Winter Palace, Hermitage museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia
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Winter Palace

St Petersburg

This stunning mint-green, white and gold profusion of columns, windows and recesses, with its roof topped by rows of classical statues, was commissioned from Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1754 by Empress Elizabeth. Catherine the Great and her successors had most of the interior remodelled in a classical style by 1837. It remained an imperial home until 1917, though the last two tsars spent more time in other palaces.

Today you can tour the palace's grand reception halls and chambers, and wander gallery after gallery stuffed with Eurasian and Asian antiquities, as well as collections of European and Eastern paintings, sculptures and decorative art works.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby St Petersburg attractions

2. Treasure Gallery

0.03 MILES

For lovers of things that glitter and the applied arts, the Hermitage's Treasure Gallery should not be missed. Its two special collections, guarded behind…

3. Palace Square

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This vast expanse is simply one of the most striking squares in the world, still redolent of imperial grandeur almost a century after the end of the…

4. Small Hermitage

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The classical Small Hermitage, which evolved from a series of buildings constructed between Palace Sq and the Neva between 1764 and 1769, was used by…

5. State Hermitage Museum

0.12 MILES

The Hermitage fully lives up to its sterling reputation. You can be absorbed by its treasures for days and still come out wanting more. The enormous…

6. Alexander Column

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In the centre of Palace Sq, this 47.5m column, topped by a statue of an angel holding a cross, was designed in 1834 by Montferrand. Named after Alexander…

7. Great (Old) Hermitage

0.15 MILES

Facing the Neva, this section of the museum (also known as the Large Hermitage) dates from the time of Catherine the Great. It mainly houses Italian…

8. New Hermitage

0.15 MILES

Facing Millionnaya ul, the New Hermitage was built for Nicholas II in 1852, to hold the growing art collection and as a museum for the public. Designed by…