Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Hermitage - St. Petersburg, Russia, Day 2, August 18, 2017

Despite everything we had read about the Hermitage, we were still unprepared for the beauty and size of St. Petersburg's most  famous museum. 
I would highly recommend a morning group tour as groups are allowed early admission. In fact we were the first to enter the museum and began our Winter Palace tour with virtually no other groups among us. From what we heard this was not the norm.  The incredible sweeping luxurious staircase was without visitors when we arrived.

When we arrived

As we were leaving
The palace is designed to impress astonish and humble visitors ...and it sure does. It has gilded ceilings showing the Greek Gods relaxing in the clouds and the walls are covered in gold and intricate carvings with massive columns and sparkling chandeliers.  All you can say is WOW! 

There are only 15-20 paintings in existence from Leonardo da Vinci - there seems to be arguments on that about authentication of a few but  the Hermitage has two of them.

The loggia is a long narrow hallway more than 200 feet long and only 13 feet wide and it's decorated with colourful paintings.  It's a replica of one of the painter Raphael's crowning achievements of the Vatican loggia in Rome.   Catherine the great had this exact replica built of Raphael's famous hallway here. It's virtually identical to the original, though the paintings here are done with tempera on canvas. 

We were told that there were over 3 million exhibits and it would take about 12 years to see them all if you stood in front of each for one minute! 
Here are some pics from our tour. 

 In the afternoon, we took an excursion to the Nevsky Prospect which was really a transfer to this popular shopping area.  Those without a visa could walk freely around and we were left for the afternoon to wander as we pleased. 

Subway stop for Nevsky Prospect

We visited an amazing food emporium and wandered through the streets looking at palaces churches and enjoying more of the beauty of this fascinating city.
Here are some pics of our afternoon. 

Next - St. Petersburg - Day 3


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