Hermitage: the Russian Treasure



Even those people who do not know much about Russia have heard something about the Hermitage. As one of the oldest and largest museums in the world it is well known far beyond the country that hosts it. The State Hermitage museum was founded in 1764 by the empress Catherine the Great and since 1852 has been open to the general public.


Since those days the Hermitage has grown significantly. It includes the largest collection of paintings in the world. Out of its funds of over 3 million items only small part is on public display. The State Hermitage main collections occupy six historical buildings in the central part of St. Petersburg, most famous of them is the Winter Palace, the former residence of the Russian Emperors. The eastern wing of the General Staff Building with its landmark arch that that stands opposite the Winter Palace has been given to the Hermitage as well. Additional museum outlets are also situated in Menshikov Palace and other sites around the city.

The Hermitage collections include numerous masterpieces of classical European painting, jewelry and decorative art, significant exhibition of Egyptian antiquities, Oriental collection and Prehistoric art. But for some visitors even more impressive are the majestic interiors of the Winter Palace and detached buildings. Splendid state rooms of the Russian Emperors followed by much more cozy and elaborate private rooms. The total number of rooms in the Winter Palace is said to be 1500. It is considered by many as one of the most famous wonders of Russia.

The magnificent and imposing General Staff Building designed by Carlo Rossi in the imperial style had been given to the State Hermitage some years ago. The building and the Palace Square with its Alexander Column make a single ensemble with the Winter Palace. It is planned that Imperial Guards Museum will be opened there as a part of the Hermitage funds. 

Menshikov Palace – the residence of a Peter the Great's minister and close friend as well as the first governor of St.Petersburg is also a part of the State Hermitage museum now. It was the most lavishly decorated building in the time of Peter the Great, so the Tzar (who had himself very humble residence) used it for receptions and ambassadors' inaugurations. Its elaborate interiors have been carefully restored and opened for public. A fine collection of 17-18 century Russian art can also be seen inside.



The Imperial Porcelain Factory was established in St.Petersburg in 1744 with the aim to produce finest table wares exclusively for the Russian Imperial Court. It grew in importance during the reign of Catherine the Great and Emperor Paul I and gradually became one of the leading producers of exquisite porcelain in Europe. Nowadays the Museum of Imperial Porcelain is a branch of the State Hermitage.

Not many museums allow visitors in their storage facilities. The Hermitage is one of the exceptions. At the Hermitage's Storage Facility at Staraya Derevnya visitors can see a number of exciting exhibitions including collection of horse-drawn carriages, tapestry collection, open storage of XVI—XIX centuries' furniture, a travelling tent of a Turkish sultan and others.


The program of this tour helps to appreciate the State Hermitage as one of the world's leading museums a real wonder of our days.


Program of the tour: 5 Days/4 Nights


Day 1


Day 2

City tour, including visit to Menshikov Palace. In the afternoon tour to Imperial Porcelain Factory and Museum of Porcelain

Day 3

Morning: tour to the main building of the Hermitage. Interiors of Winter Palace, visit to one of the golden treasuries. The General Staff Building. In the afternoon tour to Catherine's Palace in Pushkin.

Day 4

Fine art collections of the Hermitage, tour of the Palace of Peter the Great, tour of the exhibition of the Hermitage's Storage Facility at Staraya Derevnya

Day 5