Any country who have gone through war knew the importance of remembering the history of it and maintaining the legacy of that war for its people. Russia has gone through a series of civil and international wars during its massive history and worked hard to maintain their legacy throughout these wars, and this explains why there are several war museums in Russia. One of the most important ones that dedicated to the history of military and development of weapon in Russia is in St Petersburg. The Artillery Museum is the most complete and significant military museum in the world.
Artillery Museum is located at the southern shore of the Petrogradsky Island at the side of Kronotsky canal, and in front of the Peter and Paul Fortress. This museum which is at the heart of St Petersburg is the main destinations of many tourists in Russia who want to know more about the military and war history of Russia.
At the beginning of the 18th century, a wooden structure built in front of the St Petersburg's fortress by order of the Peter the Great which later reconstructed with bricks and stones. This place was intended to be a museum for Russia military glory and a place to keep old military weapons and uniforms. Since the emperor also dedicated that each governor of Russia sent their collection of old weaponry to this place, the museum collection grew to over 6000 items at the end of the 18th century.
Until the beginning of the 19th century, visiting the museum was only possible upon the previous request, and common people would rarely have a chance to visit the place. However, later in those years, the museum opened its door for the public visit by order of the emperor. In 1826, after that the Alexander I granted the weapons and clothes of previous Russia rulers such as Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and many other nobles to the museum, the number of items and the prestige of the place increased a lot. Also, several sample models of the cannons and weapons put alongside the old ones to be displayed. I the mid-19th century, a special committee formed to decide about the museum and the weaponry items inside it. The committee decided to demolish or sell the items and close the museum, but the on-time interference of the Alexander II saved the military legacy of Russia for the future people. Since the museum building at that time was meant to be used as a military court, the museum relocated to the current location, Peter and Paul arsenal building, Kronverk, and from that day, the number of visitors increased too.
The museum at the first third of the 20th century, overcoming all the suffering it went through, increased its worth and items by uniting all the collections from other 27 military museums around Russia. During the Second World War, the administrator at the museum worked as hard as they could to both maintain the current collection and also add more items from the ongoing war to the museum. The Artillery Museum and the Signal Corps Museum combined and merged into a unit museum about the war. At the late of the 20th century, the museum reached its most completed point in Russia military and weapon's history.
Today, the Artillery Museum is one of the most completed and significant ones of its own. More than 13 halls and an outdoor museum with around 17,000m2 covered area which contains more than 850,000 historical items, art, and scientific development history about military and weaponry. The current location of the museum, Kronverk which was at first built in the 18th century for the Peter and Paul Fortress's reinforcement went under reconstruction in 2002, and after that the outdoor area attached to the museum. This large museum preserves over 300 years of military and weaponry's history of Russia and other parts of the world at the heart of St Petersburg.
There are several permanent exhibitions runs in the museum such as The History of Russian Artillery which contains information and items from the beginnings to the present day.
There's a specific room dedicated to the legendary Kalashnikov AK-47. Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer, and inventor of this valuable weapon for Russia opened this hall in Artillery Museum in 2004, on his 85th birthday.
Also, there are other exhibitions in the museum such as The History of the Engineers from the beginning to the present day, The Signal Corps during the Second World War, The History of Rocket Armaments, and the Mikhail Kutuzov and the War of 1812.
Alongside all of these attractive exhibitions, the outdoor museum with the cannons, anti-aircraft guns, military vehicles, and gigantic weaponry has its attraction. The famous Katyusha missile launcher, the second world war tanks, the cannons made by Andrey Chekhov, the designer of the famous Tsar Cannon in Kremlin are amongst the collection in the outdoor museum of the military in St Petersburg.
Visitors of this museum would learn about the Russian military history, clothes, weapons, vehicles, the way of communication during the war, medals, and in general, all the history of military records in Russia from the beginning of formation. This museum which is one of the greatest of its kind in the world always caught numerous tourists' attention in St Petersburg.
You can always ask our expert tour leaders at the Star Travel Group on your travel to St. Petersburg about the museums and historical places that you can visit in St. Petersburg.