A trip to Russia is, for sure, bound to become a one-of-a-kind experience as the biggest country in the world keeps some truly exceptional treasures and secrets to reveal. If Russia has already made its way to your travel bucket list, the question of which cultural gems and sights can enrich your Russian travel itinerary may come across. In this case, you should know that your acquaintance with Russian history and lifestyle shouldn’t be limited only by significant monuments and beautiful buildings since Russian cities boast a number of unique museums worth your attention as well. So, in this piece, we’d like to introduce you to the most popular Russian museums you simply can’t miss.
Naturally, the top museums of Russia are concentrated in the two main cities, vibrant Moscow and glorious Saint Petersburg. In fact, it is quite a fortunate thing, taking into consideration that the two Russian capitals are the most popular destinations among travelers. Plus, there are plenty of ways to get from one point to another, depending on the budget, time frames, and preferences. In any case, the smartest way to travel between the cities is to hop on one of the direct trains from St. Petersburg to Moscow, ranging from high-speed to overnight trains, which will transfer you in high comfort and with the best value for money. Now let’s proceed to the museums. Make sure to book your tickets in advance – https://www.russiantraintickets.com/en/route/st-petersburg-moscow-railway.
The Hermitage Museum
The absolute Russian record holder in terms of the collection scale and visits per year is the one and only Hermitage. Being the second largest art museum in the world after the Louvre, Hermitage is housed in 6 historic buildings along the Palace Embankment of Saint Petersburg, each having its own unique appearance and not less impressive treasures hidden inside. The gorgeous exposition occupies about 350 halls and boasts around 3 million masterpieces, referring to different epochs of Russian history.
Of course, it’s simply impossible to explore the entire museum fund as you’ll need about 6-7 years to spend at least a minute near each piece. That’s why it is reasonable to choose the exhibition based on your interests and preferences before the actual visit. So what interests you more: the charms of Italian Renaissance or the Dutch Golden Age? The gems of Russian art or French and Swiss fine art? Maybe Egyptian Antiquities? The Hermitage has it all and a lot more!
The State Russian Museum
The remarkable architectural and artistic complex in the historical center of St. Petersburg, the Russian State Museum is the first depositary of Russian fine art in the country, founded in 1895 under the patronage of the last Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II. The main building of the Museum is the beautiful neoclassical Mikhailovsky Palace, and it attracts more than 2.5 million visitors annually.
The permanent exhibition includes the outstanding collections of old Russian paintings, folk art, and masterpieces, ranging from the 12th century to modern times. The State Russian Museum boasts around 400 thousand items, covering all the tendencies and genres of local art. If you strive to explore the museum, note that Mondays are not the best time to go as it is the day when the Hermitage is closed which means you are likely to get stuck in long queues.
The Fabergé Museum
Everybody has heard at least once about the famous creation of Carl Fabergé that made his name known all around the globe, the precious Fabergé eggs. One of the most expensive collections of jewels is housed in a privately owned museum at the Shuvalov Palace in the heart of the city. It is a true must-see of any itinerary around the Northern Capital.
The museum fund contains more than 4000 works, including gold and silver items, beautiful porcelain and bronze. Regarding the eggs themselves, the Fabergé Museum keeps 15 original Fabergé eggs, each having a unique design and enchanting by its beauty and delicate crafting. By the way, some of the remaining eggs can also be seen in Moscow, mostly in the Armory Chamber of the Kremlin.
Om the whole, only 65 of 71 the fascinating eggs survived to the present days: some of them were sent to private collections and museums around the world and some were lost during the Russian Revolution and their location is still unknown. So visiting the Fabergé Museum sounds like a unique opportunity, right?
The State Tretyakov Gallery
One more honeypot for art lovers, Russian art in particular, is the State Tretyakov Gallery. Being a small private collection, started in 1856 by the Tretyakov brothers, the exhibition gradually turned in the most prominent trove of Russian art in the world. Art therapy at the Tretyakov Gallery is a nice chance to get a better understanding of the Russian soul by observing the classics of such geniuses as Serov, Vrubel, Roerich, Vasnetsov, Repin, Shishkin, and more.
It goes without saying that the Tretyakov Gallery is a true highlight of a visit to the Russian capital and should be included on all private Moscow tours, missing it would be a serious mistake. One more handy thing before you schedule the visit to your travel itinerary: the Tretyakov Gallery is closed on Mondays and meets an extremely high demand in the afternoons. Thus, the best time to go is in the morning hours and the evenings of Thursday and Friday when the gallery is open till 9 p.m.
If you are searching for an unusual way to learn about Russian eventful past, go down to the underground, hiding some truly exciting secrets. Stalin’s Bunkers are a real “underground kingdom” with tunnels, command posts and bomb shelters. The most popular destination-museum of that kind is called “Bunker-42” which was built in total secrecy at a depth of more than 50 meters (164 feet) and had a direct connection to the Kremlin.
Now, this strategical object houses a museum, where you can see Stalin’s offices and resting rooms. Here the Supreme Commander of the Red Army spent the harshest days at the beginning of the World War II. So we highly recommend considering adding the secret bunkers to your travel agenda as it is not every day you have the opportunity to explore a hideaway of such scale in the heart of an enormous city. Sounds promising, don’t you think?
To sum up, visiting marvelous Russia is, indeed, a great adventure as it is enviably rich in terms of cultural legacy. So planning your upcoming trip to Russia, don’t disregard the plethora of outstanding museums that’ll make your journey even more impressive and memorable!
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