The Hermitage museum is one of the biggest museums in the world. Louvre museum is its main rival. There are 3 200 000 pieces of art all together in the Hermitage and one needs 11 years if they stand just 1 minute by each object (one should also consider that Hermitage coin collection is around 1 000 000 pieces. Enormous collection of Western European paintings. The biggest collection of Rembrandt paintings after Holland (by the way, the first painting was purchased by Peter the Great, the founder of St. Petersburg). Everyone will find something interesting for themselves! 365 halls! One can just walk there and look at the ceiling, walls, show cases, antique fire places – everything is original, historic and worth admiring.
All together there are 6 buildings in the Hermitage museum (it’s those connected with each other with bridges, passages). In reality they are many more. Which of the buildings are connected with each other? The Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, Raphael Loggia, the Hermitage Theater, New Hermitage (that New Hermitage is older than all other buildings except for the Hermitage Theater). There are also separately standing buildings but they are also property of the Hermitage museum: The Main State, Menshikov’s Palace, Imperial Porcelain Factory Museum, Restoration Center “The Old Village”.
The Hermitage Museum was started by Catherine II (ruling 1762-1796). We are grateful to her for that! She started it as a private museum and bought pieces of art with a great passion. After her death in 1796 there were more than 4000 paintings. I am not mentioning a beautiful cameo collection – carved out stones (usually face carved out in a stone or ivory)which Catherine II loved very much. She always said that she had a “Cameo illness”. Naughty empress! Amazing cameos!