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Design: Verum Crew
St.Petersburg has over 100 working museums, the majority of which levies and entry charge. As a rule, foreign tourists are charged more than the Russian.
ARTS
THE STATE HERMITAGE MUSEUM
The State Hermitage Museum is one of the greatest museums of the world. Five historical buildings, including Winter Palace – the residence of Russian tsars, make the basis of the museum complex. The Hermitage keeps about 3 million monuments of culture and art of the European and Oriental peoples, from high antiquity till nowadays: pictures, graphic sheets, sculptures, a richest collection of applied art items, over a million coins and medals, archaeological materials. Among the Hermitage’s treasures, there are artworks by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, fine things by Rembrandt and Rubens, famous collection of impressionists and post-impressionists, Matisse and Picasso. World-renowned are the collections of Scythian gold and the antiquities from the Black Sea North Littoral.
THE MENSHIKOV’S PALACE
The Palace of city’s first General Covernor, A.Menshikov, occupies the first masoned building in St.Petersburg (architects F.Fontana and J.Schaedel). The building preserves fragments of the original interiors of the XVIII century, including the famous Dutch stove-tiles. The palace also features an exhibition, owing to the Hermitage collections, on Russian culture in the era of Peter the Great.
MUSEUM OF PORCELAIN
A new department of the State Hermitage, opened on Lomonosov Porcelain Factory grounds. 2 restored halls contain the exhibition of porcelain made in Royal Porcelain Manufacture during 1744-1917, an exhibition on how the museum collection was formed, and products by the famous West-European porcelain manufacturers and artistic glassware.
THE STATE RUSSIAN MUSEUM
Opened in 1898 in the Mikhaylovsky Palace (architect C.Rossi), the museum possesses nearly 400,000 exhibits. It is the largest in the country collection of Russian art, from ancient icons to the Avantgarde painting of the XX century. Renewed exhibition “The Art of the XX Century” contains works by M.Vrubel, V.Serov, K.Petrov-Vodkin, M.Chagall, K.Malevich, P.Filonov, and others, less renowned painters from the largest artistic unions of the last century.
MIKHAYLOVSKY (INZHENERNY) CASTLE
The castle was constructed to protect the Russian emperor Paul I. Ironically, it was here where he was assassinated on the night of March 12, 1801. Since 1817, the castle housed an Engineering School, which was attended by many great Russian figures of the past, including the writer F.Dostoevsky. Permanent exhibitions: “Classic Subjects in Russian Art” and “The Renaissance and the Creative Activity of the Russian Artists”.
THE RUSSIAN ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM
The exhibitions of the museum illustrate the everyday life and culture of the peoples of Russia in the XIX-XX centuries. The collections of the museum have over a half a million exhibits. In the Special Storeroom, shown are jewelry, weapons, and religious objects, made of precious metals. A new permanent exhibition “Peoples of Russian North-West and Baltic Countries” is open.
ST.ISAAC’S CATHEDRAL, MUSEUM-MONUMENT
One of the finest architectural monuments of the XIX century (architect A.Montferrand), formerly principal cathedral of the Russian capital, the largest cathedral in town able to accommodate 10,000 people. The cathedral is graced with 112 solid granite columns weighing up to 114 tons each, and about 400 relieves and bronze sculptures. The observation platform on the colonnade provides a magnificent view of the city.
MUSEUM-MONUMENT “OUR SAVIOR ON THE BLOOD”
Completed in 1907 as a memorial church to the Russian emperor Alexander II, on the very spot of crucial terroristic attempt upon him. A sample of “Russian Revival Style” in architecture and decorative art at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries. Mosaics revetting the church (over 7,000 sq.m) were created to the design of 30 artists, among them V.Vasnetsov, M.Nesterov, A.Ryabushkin, V.Belyaev, N.Kharlamov.
MUSEUM OF MUSIC IN SHEREMETEV PALACE (FONTANNY DOM)
Architectural monument of the XVIII century (architect S.Chevakinsky), once the core of town property belonged to Count Sheremetevs. In the state rooms, now open after a long restoration period, the items from the Sheremetevs’ collections are shown (decorative and applied art of the XVII-XX centuries), also private collections bestowed on the museum in 1990s. Sheremetev Palace hosts the St.Peterburg Collection of Musical Instruments (3,000 items), among them instruments made by famous craftsmen and played by famous musicians, and historical rarities. In the White Hall, symphonical, choral, and chamber music concerts are held.
HISTORY
THE PETER AND PAUL FORTRESS
The Peter and Paul Fortress was founded by Peter I in 1703. Except the old fortifications themselves, there are the Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral of the early XVIII century (architect D.Trezzini) with the burial vault of Peter the Great and other Russian tsars, the museum in Trubetskoy Bastion prison, the exhibitions “The History of St.Peterburg – Petrograd. 1830-1918”, “Museum of Old Petersburg”, “Pechatnya (Printing Workshop)”, “Museum for Adults and Children”, “Three centuries above the City” (dedicated to the history of building Cathedral’s belfry), and museum on space exploration and missilery. An excursion route “Panorama of the Neva” goes over the roofs of the fortress bastions and curtains.
