The State Hermitage Museum
Located between the Neva River and Palace Square, the Hermitage Museum complex consists of five buildings—Winter Palace, Large Hermitage, Small Hermitage, New Hermitage, and the Theatre of Catherine the Great. Celebrated architects from the 18th and 19th centuries designed each of the buildings. The most famous is the Winter Palace, designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, which served as the residence of the Russian czars until 1917. Today, the buildings houses part of the Hermitage’s unique European, Russian, Impressionist and Modern, Roman, Greek, Islamic, and Egyptian collections.
In 1764, the Russian Empress Catherine the Great purchased a considerable collection of Western European paintings, laying the foundation for the modern-day Hermitage. Today, the Hermitage is one of the largest museums in the world and has more than three million objects.
Over the last 20 years, the facilities of the Hermitage Museum have been expanded by the on-going construction of the Staraya Derevnya open storage facility and laboratory complex, as well as the renovation of the General Staff Building to house its collections of contemporary art and the addition of Palace Square and the Alexander Column.