STATE HERMITAGE MUSEUM
With a staggering three million pieces of artwork on display, it is quite easy to understand how the director of the State Hermitage Museum once said that “I can’t say that the Hermitage is the number one museum in the world, but it’s certainly not the second.
” Much of the artwork is housed in the Winter Palace, a Baroque-style former residence of Catherine the Great that is generally considered St Petersburg’s finest attraction, while several other imposing buildings complete the museum. Catherine the Great herself started the collection in 1764 when she purchased a large number of paintings from Berlin. The range of art has now expanded to include works from Ancient Greece, Egypt, Europe and the Orient. The list of notable painters on display is equally impressive, with celebrated works from Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt and Rubens all on show. Private tours are available for those who would like to see the very best works, but with so much on offer it is worth setting aside a good few hours to wander around the Palace.