St. Petersburg's most popular visitor attraction, and one of the world's largest and most prestigious museums, the Hermitage is a must-see for all first-time travellers to the city. With over 3 million items in its collection, it also definitely rewards repeat visits, and new-comers can only hope to get a brief taste of the riches on offer here, from Impressionist masterpieces to fascinating Oriental treasures. One estimate has it that you would need eleven years to view each exhibit on display for just one minute, so many visitors prefer to organize a guided tour to ensure they have time to catch all the collection's highlights. Art aficionados, however, may find it more rewarding to seek out for themselves the works that they are particularly interested in.
The bulk of the Hermitage collection is housed in the Winter Palace, formerly the official residence of the Romanov Tsars, and its several annexes. However, there are a number of other sites that constitute part of the Hermitage, including the recently opened Storage Facility in the north of St. Petersburg, which offers guided tours through some of the museum's vast stocks. Our guide to visiting the Hermitage is designed to help you find your way around this enormous collection, with a detailed tour of the main site and individual information on each of the affiliated museums.
|Winter Palace and Main Museum Complex|
Housing the heart of the collection, including the Hermitage's renowned masterpieces of Western European Art, this is unquestionably the main attraction for visitors, and it draws about 2.5 million of them per year. ›››
|General Staff Building|
This magnificent neoclassical building opposite the Winter Palace contains a number of exhibitions, mostly of applied art, as well as a Museum of Guards Regiments, and regular temporary exhibitions. ›››
|Winter Palace of Peter I|
Long thought to have been destroyed, Peter the Great's original Winter Palace was partly unearthed by archeologists in the 1980s beneath the Hermitage Theatre's stage. The rooms that were left have now been restored. ›››
One of St. Petersburg's oldest buildings, this charming mansion, built for Peter the Great's closest adviser, has been fully restored to its original glory, drawing on the Hermitage's vast stocks of applied art from the early 18th century. ›››
|Museum of Porcelain|
Part of the world-famous Imperial Porcelain Factory, this modern museum has recently been taken under the wing of the Hermitage, and traces the history of porcelain and glassware manufacture in Russia and the Soviet Union. ›››
|Storage Facility at Staraya Derevnya|
This extraordinary facility, which is still being developed, gives public access to the Hermitage's enormous undisplayed collection using innovative 'open storage' techniques. A chance for connoisseurs to delve even deeper into the Hermitage's remarkable collection. ›››
One of the oldest theatres in Russia, dating from the reign of Catherine the Great, this elegant and historical performance space is used both for lectures and seminars, and for classical music and ballet performances. ›››