The State Hermitage Museum is one of the oldest and largest museums in the world. In 1764 Catherine the Great purchased a collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings and the museum has been open to the public since 1852. Catherine the Great acquired over 4,000 paintings, 38,000 books, 10,000 engraved gems, 10,000 drawings, 16,000 coins and medals, and a natural history collection filling two galleries. Two extensions were built onto the Winter Palace to hold all these cultural wonders.
The buildings of the museum, by themselves, are architectural masterpieces. The collections of the Hermitage number over 3 million items from prehistoric to modern times scattered among six large buildings along the Neva river embankments. Only four of the buildings — the Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage and New Hermitage are open to the public Magnificent works of art embracing prehistoric culture, Egyptian art, the art of Antiquity, Scythian gold, and great collections of Western-European paintings and sculptures are displayed in the 400 halls of the museum. If you tried to spend a full minute viewing every piece of art in the Hermitage, it will take you nine years to make your way through this museum.
Even the outside of the Hermitage is a beautiful sight to behold. The Hermitage once held the largest collection of Rembrandts in the world. «White House at Night» — one of Picasso’s latest paintings, was thought to be lost for decades and was found to be in the Hermitage collection in 1995 — that is how vast this art and antiquities collection is.
During the Hermitage tour in St Petersburg don’t forget to visit special «Golden» and «Brilliant» rooms — you have to buy special tickets to get there and excursions to the rooms are available at specific times. We can help you to discover the treasures of the Hermitage!