THE SUMMER PALACE OF PETER THE GREAT
One of the first stone buildings of St.Petersburg (architect D.Trezzini), located on the grounds of the Summer Garden laid out by the order of Peter the Great. The interior decoration of the early XVIII century style offers a nice selection of Russian and West-European paintings and decorative and applied art of the late XVII – beginning of the XVIII centuries, as well as personal belongings of Peter the Great.
THE CABIN OF PETER THE GREAT
Constructed for Peter the Great in May 1703, it is the first building in St.Petersburg. The exhibition of the museum includes personal belongings of Peter the Great, domestic items from the early XVIII century, and a description of Russian victories in the Northern War of 1700-1721.
THE CENTRAL NAVAL MUSEUM
Located in the historical building of the Stock Exchange, designed by the architect T. de Thomon, constructed in the early XIX century, it is the largest naval museum in the world. Founded in 1709, the museum has over 800,000 items, including “The Grandfather of the Russian Navy” – the childhood boat of Peter the Great, models of vessels, examples of weaponry and military machinery, marine paintings.
MILITARY-HISTORICAL MUSEUM OF ARTILLERY, ENGINEERS AND SIGNAL CORPS
The world’s largest military museum, it was founded in 1703. Located in the building of the old Arsenal, the collection of the museum contains 750,000 items: examples of weapons, military uniforms and equipment, banners, orders, battle relics of the Russian Army. There is also an open-air exposition of war machinery and weaponry.
MUSEUM ON BOARD THE CRUISER AURORA
A cruiser of the Russian Navy put on eternal mooring. The museum on board illustrates the Aurora’s participation in the battle of Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, revolutionary events of the early XX century, and the World War II, 1941-45.
THE HISTORICAL MEMORIAL MUSEUM SMOLNY
The Building was constructed in the early XIX century (architect G.Guarenghi). It is connected with many turning points in the history of the country and the city. The complex of the museum comprises the historic hall, which has seen many prominent figures of Russian culture and education and where, in 1917, the victory of the October Revolution was proclaimed; the memorial study and apartment where V.Lenin lived in 1917-1918; and the exhibitions “Smolny Institute for Gentle Families’ Girls” and “Smolny. The Days of the Siege”.
THE MUSEUM OF THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF RUSSIA
The museum features original objects, documents, photographs on the history of Russia in the XIX-XX centuries. A special section is devoted to the famous Russian ballerina M.Kshessinskaya, the former owner of the mansion. Other exhibitions include “Deeming on the State Duma (The history of Russian parliamentarism in the XX century)”, “Thanks to Comrade Stalin… (individual and power in the USSR in 1920-30s)”.
MONUMENT TO THE HEROIC DEFENDERS OF LENINGRAD
This memorial is dedicated to the 900-days unprecedented heroic defense of the city in the World War II, 1941-1945. Consists of an obelisk, sculptural composition, and an underground Memorial Hall, where original documents and items of that time are displayed.
NATURAL SCIENCES
THE MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY AND ETHNOGRAPHY – KUNSTKAMERA
The collection stems from the exhibits of the first Russian museum – Kunstkamera, founded by Peter I, and contains over a million exhibits on the lifestyles of different peoples of the world. Many of them are unique. Permanent exhibitions: “First Collections of Natural Sciences in Kunstkamera”, “M.Lomonosov and the Academy of Sciences in the XVIII Century”, “The First Astronomical Observatory in the Russian Academy of Sciences”, “Grand Gotthorp Globe-Planetarium”.
MILITARY MEDICAL MUSEUM
Formed as national museum of medicine and the military medical service, the museum is a successor of the first medical museums and collections of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. Opened in March of 1945. Museum collection includes over 210,000 things and sub-collections. The archive of military medicine documents keeps over 60,000 items. Permanent exhibition: “Medicine in Russia and St.Petersburg”.
THE ZOOLOGICAL MUSEUM
One of the largest in the world. The museum’s research collection contains 17 million species, 500,000 of which are on the display.
MUSEUMS & PALACE-AND-PARK ENSEMBLES OF ST.PETERBURG SUBURBS
THE PALACE-AND-PARK ENSEMBLE GATCHINA
The palace-and-park ensemble consists of the Gatchina Palace (architect A.Rinaldi, 2nd half of the XVIII century), and the park – the first landscaped park in Russia. The palace throughout its history was a residence of the Russian emperors Paul I, nicknamed “the most romantic Russian Emperor”, and Alexander III. The romantic feature of Gatchinsky Palace is a secret conduit to the lake. The pride of the park are the unique pavilions “Beriozovy Dom” (“Birch House”) and “Pavilion Venery” (“Pavilion of Venus”).
