The central part of St. Petersburg includes buildings from the early 18th century when Peter the Great founded on the left bank of the Neva the Admiralty with the then wooden St. Isaac’s Church adjoining it. The Palace Embankments – the official facade of St. Petersburg is a majestic ensemble running for 2.5 Kms along the Neva.
PALACE SQUARE AND ALEXANDER COLUMN
One of the most perfect ensembles in world architecture. The square is about 5 hectares in area. The Winter Palace (constructed 1754-62), a part of the complex of the State Hermitage, and the General Staff Building with its magnificent Triumphal Arch with the Chariot of Glory, skirt the square. The Arch is a memorial to the victory in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Alexander Column was erected in 1829-34 as a monument to Alexander I. The structure is 47.5 m high. Its base is a round granite monolith 25.6 m high (the largest in the world), crowned with a 6 m. bronze figure of an angel of peace. The monolith was erected by 2,000 veterans of war. The column is positioned so as to align perfectly with the entrance to the Winter Palace and Triumphal Arch that serves as the entry to the General Staff building opposite.
I arrived before light in pouring rain (approx 10:30) and left in pouring rain (approx 15:00).
My visit today to the State Hermitage Museum was a wonderful experience as I chose to go on an English Tour and was the only one to be accompanied by a lovely quietly spoken lady who had great knowledge of the buildings, the history and the art. Two and a half hours just flew by and in the short time available to me, gave me a great overview of this incredible place.
The Hermitage is one of the world’s largest art museums. The Halls and rooms of the Hermitage are truly grand with a luxurious Baroque staircase to the first floor of the Winter Palace.
The Museum is especially strong in Italian Renaissance and French Impressionist paintings, as well as possessing outstanding collections of works by Rembrandt, Picasso and Matisse. The origins of The Hermitage can be traced back to the private art collection of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great expanded the collection considerably.
The large cloak room copes with 3,700
and the smaller one 1,400 visitors.