St. Petersburg is famous as the city of museums among the locals because of the number of museums and historical places in the city, which is one of the reasons why St. Petersburg is so popular in Russia tours. You can find a museum in almost every corner of the city with different purposes from the art museum, history museums, political museums, scientific museums, educational museums, cultural or even antique museums. The most major museum in St. Petersburg tour, which you must visit on your travel to Russia is the Hermitage Museum; Hermitage is the second-largest art museum in the world after the Louvre Museum in Paris, and it has multiple artifacts from all the regions in the world belong to various periods in history. One of the major attractions of this museum on your tour to Russia plans can be the Treasure Gallery, which is recommended by every Russia tour agency to people who have decided to travel to Russia.
While there are multiple numbers of museums in St. Petersburg, including the Hermitage, you shouldn’t feel that St. Petersburg had needed another museum; but at the end of the 19th century, it strongly felt that there’s still a place available for another museum; a place for a museum about Russian and only Russian art and artifacts felt needed among the Russia attractive places in St. Petersburg tour. That’s why Alexander III had decided to establish the Museum of Russian Art.
Alexander III was the first emperor who had decided to collect Russian art for his private gallery, but it was his son Nicholas II who ordered to establish a museum for those pieces of art. After the death of Alexander III in 1895, Nicholas II had founded the Russian Museum of Emperor Alexander III and began to collect pieces of art from Russian artists and masters for the museum. The museum later turned to one of the main attractions of St. Petersburg on Russia tour, which countless tourists want to visit on their travel to Russia.
At first, the Mikhailovsky Palace, which was inherited by Mikhail Pavlovich descendants, was bought for the museum. Vasily Svinyin was the architect who received the orders to restore the palace and make it ready to host the museum. The Russian Museum of Alexander III had started its work in 1898, and the first exhibitions of the museum were brought from the Gatchina Palace, The Alexander Palace, The Hermitage museum, the Russian Academy of Art, and the donated arts from private collections.
Though Nicholas II had chosen the Mikhailovsky Palace to host the Russian Museum of Emperor Alexander III, you can visit several other branches of this museum, which all of them locates in the historical center of St. Petersburg on your travel to St. Petersburg. The Russian Museum of Alexander III was closed after the October Revolution, but it had started to work again as the State Russian Museum after a few years. Currently, the State Russian Museum has more than 400 thousand exhibits from the tenth century to the current time, which most of them are Russian artistic, cultural, educational, and ancient objects. If you have plans to visit this museum on your travel to Russia, we recommend you to start from the main building of the museum, which is the Mikhailovsky Palace.
Mikhailovsky Palace locates at the historical center of St. Petersburg on the Art Square and is considered to be one of the architectural masterpieces that you’ll visit on your Russia tour. Given that, the main reason behind the popularity of this palace is the State Russian Museum.
Among the extraordinary collections of Mikhailovsky Palace, you can witness some of the unique icons from 12th century to the late 17th century, including the famous icon of Archangel Gabriel; masterpieces from Russian artists, such as Ivan Nikitin and Andrei Matveyev; masterpieces from Classicism, Romanticism, and the beginning of the Realism era, such as Karl Brullov and Grigory Ugryumov; masterpieces from Russian artists in the second half of the 19th century, such as Ivan Aivazovsky and Ilya Repin, and the Russian traditional art from the beginning of the 17th century till today. Those examples are only a small part of the massive collection of the State Russian Museum in Mikhailovsky Palace that you will visit on your travel to Russia. If you’re encouraged to also know about the temporary exhibitions in the Mikhailovsky Palace, you can visit the State Russian Museum website or ask your Russia tour management.
St. Michael Castle
The St. Michael Castle was built after the Catherine II’s death by the commands of Emperor Paul I in part of Summer Garden. Paul I had fears that his enemies have plans to assassinate him, that’s the reason why, he decided to build a palace like ancient castles, which can only be accessed by a drawbridge. St. Michael Castle was completed after twelve years following the brilliant plans of Vincenzo Brenna and Vasili Bazhenov, but Paul I only enjoyed it for six months before he got assassinated by the palace’s guards during a coup that resulted in Alexander I became the Emperor. The St. Michael Castle is one of the attractions of St. Petersburg in terms of architecture and has caught many tourists’ attention in Russia tour.
