714, when the foundation of the Monplaisir Palace and that of the Upper chambers were laid. In 1747 -1752 the Upper chambers were fully reconstructed and turned, to Rastrelli’s design, into the Grand Palace. Frequently named Peterhof, (“Peter’s yard” in German), the palace gave its name to the whole palace and park complex and to a small nearby town. During WW II Peterhof was badly damaged and a considerable part of the collections displayed in its palaces and pavilions was stolen by Nazis. At these days, due to great restoration that is lasting for over 60 years, very few traces of the war can be noticed there.
In 1944 the German name of the complex and the town was changed, for the evident reason, to Petrodvorets, which is the Russian equivalent for Petrhof.
In accordance with Peter’s wish the residence was planned to compete the splendour of Versailles. Quite evidently, several generations of the most talented architects, engineers and craftsmen made Peter’s wish a magnificent reality.
The Grand Palace and the Grand cascade are uniting the structures of Petrodvorets into a single whole. The façade of the palace is nearly 300 metres long. It is one of the world’ s most interesting history and architecture museums, displaying the unique Russian, West European and Oriental art collections. The grandiose cascade is decorated with 64 fountains, 37 statues, 29 bas-reliefs and over 150 small adornments. Totally, the world’s largest fountain water system of Petrodvorets numbers over 130 fountains.
Built on the sea shore, the Monplaisir Palace was Peter I’s favourite place for giving state receptions. The Hermitage pavilion, as well as Marli pavilion and the Cottage palace, are also worthy visiting.
Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo)
Lying 22 km south of St. Petersburg, the town of Pushkin is one of St.Petersburg’s most famous suburbs. Formerly (from 1728 to 1918) known as Tsarskoye selo (translates from Russian as "village of the tsars"), it grew up around one of the main summer residences of the Russian royal family and is noted for the magnificent Catherine’s Palace and surrounding parks.
Originally commissioned (1717-1723) by Catherine I, Peter the Great’s wife, the palace was later enlarged (1743-48) and rebuilt (1752-57) in the Russian Baroque style by Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The palace and its park, also laid out by Rastrelli, were considerably embellished under Catherine the Great (ruled Russia from 1762 to 1796) by the Scottish architect Charles Cameron.
Deliberately gutted by Germans during World War II (Pushkin was occupied by Germans from 1941 to 1944), the palace, with its world’s famous Amber Room (stolen by Germans during the war the original room is seemingly lost for ever), is an impressive post-WW II reconstruction.
The adjoining Cameron Gallery has a magnificent view of the Catherine Park, and the lake with memorial Column in the centre of it (the column was erected in memory of Russia’s victory over Turkey in the war of 1783).
Right behind the Catherine palace is the Alexander Park with the smaller Alexander Palace, the Nicolas II’s favourite summer palace. It was in the Alexander Palace that in 1917 Nicolas II and his family were kept under arrest by Kerensky government (the royal family was later relocated to the Urals and shot down by Bolsheviks). Both Catherine and Alexander Parks are popular places for airing with residents of St.Petersburg. Immediately adjacent to the main palace is the Lyceum, now converted to a museum in honour of the greatest Russian poet Aleksander Pushkin, who studied at the Lyceum from 1811 to 1817 and for whom the city was renamed in 1937 (at the 100th anniversary of his death).
Smolny convent and Smolny Cathedral
The convent’s name comes from “smola”, which translates from Russian as “tar” (originally, there was the taryard on the site, where the tar for the ships was made in Peter the Great’s times). The convent was designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli and was built in 1748-1764 for the girls of noble birth. In 1764, Russia’s first girls’ school was opened there by the order of Catherine the Great. The nearby neo classical building of Smolny Institute was built for the school in 1806-1808 to Giacomo Quarenghi’s design. In October 1917 the institute was the headquarters of the Petrograd (as St. Petersburg was then called) Soviet, where from Lenin guided the October Revolution.
The blue baroque Smolny Cathedral (Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ the Saviour) is the centrepiece of the convent. It is one of the city’s most beautiful buildings, which houses nowadays a concert and exhibition hall with an exhibition of the Smolny’s history on display.
Open: Cathedral 11:00-17:00
Closed on Thursdays
Address: Ploschad Rastrelli 3
The most refined and stately of all the palaces and mansions on the Nevsky prospect, it was built by Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1752-1754 for the count Stroganov, the member of one of Russia’s richest and most-powerful families and an art connoisseur. The Stroganovs’ collection of West European and Russian paintings was one of the best private collections in pre-Soviet Russia. After October revolution of 1917 the palace was converted to a museum. It is now a branch of the Russian Museum and houses various temporary exhibitions.
Open: 10:00 - 17:00 Mon 10:00 - 16:00
Address: Nevsky prospect 17