THE PALACE-AND-PARK ENSEMBLE PAVLOVSK
This is s superb palace-and-park ensemble of the late XVIII – early XIX centuries which was used as a summer residence of the Russian emperor Paul I and his family. The landscape park, one of the largest in Europe, covers the area of 600 ha. The works on the palace-and-park ensemble on the winding banks of the Slavyanka River lasted for 50 years. The main collections of the Pavlovsky Palace were formed due to the trip of its owners over Europe in 1781-1782. They visited workshops of well-known artists, ordering and purchasing paintings, furniture, bronze articles, silk fabrics, china sets, a lot of antique sculptures from Italy, etc. They also brought to Russia the gifts from European royal courts. The museum displays excellent portraits by Russian artists and a number of landscape paintings and drawings on Pavlovsk. Private Rooms of Empress Maria Fedorovna decorated by architects Guarenghi and Voronikhin in the early XIX century and enrapturing with their harmonious beauty, are open to the public. After essential restoration, the library by Rossi is open, which was built in 1824 to host abundant collection of books and rarities.
THE PALACE-AND-PARK ENSEMBLE TSARSKOYE SELO
The palace-and-park ensemble of Tsarskoye Selo – former country residence of Russian emperors – is a fascinating monument of the world’s architectural and gardening arts of the XVIII-XIX centuries. Its three parks occupy the area of 600 ha, on which over 100 architectural constructions rise: from magnificent palaces and grand monuments to intimate pavilions and park sculptures. The focus of the Tsarskoselsky ensemble is Catherine’s Palace, containing exquisite decorative objects, furniture, Russian and West-European paintings, unique collections of porcelain, amber, weapons, decorative bronze, sculptures, etc. Nowadays, the collection of the museum in Tsarskoye Selo comprises about 20,000 items. During the celebrations of the tercentenary to St.Peterburg, the “Amber Room” was opened after its restoration, one of the official halls in Catherine’s Palace. The Tsarskoselsky Lyceum, an elite school established in Russia in the beginning of the XIX century for noble families offsprings which the great Russian poet A.S.Pushkin attended, is situated next to the palace. In Catherine’s Park, the exhibitions “Passions, Weaknesses, Delights… (Man and Womaan in the Ancient Days)”, “Royal Court Carriage in Tsarskoe Selo” are held.
THE PALACE-AND-PARK ENSEMBLE PETERHOF
Peterhof is a jewel of the Russian art, a town of parks, palaces, and fountains. In the past, it used to be an exquisite summer residence of Russian tsars. Verkhniy (Upper) Garden and Nizhniy (Lower) Park, genuine masterpieces of landscape design, hold over 150 fountains and 4 monumental cascades. There are 15 museums working in summer time: the Grand Palace, Special Treasury, Monplaisir, Catherine’s Block, Marly, Hermitage, Benois Family Museum, Cottage, Bath Block with Tafeldecker and Kaffeeschenk rooms and the Kitchen, Museum of Collectors, Petrovsky Aviary, Museum of Royal Yachts, Church of St.Alexander Nevsky (Gothic Chapel), Peter I’s Palace (Village Strelna), and Museum of Fountain-Making (by booking beforehand); open to the public are private rooms of Catherine the Great in the Block-under-the-Crest of the Grand Palace, and the permanent exhibition “Royal Bicycles”.
THE CONSTANTINE PALACE
A state residence, historical and cultural monument, and modern business centre. The idea of construction of a palace-and-park ensemble in Strelna dates back to 1715 and is connected to the name of Peter I. The palace was conceived as a state residence, the grandeur and beauty of which would outshine the famous Versailles. Many architects participated in the creation of Strelna complex: G.-B.Leblond, N.Michetti, M.Zemtsov, P.Eropkin, F.B.Rastrelli, A.Voronikhin, A.Stackenschneider, etc. Construction works were launched in 1720. But by 1730 Peter I’s concern switched over to the neighboring Peterhof. In 1797, the Emperor Paul I presented the deserted palace to his son – Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich, and “Strelina Myza” became a grand-ducal estate. In 1990, UNESCO added this unique architectural complex to the list of monuments of world historical and cultural heritage in danger of complete decay. But it was only in 2001 that the restoration of the palace-and-park ensemble in Strelna began under a decree of President Putin. The works were completed by the tercentenary of St.Peterburg. Today, the visitors of the Governmental Complex “Congress Palace”, a part of which is the Constantine Palace, can learn of the Palace history, its creation and reconstruction, life stories of its owners. For connoisseurs, the wine collection of the Palace will be of interest: there are 13,000 bottles in it worth 20,000,000 Rubles. Wine-testing from the cellars is offered.

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