The Hermitage {The Winter Palace}

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭11:33

In all of my dreams of traveling the world, Russia never crossed my mind…it seemed so distant and unattainable!  But in 2013, we found ourselves on a Baltic Sea cruise that would take us to eight different ports of call in eight different countries…something this small town girl never saw coming!  Three of these ports were in the former Soviet Union, and I, being the history buff that I am, found it extremely fascinating!  St. Petersburg was our only port in Russia and it is the second largest city and the most westernized.
(You may remember when we visited the Catherine Palace)

On our first morning, I was so excited that we had landed an early tour of The Hermitage Museum which meant that we would start one hour prior to the general public and not be bombarded by the crowds!  But due to unexpected hassles of immigration and visa issues, our group did not arrive on time, so we got the full experience…including the hordes of visitors! But we were determined not to let that spoil the tour, and were immediately swept into the intriguing history and opulent lifestyle of the Romanov dynasty!  The Hermitage consists of five historic interconnected buildings with the most impressive being the Winter Palace. With just one morning to take in this vast museum, we were only able to hit the highlights…but trust me, you could spend weeks exploring!  Let’s take a look!

The Winter Palace was the main residence of the Romanov Tsars from 1732 until the revolution in 1917.  This Baroque-style palace is also the main building of the Hermitage Museum and is located on the bank of the Neva River.  It is St. Petersburg’s most impressive and visited attraction with more than three million visitors per year.


The Hermitage is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great.  Its collections comprise over three million items including the largest collection of paintings in the world.

The Jordan Staircase of white marble divides at the statue to meet again on the second floor.


The baroque style is a grand introduction to the extravagance of the palace.

As we have traveled, I have learned to always look up, so as not to miss anything!  The architecture and ornamentation of the Winter Palace is completely breathtaking!

Beautiful frescoes!

St. George Hall served as the principal throne room for the Russian Tsars…


…many of the Imperial court’s formal ceremonies and elaborate receptions were held in this room decorated with white Italian carrara marble.

A portrait of Tsar Alexander I mounted on a white steed hangs in the War Gallery of 1812.


This narrow but long room houses 333 gold framed portraits of military commanders instrumental in defeating Napoleon.

Arches, columns, chandeliers, and gilding were in every room…unbelievable  architecture!

I loved this blue room with frescoes and beautiful light streaming through its windows.


 Pavilion Hall, a light filled room, was designed in the mid-19th century…

…using a variety of architectural elements derived from Classical Antiquity, the Renaissance, and the Orient.  The pavilion is adorned with twenty-eight opulent chandeliers…

…on the floor in the niche is a 19th century copy of an ancient Roman mosaic…

…a mosaic table sits in the niche.  The artistry was amazing as we were allowed to closely observe.

The centerpiece of the Pavilion is the magnificent gilded Peacock Clock.

The peacock that is perched in an oak tree spreads its wings and rotates 360 degrees and then bows.   It was designed in the 18th century and the entire mechanism still runs.

This is Catherine’s Hanging Garden, as it is raised beyond ground level.  During the starvation years of the Siege of Leningrad, curators grew vegetables here.

The only piece in The Hermitage by Michelangelo is The Crouching Boy (early 1530’s).


Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna and Child is dated to the first half of the 1490’s.


The Lute Player by Caravaggio is circa 1595.

…and this was just a glimpse of what we saw. Imagine 120 different rooms packed full of masterpieces!  Although there was much more to explore, it was still a wonderful experience!  Thank you for traveling with me!  

Linking with Pieced PastimesSilver Pennies, Life on Lakeshore DriveVMG206Coastal Charm, Dwellings-Heart of Your HomeSavvy Southern Style, French Country Cottage, Stone Gable, Confessions of a Plate Addict, Worthing CourtBetween Naps on the Porch, Cedar Hill Farmhouse, A Stroll Thru Life, The Charm of Home, Imparting GraceKatherines Corner, Rooted In Thyme, Share Your Cup,  21 Rosemary LaneLove Of Home, Rattlebridge FarmRustic & Refined, Poofing The Pillows, What Meegan Makes, Celebrate & Decorate, McCall Manor


  1. Alice says:

    Have never had a desire to visit Russia but after seeing your post on the Hermitage it is now on my bucket list. Beautiful Pam. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of this most beautiful area.

  2. lulu says:

    Such astonishing opulence to say the least. The day I went was rainy and gray but that didn’t dim the sight of what was inside. Great job with your photos.

  3. Thank you so much for taking me on this wonderful, beautiful tour. I love history also, so this very interesting for me. I came over from Shirley’s site. So glad to meet you and I will be following you now.

    Thanks so much and have a wonderful week.


  4. Kim says:

    What a wonderful experience! I can’t imagine being in those large ornate rooms. Thank for sharing something I’d probably never see otherwise. :-)

  5. What a spectacular place! I’ve thought about traveling to Russia but I don’t want to fly on the Russian airline due to their poor safety record and getting in and out of the country is quite a hassle. I’ve never thought about going by cruise but now you have me thinking of that as an option!!

  6. I plan to reread and view your great photos to take it all in. Such amazing opulence in the gilding and architecture. Such talented artisans and painters.
    Thanks for sharing. What a fabulous trip.

  7. Catherine says:

    Ooooohhhhh, how magnificent!! You must have enjoyed this tour so much. And yes – always look up — the ceilings are so very ornate. Thank you for this tour, I so enjoyed it.

  8. Jann Olson says:

    Russia is one place that is not on my bucket list. But your photos look amazing! I may need to rethink that. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  9. Karen says:

    I’ve always wanted to travel to St. Petersburg but my husband has no desire to visit Russia even though we travel to Europe every year. Perhaps I can convince him that a cruise might be a good option.

We love your comments!