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Winter Palace Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

By , 27 September 2015

Winter Palace Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
Winter Palace Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg


You can't help being awestruck by the magnificence of the interiors of this building. When you walk up the marble stairs your head turns involuntarily towards the ceilings, which depict epic scenes of battle, betrayal, and well... death. Turn the corner and try not to be dazzled by the giant sparkling chandelier conspicuously suspended by a heavy golden chain. Through the doors and a huge green marble jar with golden ornings fills the space of the next room. Continue on and you're dazzled by more and more gold, gigantic oil paintings, lavish furniture, marble statues, rich carpets and of course Russian girls posing for photos amongst all the splendor.

And it never seems to end.

Which is strange really. I mean, while the Winter Palace in St Petersburg is a fantastic work of art, it does demands one simple question...

What was he thinking?

Seriously. A you walk around the palace you can't help but imagine Peter The Great laying back on some battlefield in the 1700s after a seige against some European Empire and talking with his squire. The scene goes something like this.

"You know what I really need?" Peter says, looking at the distant clouds and chewing thoughtfully on a piece of straw.

"Nyet" The squire obliges his conversation.

"A bigger fucking palace"

According to Wikipedia, the Winter Palace has 1500 rooms, 1945 windows, and 117 staircases. What did they do in all those rooms exactly? And if you lost your favourite fuzzy Russian hat, what chance did you ever have of remembering where you left it?

Probably you just bought a new one.


Here are some odd and interesting facts about the Winter Palace, which is now the home of the Hermitage Museum.

  • The dining room seated a thousand guests.
  • The state rooms accommodated 10 thousand people.
  • Some squatters were once found living in the attic. They were betrayed by the smell of manure from the cow they kept in there.
  • The Bolshevic revolutionaries captured and pillaged it in 1917, then fought amongst themselves for control of the extensive wine cellars.
  • Today it attracts 3.5 million visitors per year (9589 / day).

It's worth a visit, but if you go, just look around for an hour or two. It's way too big to see everything and after a while you going to get a bit lost and overwhelmed.


Winter Palace Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

About Roger Keays

Winter Palace Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Roger Keays is an artist, an engineer, and a student of life. Since he left Australia in 2009, he has been living as a digital nomad in over 40 different countries around the world. Roger is addicted to surfing. His other interests are music, psychology, languages, and finding good food. Click here to subscribe to his weekly blog, or stalk him on Facebook and Twitter.

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