Top 5 Tourist Attractions


in full STATE HERMITAGE, Russian GOSUDARSTVENNY ERMITAZH, art museum in St. Petersburg founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great as a court museum. It adjoined the Winter Palace and served as a private gallery for the art amassed by the empress. Under Nicholas I the Hermitage was reconstructed (1840-52), and it was opened to the public in 1852. Following the October Revolution of 1917, the imperial collections became public property. The museum is housed within five interconnected buildings, including the Winter Palace (1754-62) and the Small, Old, and New Hermitages. The Hermitage has a rich collection of western European painting since the Middle Ages, including many masterpieces by Renaissance Italian and Baroque Dutch, Flemish, and French painters. Russian art is well represented. The Hermitage also has extensive holdings of Oriental art, especially noteworthy being its collection of the art of Central Asia.

Russian State Museum

Russian GOSUDARSTVENNY RUSSKY MUZEY, museum opened in St. Petersburg in 1898 as the central museum of Russian art and life. It is housed in the buildings of the former Mikhailovsky Palace, designed by Karl Ivanovich Rossi and built in 1819-25. The buildings were converted to a museum in 1896-97, and the museum was expanded considerably after the Russian Revolution of 1917, when many private collections were confiscated and added to the Russian State Museum. The central building houses art from the 10th century to the revolution, including a comprehensive collection of painting and sculpture from the 18th and 19th centuries and an excellent collection of early Russian art, with fine icons dating from the 12th to the 14th century. In addition, there are collections of late 19th- and early 20th-century paintings, portraits, and applied arts and an ethnographical museum.

Saint Isaac's Cathedral

Russian ISAAKIYEVSKY SOBOR, iron-domed cathedral in St. Petersburg that was designed in Russian Empire style by Auguste de Montferrand. Covering 2.5 acres (1 hectare), it was completed in 1858 after four decades of construction. The granite and marble building is cruciform, and its great dome is one of the earliest examples of the use of iron as a structural material. The interior is decorated in a florid imitation of medieval ornamentation.

The Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral

Built to secure Russia's hold on the Neva deltra, Peter and Paul Fortress, Russian PETROPAVLOVSKAJA KREPOST, anticipated the foundation of St. Petersburg by a year. The original eathworks were subsequently replaced (1706-25) by brick walls under the direction of Trezzini and later faced with granite slabs. The fortress' role a prison ("Russian Bastille") dates back to 1718, when Peter the Great's son, Alexei, was tortured to death here. Today the fortress is cherished as a historic monument -- especially its Cathedral, which is revered by monarchists as the burial place of the Romanovs.

Savior on Blood Cathedral

Russian SOBOR SPASA NA KROVI, Savior on Blood Cathedral (constructed in 1883-1907), a replica to St. Basil's in Moscow, was built on the part of embankment where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. Both inside and outside, the cathedral is decorated with mosaics, designed by V.M. Vasnetsov, M.V. Nesterov and M.A. Vrubel. The church was closed for services in the 1930s. It was opened for visitors only a couple of years ago.

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