Visit the Hermitage Museum!
The Hermitage Museum is one of the world’s most prestigious art museums and a must-visit when on a school trip to St. Petersburg. The museum’s foundations lie in the personal collections of the Tsars, and Catherine the Great in particular, who was a prolific collector of fine art.
The collection grew significantly in the post-revolutionary period, when many great works of art were confiscated from both rich, aristocratic Russians and defeated Nazis, and given to the museum for the public to enjoy.
The museum has satellite centres as far away as Venice and Amsterdam. But the main museum in St. Petersburg is itself huge, consisting of 400 rooms spread over three floors of five interlinked buildings!
Did you know?
The Hermitage Museum’s collection consists of over 3 million works of art and cultural artefacts. You’ll only see a fraction of these displayed in the museum’s centres, but even so it’s advisable to plan your visit as there is still so much to see!
Visit the Russian Museum!
The Russian Museum boasts one of the largest collections of Russian fine art in the world. The collection was started by Tsar Alexander III who was fiercely nationalistic. It was his son, Tsar Nicholas II who opened the museum based on this collection in memory of his father.
The collection was bolstered after the Russian Revolution when the private collections of many aristocrats were seized by the state and moved to the museum.
The museum houses over 400,000 exhibits, covering all major periods of Russian art, and this comprehensive overview makes it an unmissable visit for those interested in learning more about Russian culture on a school trip to St. Petersburg.
Did you know?
The Museum is housed in the Mikhailovsky Palace, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Russia. When in use as a palace, receptions held here were frequented by the empire’s most famous poets and writers. It was also famous for its musical salon, which hosted recitals by Liszt, Berlioz, Schuman and Wagner, to name but a few!
Visit the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood!
This magnificent church was funded by the Russian imperial family on the site where Tsar Alexander II was fatally wounded by political nihilists in 1881.
In an otherwise very ‘European’ city the church really stands out as very ‘Russian’. Whereas the rest of the city’s architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, the church is instead inspired by romantic nationalism and is modelled on medieval Russian architecture and that of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.
The church fell into a state of disrepair following the Russian Revolution, during which it was ransacked and looted. And after the Second World War it was used as a warehouse for vegetables. However, it has now been restored to its former glory and is a must-see on a school trip to St. Petersburg.
Did you know?
The church is so elaborate and richly decorated that it went over budget by 1 million rubles, which was a huge amount of money at the time. It took 24 years to build and 27 years to renovate after years of neglect under the anti-theist Soviets.