St. Petersburg

Things to do in St. Petersburg

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St. Petersburg is often described by locals as the "Gorod Muzei" - the museum city - and not without reason. Peter the Great himself founded the city's first museum, the extraordinary Kunstkammer, for the edification his subjects, and the city now boasts over 100 museums, ranging from the vast Hermitage, one of the world's most famous galleries, to small apartment museums honoring some of Russia's greatest writers.



One of the largest museums in the world, the Hermitage is most famous for its European art collection, including works by Michelangelo, Rubens, Rembrandt, Picasso and Matisse. However, that is just one aspect of this multi-faceted museum which stretches over six venues. The main architectural ensemble of the Hermitage situated in the centre of St Petersburg consists of the Winter Palace, the former state residence of the Russian emperors, the buildings of the Small, Old (Great) and New Hermitages, the Hermitage Theatre and the Auxiliary House. The museum complex also includes the Menshikov Palace and the Eastern Wing of the General Staff building, the Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Centre and the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory.



Rivaling the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow as the country's finest collection of Russian art, this beautifully displayed collection occupies several historic buildings, centered on the splendid neoclassical Mikhailovsky Palace. The museum is a unique depository of artistic treasures, a famous restoration centre, an authoritative institute of academic research, one of the major cultural and educational centres, research and methodological centre of art museums of the Russian Federation, overseeing activities of 260 art museums of Russia.


St. Petersburg is not only Russia's cultural capital, it also a major industrial center with some of the finest universities and research institutes in the country. Peter the Great, the city's founder, was himself fascinated by engineering, technology, and all branches of science, and founded the first 'scientific' museum in the city, the bizarrely fascinating Kunstkammer. Nowadays, St. Petersburg has a wealth of museums dedicated to a wide range of scientific and technological disciplines, many of which are well worth checking out.



Devoted to the history of Russian and Soviet polar exploration, this centrally located museum is traditional in style, but has a huge number of unique exhibits, including ethnographical materials on the people's of the polar regions, and lots of historic equipment from polar expeditions. 



This historic ship, moored off the embankment of Vasilievsky Island, was one of the longest serving in the Soviet Navy, particularly revered for its role in the Arctic Convoys of the Second World War. Visitors can walk over the ship and examine its equipment. Due to her unique characteristics the «Krassin» served in the Arctic fleet more than half a century, up to the beginning of 50-es remaining the most powerful icebreaker in the world.


KUNSTKAMMER (Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography)

Located on the banks of the Neva in the center of St.Petersburg, the Kunstkammer has been the symbol of the Russian Academy of Sciences since the early 18th century. Founded to Peter the Great’s Decree, the Museum opened to the public in 1714. Its purpose was to collect and examine natural and human curiosities and rarities. Today, collections of Peter the Great’s Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkammer) are among the most complete and interesting in the world. These collections contain over one million artifacts and reflect the diversity of traditional cultures in the Old and New World. The Museum has always been one of the world’s largest centers where human cultural heritage is studied, continuing the traditions of the great Russian cultural and physical anthropologists of the 18 - 20th centuries. We are pleased to welcome you to the pages of our museum where we hope you will find interesting and useful information about the peoples and cultures of the world.


Since its founding in 1703, St. Petersburg has been at the center of an endless series of major historical events, first as the capital of the vast Russian Empire, then as the cradle of the Bolshevik Revolution, and since then as the second city of the Soviet Union and modern Russia. To better help you understand the vital role the city has played, there are a number of museums on offer which chart different aspects of the story of the city that has been known as Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad, and St. Petersburg.



Infamous as the ship which started the October Revolution by firing blank shells towards the Winter Palace, the Cruiser Aurora is still moored in the Neva River, and is ever-popular with visitors who want to get a fell for where history was made.



One of the city's most famous landmarks, the Peter and Paul Fortress is a must-see destination for all visitors to St. Petersburg, and also contains a number of museums, including the headquarters of the St. Petersburg City History Museum. 



The museum of national significance, which has already celebrated its centenary, keeps a number of evidences of Russia’s political life from the late 18th till the early 21st century. The Museum collection counts over 460,000 items. They reflect the history of the state system reforming, fates of the most prominent historical figures, processes of development of revolutionary, democratic, social and political movements and parties.


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