The State Hermitage Museum was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 when she purchased her first collection of paintings. However the museum was officially opened to the public in 1852 and now it is one of the most important and oldest museums in the world.
The Hermitage Museum also has one of the largest collections of paintings in the world and is considered to be one of the most popular attractions in St Petersburg. As in any other museum we will buy a ticket for you well in advance for any of our tours in St Petersburg and there will be no need to stand in line (which is quite long in the summer time).
It is said that if you spent one minute viewing each exhibit of the Hermitage Museum it would take you a full 11 years to see everything. On Wednesday’s the museum is open until 9:00 pm, so if your trip happens to be on a Wednesday and you would like to spend more time in the museum we can organize it for you.
The Hermitage Museum is not just the Winter Palace. The main complex consists of five buildings including the world famous Winter Palace – the official winter residence of the Russian tsars – and the Small Hermitage which was a private palace of Catherine the Great called “the Hermitage” – meaning the place of solitude – and actually gave the name to the whole museum later. But apart from these there are many more buildings in St Petersburg which belong to the Hermitage.
Please note that starting from this year the collection of the French Impressionists is not exhibited in the main complex, you can enjoy all the paintings in the General staff building which is conveniently located on Palace Square just opposite the Winter Palace. However if you wish to see the collection please inform us, so that we can build your trip in such a way for you to have enough time to visit both buildings. Please contact us for further information.
Since the Hermitage Museum possesses countless treasures, each visit can offer a unique experience. There are also temporary exhibitions taking place at the Hermitage which enhance the majestic experience of the museum.
For more information about the Hermitage Museum click here.
There is also an enchanting and magnificent movie titled «Russian Ark» which includes Russian history and shows numerous rooms of the Hermitage.
Russian Ark is a 2002 Russian historical drama film directed by Alexander Sokurov and was filmed in rooms of Hermitage Museum using one unbroken shot lasting the entire length of the film (96 minutes). 3 centuries of Russian history are wrapped into a Russian film including artwork of the Hermitage and visitors to the Hermitage throughout the years.
2,000 actors, 3 orchestras, 33 rooms of the Hermitage Museum were used to shoot the film. All of this work was done in 1 day. So there could be no mistakes as there is only 1 shoot.
The story starts with a French nobleman who is strolling through the Hermitage Museum and at different times of Russian history. It feels as if you are following him in his dream but in fact he has died in a terrible accident and is a ghost who is wandering through the Winter Palace. Upon entering each room he is introduced to various real and fictional people from different time periods of St Petersburg’s three-hundred-year history.
Visions of Peter The Great, Catherine the Great, Tsar Nicholas I, among others are there to grace your presence and intrigue your view of Russia. Viewers witness many interesting stories including a grand ball, Catherine the Great searching for a toilet, and Peter the Great and his discussion with a general. In addition, Tsar Nicholas I is offered a formal apology from the Shah of Iran for the death of an ambassador and citizen of Leningrad living during the Siege of Leningrad during WWII. We see the citizen making his own coffin.
Roger Ebert wrote: «Apart from anything else, this is one of the best-sustained ideas I have ever seen on the screen…. the effect of the unbroken flow of images (experimented with in the past by directors like Hitchcock and Max Ophüls) is uncanny. If cinema is sometimes dreamlike, then every edit is an awakening. Russian Ark spins a daydream made of centuries.»
We recommend this movie and hope you will find it educational and enchanting. You can buy this film right now from our Amazon store: