Saturday, October 24, 2009

Diary of an adventure to Eastern Europe.. Part 15 The Hermitage ...... St. Petersburg, Russia

There was a horse drawn carriage that was available for anyone who would like to go around the square. Unfortunately we could not ride that because it started to drizzle and the temperature that day was 7 degrees.

A view of the Alexander Column... is the main focal point of the palace square. It was built between 1830 and 1834. It is made of red granite. This pedestal was decorated with symbols of military glory. It is very impressive when you can take a picture at sunset, when the sun beams on the column. I have seen a postcard of this column... it was a sight to behold!!

We met our tour guide in the lobby at 9:00 am for our visit to the Hermitage. The famous landmark of St. Petersburg, Russia. Everyone had their cameras with them, ready to take fantastic shots inside the museum. Our tour guide told us that we can take photos provided we do not use the FLASH and they will be asking us to pay 200 rubles in order to take photos inside the museum. I thought it was worth it.  On our way to the Hermitage, our guide told us that there are 3,000,000 collections of art inside the museum and if one will spend at least 1 minute in viewing each item it will take you 5 years to see all the art collections!! Our tour lasted 3 hours and I tried to take as many interesting shots as much as possible.

The group posed for a souvenir photo before starting the tour. We were asked to leave our coats in the cloak room and we had to stick close to our tour guide since the entrance hall was crowded that morning. There were many tour groups as we entered the palace. Those who were going to take photos inside the Hermitage were asked to queue in another window to  pay 200 rubles.

Then we were all ushered inside the main entrance of the Hermitage. As the Hermitage is so enormous. Its collection is so diverse and its interiors are so attractive in its own right. Many tourists or visitors to this museum will agree with me saying this. The best way to tour the museum is to make several briefer visits rather than one frenetic and exhausting marathon tour.

The main staircase

The view of the ceiling -- entrance hall.

The War Gallery...

The Peter Hall ( Small Throne Room )..

The Armorial Hall..

The Great Field Marshalls Hall..

The Large Throne Room.. and detail of ceiling ..

The origins of the Hermitage can be traced back to the private collection of Peter the Great. He purchased numerous paintings during his travels abroad and later hung them in his residence....Catherine the Great expanded the collection considerably . She and her successors built the collection by purchasing other private collections of the Western European aristocracy. By the time Nicholas II ascended the throne in 1894, he was the heir of the greatest collection of art in Europe.

here are some of the art pieces I liked....

The large Italian Skylight Hall....

Today the Hermitage has embarked on a major renovation. Its collection of art is in the process of being reorganized. Many of its works have become available for traveling exhibits outside the country.

It was such a pity we could not spend more time here at the museum... there were other halls I wanted to explore and so many paintings I wanted to see. I hope to come back another time to St. Petersburg to see the other parts of the museum... It is too bad I cannot post all the other photos here in my diary... Maybe some day.... who knows... I might come back to the Hermitage once more!!! If ever you happen to be in St Petersburg allow at least one whole day for this famous landmark.... the Hermitage museum. You will never regret it!

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