St. Michael Castle has transferred to the State Russian Museum in 1991. Among the collections inside the St. Michael Castle we can point out to the masterpiece collection of sculptures from the 18th to 20th centuries, such as the works of Paolo Troubetzkoy and Anna Golubkina; there’s also the Russian portraits collection, which displays the development of portrait paintings in Russia; You can also find several works from Russian artists, including Vasiliy Surikov, Ilya Repin, Ivan Kramskoy in the museum collections. The Russian portraits contain several portraits from Russian Tsars, Empresses, and noble personages in the Russian history; the last permanent exhibition in the St. Michael Castle’s collection is about the artistic works from the first half of the 19th century when St. Petersburg was in the middle of the cultural movement. The core of the collection is the painting of “Parade on The Tsaritsa Meadow,” which was painted by the legendary Grigory Chernetsov; the collection includes multiple works from Russian artists, such as Vasiliy Sadovnikov and Joseph-Jean Charlemagne. If you’re inspired to visit this museum and its marvelous collections, you can put St. Michael Castle on your visit list on your travel to Russia.
The Marble Palace
The Marble Palace is the perfect example of the neoclassical architecture in the 18th century, which was built by the orders of Catherine II for her favorite Count Grigory Orlov. The Italian architect Antonio Rinaldi had used 32 different shades of marble to build this palace near the Field of Mars and the Neva River embankment. Grigory Orlov had been banished. The Marble Palace had occupied by various people afterward, including Grand Duke Konstantin, but in the end, it was given to the State Russian Museum. The palace architecture alone is a major attraction of St. Petersburg, but most tourists visit the palace for its unbelievable collection of art.
The main core of the Marble Palace collection is the Ludwig Museum at the Russian Museum; this collection was a gift from Peter and Irene Ludwig to the museum, which contains a collection of art from the second half of 20th century that gathered by the two, and it separates into two parts; the first part is the collection of American Pop-art and the second part is the collection of German neo-Expressionism art. Among the artists that you can see their works in these collections, we can point out to the well-known Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, and George Seagull. The second collection of the Marble Palace museum is a donation from the brothers Jacob and Joseph Rzhevsky, which contains artworks, including paintings, graphic arts, sculptures, and applied art from the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century; several artists and masters have a piece or two in this collection, such as Ivan Aivazovsky, Nikolai Kolmakov, Boris Kustodiev, and Ilia Mashkov. The last permanent exhibition in the Marble Palace museum is the collection of poems by the Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich, which you can visit on your trip to Russia.
The Stroganov Palace
The Stroganov Palace is one of the major attractions of Russia in the Nevsky Prospect and St. Petersburg tour. This palace was probably built in the 1720s, and Sergey Stroganov had bought this and several other unfinished buildings around it, and Francesco Rastrelli had turned them into a giant palace in 1753 and made one of the major attractions of Russia tour in St. Petersburg. The Stroganov Palace transferred to the State Russian Museum in 1988.
Besides the architecture of the Stroganov Palace, which alone is one of the attractions of the complex, there are several fascinating collections on display in this museum. The first permanent exhibition in the museum was the Mineral Collection, which was put on display in 2005 after the complete restoration in the palace; there are various porcelain collections from the palace and several mineral collections that were given to the State Russian Museum from St. Petersburg Mineral Museum; the second exhibition is the collection of Russian applied art from the Alexander I’s period alongside several portraits from the royal and noble families of Russia. You can visit these exhibitions on your trip to St. Petersburg.
The cabin of Peter the Great
The Cabin of Peter the Great is the first imperial palace in St. Petersburg. The cabin was only 60 square meters, but it had some spiritual meaning to the emperor; that’s why he ordered to preserve the cabin when he left the initial palace in 1708 after five years of living there through summers. He believed that the Cabin of Peter the Great, or as it was famous back then as the Red Mansion, was a representation of his modesty. The soldiers of the Semyonovskiy Regiment had constructed the Red Mansion in three days. The Cabin of Peter the Great has given to the State Russian Museum in 2004.
The Red Mansion has turned to a memorial museum of Peter the Great since the internal layout, exterior look, and the belongings of Peter the Great and his family still preserved today. You can see the Peter I’s boat, which he used to cross the Neva River; personal belongings, uniforms, formal clothes, and furniture of the Red Mansion in the collection of the museum. If you’re interested to see how Peter the Great lived at the beginning of the 18th century, we at Star Travel Group recommend you to visit this cabin on your trip to St. Petersburg.
As you can see, the State Russian Museum has one of the most comprehensive collections among St. Petersburg museums, and since the city known as the city of museums among locals, you must realize the value of the State Russian Museum in your St. Petersburg Tour plans. You can visit them all on your travel to Russia or choose parts of them if you don't have enough time on your tour to Russia. Remember that the Summer Palace, the Summer Garden, and the Mikhailovsky Garden are also parts of the State Russian Museum.
You can also visit our weblog at the Star Travel Group to learn more about other Russia attractive places, or our tips and pieces of advice about how to travel to Russia.