St. Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia. It is a city of art with more than 200 museums, many of which are located in historic buildings. Their collections are completely different, but each of them deserves special attention. We have selected the top 8 museums you absolutely can’t miss.
The museum building was constructed as an imperial residence. For a long time, Russian monarchs lived here. Visitors had the opportunity to see it in the early 20th century after the Russian Revolution of 1917 when the Soviet era began in the country. Personal belongings of the emperor and his family are still kept here. You can stroll through the front rooms of the Winter Palace and see them with your own eyes.
The Hermitage Museum houses the largest collection of world art in Europe. Guides claim that to see all the exhibits you need about 7 years. Unfortunately, this is impossible to verify, but you can see the works of Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Rembrandt, Picasso, Mathis, Renoir, and many others.
As opposed to the Hermitage, this museum stores and exhibits works of Russian artists. The collection includes both medieval icon painting and the work of contemporary artists. You can visit the exhibition of classic paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as see the works of the Russian avant-garde.
Russian Museum located in the Mikhailovsky Palace. This grand-ducal palace is an example of Empire style neoclassicism.
The palace belonged to one of the richest families of the Russian Empire. The Yusupovs spared no expense in constructing their house. More than 40,000 works of art, jewelry, and sculptures decorated the palace. In addition to numerous drawing rooms and ceremonial halls, there is a theater here, where performances are still taking place.
The Yusupov Palace is famous for the murder of Rasputin. A separate exhibition is dedicated to this event.
The fortress was built by the order of Peter the Great as a defensive structure, although later it was used as a prison. There were political prisoners in its bastions. The Peter and Paul Cathedral with a high bell tower was built on the territory of the citadel. Today the Peter and Paul Fortress has been adapted as a part of the State Museum of St. Petersburg History.
The largest museum of anthropology and ethnography in the world was founded by Peter the Great at the beginning of the 18th century. He was a passionate collector of oddities. Exhibits for his museum were taken from all over the country. Today, the museum’s collection includes a large number of rarities from different cultures, for example, clothes of the Northern nations, Chinese porcelain and weapons of the North American Indians.
Among the huge collection of different rarities, the most popular is «Cabinets of curiosities», a collection of anomalies compiled by Frederick Ruysch in the 18th century.
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is called a «mosaic museum». The walls and ceilings inside the church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics. Its total area is more than 7,000 square meters – and this is one of the largest mosaic expositions in Europe. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day.
The collection housed in this large private museum is dedicated to Russian artists from the post-war years to the present day. Its exhibitions focus on figurative painting, although the collection also includes video art, photography, installations and sculpture. The Erarta Museum often hosts interactive exhibitions, where visitors become part of the artistic design.
A private museum was created based on a collection of works by the great jeweler Carl Faberge. He became famous thanks to the Easter eggs that the tsars gave to their wives. In addition to jewelry, the museum houses a unique collection of Russian icons.
The building of the Faberge Museum is worthy of attention: it is located in the Shuvalovsky Palace, a wonderful example of architectural eclecticism of the first half of the XIX century.