Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia
The Hermitage (officially the State Hermitage Museum) is one of the most famous museums in the world. Spread over several buildings lining the Neva River in St. Petersburg, this museum is way too large to see in just a few hours. Most cruisers visit with a tour group on a half-day excursion and can see many of the art pieces and gaze at the beautiful decor.The Hermitage was once the palace of Catherine the Great, who used it as a private place of retreat and solitude, or a Hermitage. Tours enter through the Winter Palace on the ground floor and walk up the magnificent Jordan Staircase to the first floor. The rooms on the first floor are breathtaking, with many of the rooms restored as they were during Imperial times. The second floor is not architecturally as dramatic as the first floor but has many important French paintings. Be sure to glance through the windows on the second floor for a great view of the Palace Square and the Alexander Column.
The Hermitage was once the winter residence of the Russian Tsars. It was designed by Rastrelli.
Main Staircase of the Winter Palace
The main staircase of the Winter Palace is also known as the Jordan Staircase since it was used by the royal family to go to the Neva River for christenings.
Peacock Clock in the Pavilion Hall of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg
The Peacock Clock is the only large 18th-century automaton in the world to still be functioning in its original unaltered condition.
The Peacock Clock of the Hermitage also includes the figures of a cockerel and owl. All three of the birds move. Catherine II loved collecting, and Grigory Potiomkin ordered the piece for her from celebrated goldsmith and clockmaker James Cox.
The Raphael Loggias at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia
The Raphael Loggias of the Hermitage are almost an exact replica of the loggias at the Vatican.
Close-up of the Frescoes on the Raphael Loggias at the Hermitage
One of the differences between the Hermitage Rapael loggias and those at the Vatican is the double headed eagle, the symbol of Russia, on this panel.