Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hermitage Museum, a St. Petersburg highlight

The Throne Room in the Hermitage Museum

The  State Hermitage Museum, located along the banks of the River Neva in St. Petersburg, Russia is considered one of the largest and oldest museums in the world.

It offers a wide array of artwork including some by Italian artists Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Titian and Tintoretto.

The main staircase in the Hermitage Museum
The Winter Palace, which was the home of the Russian emperors from 1763 to 1917, was the first of the structures that now make up the museum.

The second structure, the Small Hermitage, was added to house the expanding collection of artworks gathered by Catherine II.

According a St. Petersburg guidebook, “the museum’s collection, which has been put together over the course of more than two centuries, numbers about three million exhibits.”

Da Vinci's The Madonna with a Flower
The book reports that the interiors of the Winter Palace, with rare exception, have not retained their original appearance because in 1837 the facility fell victim to a fire.

The book reports that the Palace’s Main Staircase still looks the way it did when it was installed in the 18th Century.

Views inside the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg

Visitors are able to view a wide array of Italian artwork along with a collection of Dutch and Flemish work that is considered amongst the greatest in the world, including works of Rembrandt.

Others whose artwork is in the museum include works by Monet, Picasso, Pissarro, Renoir, Cezanne  van Gogh and Gauguin, among others.

Next post: August 4, 2015

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cathedral houses remains of Russian czars

The Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia
Now that we have Independence Day out of the way, its back to the Baltic Sea cruise.

It was just two months  ago that we (my wife and I) set out on that journey, and now it almost seems like it is ancient history.

The planning and anticipation seemed to add up to being more than the trip itself, if that is possible.

But I digress.

Tourist line up to visit the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral
Let’s move on to another site not to be missed when visiting St.Petersburg, Russia.

And that is the Peter and Paul Fortress wherein resides the Peter and Paul Cathedral.

It was the last place we visited on our tour of the city and its environs.

Interior shots show vaults containing Russian czars 
The cathedral houses the remains of numerous czars and some family members.

Peter the Great selected the location for the fortress which is in the River Neva delta.

According to a tourist guide concerning the city, Peter was interested in having the city built out of stone. He therefore issued a special decree prohibiting the construction of other stone structures in the country.

All master stonemasons were ordered to St. Petersburg to work on the city.

There was a “stone toll” and all boats and carts entering the city had to bring a certain number of stones to contribute to the construction effort.

The cathedral is the imperial burial vault.  In 1998, Nicholas II, the last czar, was interred along with his wife and children, all of whom were shot to death in Ekaterinburg in June of 1918.

Next post: July 14, 2015