Dominating St. Petersburg’s Palace Square, one of the city’s starkest reminder of Russia’s imperial past, is the monumental pastel-green Winter Palace. Decorated in an opulent mix of Baroque and Neoclassical styles with white columns and 1,945 gilded windows, the Winter Palace was official residence to all of Russia’s tsars and emperors from Catherine the Great’s reign in the mid-18th Century until the revolution. Most of the Winter Palace’s 1,500 rooms have been restored to their former glory of Peter the Great’s time, displaying some of his personal items in rooms lavishly decorated with Dutch tiles and various mineral stones.
The real attraction of the Winter Palace is Russia’s first and greatest art museum, the State Hermitage Museum. Catherine the Great began the collection during her reign and today the staggering collection is made up of around three million Western European artworks. Not only does the collection include pieces from Michelangelo, Matisse and Titian, but it is also home to a vast amount of Russian Impressionism.
Where to Stay in St. Petersburg: the State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace
Benefiting from a central location surrounded by most of St. Petersburg’s historic buildings, Palace Square is close to most of the city’s luxurious five-star hotels, offering well-heeled guests high-end accommodation and conveniences in a historic part of the city. Most of the area’s places to stay feature on-site bars and restaurants, though a short wander from the hotel also offers plenty of options for dining out.
Things to See near the State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace
There are plenty of attractions within walking distance, including the large Bronze Horseman statue only steps away, on the river embankments. History buffs can reach the Kunstkamera Museum on Vasilyevsky Island after a short walk across Palace Bridge. The closest Metro station, Admiralteyskaya, places St. Petersburg’s neighbourhoods within easy reach, and popular areas like Nevsky Prospekt and the Petrogradsky District are just a short Metro ride away. There are many dining out and entertainment options dotted around Palace Square, so you’ll have plenty to discover right on your doorstep.