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Home > > > Welcome to Saint-Petersburg >>> Sights of Saint-Petersburg >>> Museums



Hermitage Museum

The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. One of the largest and oldest museums of the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and open to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display, comprise nearly 3 million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. The collections occupy a large complex of six historic buildings along Palace Embankment, including the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors. Apart from them, the Menshikov Palace, Museum of Porcelain, Storage Facility at Staraya Derevnya and the eastern wing of the General Staff Building also make part of the museum. The museum has several exhibition centers abroad.

List of collections:
Egyptian antiquities
Classical antiquities
Prehistoric art
Jewellery and decorative art
Italian Renaissance
Italian and Spanish fine art
Knight's Hall
Dutch Golden Age and Flemish Baroque
German and French fine art
Russian art
Neoclassical, Impressionist, and post-Impressionist art


The Kunstkamera was the first museum in Russia. Established by Peter the Great and completed in 1727, the Kunstkammer Building hosts the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, with a collection of almost 2,000,000 items. It is located on the Universitetskaya Embankment in Saint Petersburg, facing the Winter Palace.
The Kunstkamera was established by Peter the Great on the Neva Riverfront. The turreted Petrine Baroque building of the Kunstkamera designed by Georg Johann Mattarnovy was completed by 1727. The foundation stone for the Kunstkammer was laid in 1719.
Peter's museum was a cabinet of curiosities dedicated to preserving "natural and human curiosities and rarities", a very typical type of collection in the period. The tsar's personal collection, originally stored in the Summer Palace, features a large assortment of human and animal fetuses with anatomical deficiencies, which Peter had seen in 1697 visiting Frederick Ruysch and Levinus Vincent. The underlying idea of their kunstkammers was to acquire full knowledge of the world. The Dutch word "konst-kamer" seems to be introduced by the surgeon Stephanus Blankaart in 1680.

Military Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signal Corps

The Military Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signal Corps also known simply as the Artillery Museum, is a state-owned military museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Since 1869 its collections, founded by Peter I of Russia in 1703 and consisting of Russian and foreign military equipment, uniform and decorations, are hosted in the Kronverk (a crownwork) of the Peter and Paul Fortress situated on the right bank of the Neva near Alexander Park. The museum is managed by the Russian Ministry of Defence.
Among the exhibits are
The cannons made by Andrei Chokhov the maker of the famous Czar Cannon
An official chariot used for transportation of the artillery banner in the middle of the 18th century
The cannons from "the entertainment regiments" of Peter the Great
as well as personal arms, medals and gifts received by Russian Emperors, military commanders and designers of arms, trophy arms (Swedish and Turkish arms, Napoleon's personal arms, etc.).

Russian Museum

The State Russian Museum is the largest depository of the Russian fine art in St Petersburg.
The museum was established on April 13, 1895, upon enthronement of Nicholas II to commemorate his father, Alexander III. Its original collection was composed of artworks taken from the Hermitage Museum, Alexander Palace, and the Imperial Academy of Arts. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, many private collections were nationalized and relocated to the Russian Museum. These included Kazimir Malevich's Black Square.

Varshavsky Rail Terminal

The station was originally built in 1851 for a rail line, completed in 1858, from the city to the Tsar's residence in Gatchina. The line was extended in 1859 to Pskov and in 1862 to Warsaw, which at that time was a part of Russian Empire. A branch from the main line that ran to the Prussian border at Virbalis (now Lithuania) connected Saint Petersburg to other capitals of Europe.
In 2001, the station was closed, with long distance rail service diverted to Vitebsk Rail Terminal and commuter service to Baltiysky Rail Terminal, and the depiction of Lenin removed. The trade center Warsaw Express has occupied the building since 2005. On the tracks, a railway museum now holds over 80 exhibits of steam engines, electric and diesel locomotives.

Zoological Museum

The Zoological Museum of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Science is a Russian museum devoted to zoology. It is located in Saint-Petersburg, on Universitetskaya Embankment. It's one of the ten largest nature history museums in the world.
In the front hall of the museum, with the monument to Karl Ernst von Baer by the entrance, the exhibition of the zoological collection of the Kunstkamera acquired by Peter the Great in the early 18th century is located, as well as skeletons of cetaceans, including the enormous 27 m long blue whale in the middle of it, and mounted pinnipeds. In the gallery above the front hall the entomological collection is displayed. The second and third halls form a long passage with systematic collections and dioramas dating back to the early 20th century and are situated to the left of the front hall. The second hall hosts the collection of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and invertebrates, mounted or preserved in formalin, and their skeletons or shells. The collection of mammals, including woolly mammoths, is displayed in the third hall.

Menshikov Palace

The Menshikov Palace is a Petrine Baroque edifice in Saint-Petersburg, situated on Universitetskaya Embankment of the Bolshaya Neva on Vasilyevsky Island. Since 1981, it has served as a public museum, a branch of the Hermitage Museum.
The palace was founded in 1710 as a residence of Saint Petersburg Governor General Alexander Menshikov and built by Italian architect Francesco Fontana and, later, German architect Gottfried Johann Schädel. It was opened in 1711, but the construction continued until 1727 (assisted by Domenico Trezzini, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, Georg Johann Mattarnovy and Jean-Baptiste Le Blond), when Menshikov with his family was exiled to Siberia and his property was confiscated.

Botanical Garden

The Saint-Petersburg Botanical Garden is the oldest botanical garden in Russia, consisting of outdoor and rich indoor collections, which is situated on Aptekarsky Island in Saint-Petersburg and belongs to the Komarov Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It is 18.9 ha in area.
The garden was founded by Peter I in 1714 as a herb garden in order to grow medicinal plants and reestablished as a botanical institution under the name Imperial Botanical Garden in 1823. In 1930 it became subordinate to the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union and in 1931 was merged with the Botanical Museum into the Botanical Institute.
The garden has 25 greenhouses constructed in 1823-1824, some of them are open to the public (guided visits only), including the huge collections of azaleas and other Ericaceae (No. 6), ferns (No. 15), cacti and other succulents (No. 16), various tropical plants (No. 18), the 23.5 m high Big Palm Greenhouse with an important collection of orchids (No. 26) and greenhouse with a pond featuring Victoria amazonica (no. 28). The night blossom of cactus Selenicereus grandiflorus, cultivated there since 1857, is a celebrated event announced in mass media and open to the public in the 16th greenhouse in June-July.

Arctic and Antarctic Museum

The Arctic and Antarctic Museum is a museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was established in November 1930 as part of the Soviet Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, but was not opened until six years later.
The museum is located in Abram Melnikov's Neoclassical church from the 1820s and remains the largest museum dedicated to polar exploration in the world.

Central Naval Museum

Central Naval Museum is one of the oldest Russian museums and one of the world's largest naval museums.
The museum's history officially started in 1709 with the foundation of Model-kammer by Peter the Great for the conservation of ship drafts and models.
Since 1924, the museum has been known by its current name. At first, the museum was located in the Main Admiralty building. However, since 1939-41, it has been located in the former Stock Exchange Building in Saint-Petersburg.