With over 200 museums, thousands of galleries and a UNESCO-protected centre, St Petersburg is a cultural hub. It is also a testament to the history of the Russian empire, having once been at the centre of it, and a combination of sophistication and opulence not often encountered. We’ve picked our top museums to help you get the most out of St Petersburg’s thriving cultural scene.
The renowned State Hermitage Museum is one of the largest and most prestigious museums in the world, and a cultural highlight of St Petersburg. Containing over three million works of art in its 350 rooms – among them paintings, graphic works and sculptures – as well as particularly impressive numismatic and archaeological collections.
The main collection of the museum is housed in the Winter Palace, a work of Baroque art in itself and former home to Russian emperors, while other parts are scattered around palaces and grand venues throughout the city. The museum has a great and varied collection of art, but is perhaps best-known for its Western European collection – works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, El Greco, Picasso and Matisse decorate the walls of this extravagant palace.
For Russian art, look no further than The Russian Museum. Second in size only to The State Hermitage, this museum is filled with Russian artefacts. After the revolution of 1917, many private collections were brought to museums, making these institutions all the more grand. The main part of The Russian Museum is housed inside the Mikhailovsky Palace, a beautiful neoclassical former residence, once known for its lavish balls and theatre performances.
St Petersburg has a thriving contemporary art scene, so a visit to one of the smaller art galleries is also well worth it. The Pushinskaya 10 Art-Centre was established in an disused building in 1989 by a group of ‘arty types’ and has since become one of Russia’s best-known art centres.
And for something a bit different, The Museum of Old Record Players and Phonographs is an interesting touch, created by the respected Russian artist, clown and bear trainer Vladimir Ignatevichem Derjabkinym.
Not sure where to stay? For more information about Splendia and to see our unique selection of Luxury & Character Hotels in St Petersburg, click here.