These were the exclamations that kept coming out of my mouth — to myself, out loud — as I walked from room to shining room of the Winter Palace, former residence of Russian emperors and now home to one of the greatest art museums ever. The Hermitage, according to multiple sources, is actually the largest art collection in the world, boasting more than 3 million pieces from Antiquity to Modernity spread over six buildings. Four hours and a dead camera battery later, I felt like I barely scratched the surface. Rembrandt, Rubens, Picasso, Van Gogh — at times the collection seemed literally endless.

But, magnificent as they were, it wasn’t the paintings themselves that had my mouth gasping and my head spinning; it was the palace proper. Rooms of gold and scarlet, tables and vases carved of solid malachite and lapis lazuli, walls and ceilings decorated top to bottom with exquisite Italian frescoes…I will let you see for yourself. One of the things that struck me as I wandered around these magnificent halls was how empty the place seemed. Despite its richesse, the Hermitage is only the 13th most visited art museum in the world. Not quite surprising, considering its fairly remote location, and while probably not great from the commercial standpoint, it makes for a highly relaxed and enjoyable experience for those who do visit the place.

The rooms and halls of the Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum

Select artwork of the Hermitage

Pieces that caught my eye. The Diamond Rooms were a highlight, featuring several thousands of years of Russian jewelry, including a horse blanket embroidered with thousands of diamonds. A HORSE BLANKET.

The Palace Square

The red granite Alexander Column (the tallest of its kind on the world, standing without foundation and grounded entirely by its own weight), the Winter Palace, bow-shaped General Staff building and additional Hermitage buildings.



    • I dont even know what is possible to see there in an hour. I felt like I needed a whole day at least, but bc I slacked off the first 2.5 days in the city, I had yet to make Kunstkamera before catching the train back

  1. Pingback: A TALE OF TWO CITIES | Home & Away

  2. I’m sure you knew I’d be drawn in because of the title, but it’s interesting to see the comparison. I think on my 10-faux birthday, if we end up in Moscow, I’ll be happy with it, instead of going to St. Pete’s.

  3. O;G my eyes hurt and wow! What a beautiful palace and so opulent too. You lucky thing. I would have loved to wander the corridors and slide my gloved hand acrossed the art-inscriped piano, the marbled urns, the diamond encrusted jewels, the……! Stop me now. Pleeeeeeease!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s