Oct 29, 2011 No Comments
Located in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the State Hermitage is a museum with a vast collection of art and culture. It is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, being founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great, and has been open to the public since 1852. Parts of the museum are housed in the former Winter Palace, a former residence of Imperial Russia. In total the museum occupies a large complex of six historic buildings along the Palace Embankment. Its collections, of which only a small part are on permanent display, comprise nearly 3 million items; including the largest collection of paintings in the world.
During my 2009 visit to the Hermitage, I managed to wander around for almost 5 hours and still did not get to visit everything. My most memorable portions were the Treasury & Diamond rooms; where, photography is forbidden.... but, the experience was amazing. To see the decadence and lavish lifestyle of the Imperial Tsars.
A few photos from my experience at the Hermitage.
The Jordan Staircase of the Winter palace, is so named because on the Feast of the Epiphany, the Tsar descended this imperial staircase in state for the ceremony of the "Blessing of the Waters" of the Neva River, a celebration of Christ's baptism in the Jordan River. It is one of the few parts of the palace which retain the original 18th-century style.
The staircase was badly damaged by a fire that swept the palace in 1837, but Nicholas I ordered the architect in charge of reconstruction, Vasily Stasov, to restore the staircase using Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli's original plans. Stasov made two small changes: he replaced the original gilt bronze handrails with white marble and the original pink columns with gray granite.