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ST. PETERSBURG MUSEUMS As a major cultural center, St. Petersburg has hundreds of museums. Some are world-famous and feature on tourist itineraries, while others are not as well-known but can still offer valuable insights. Here we have compiled a directory of some of the best museums in Saint Petersburg
Cruiser Aurora The Cruiser Aurora, moored at Petrovskaya Embankment, in front of the Naval School named after Admiral Pavel Nakhimov, is not only a monument to Russian shipbuilding, but also a symbol of the Soviet epoch. The cruiser was named in honor of the frigate Aurora, the one that heroically defended Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski city during the Crimean War of 1853-1856. The Cruiser Aurora was constructed in the New Admiralty shipyard in 1897. On May 11, 1900 the cruiser was launched, and in 1903 it joined Russian Navy. The cruiser underwent the baptism of fire during the Tsushima battle of the Russian-Japanese war. During World War I the Aurora participated in the military actions on the Baltic Sea. And at the end of 1916 she was put in docks for repairs. The Aurora played an important part in Russian history. The crew of the cruiser supported the Bolsheviks' party, and on 24-25 October (6-7 November, new style) the Aurora took part in the armed rising that led to great political changes in Russia. At 21.40 Moscow time the gun of the cruiser Aurora gave the blank shot. It was the signal to start the assault of the Winter Palace. As a result of the historical assault, the Provisional Government was arrested, and the Bolsheviks' party got the power. It was the beginning of the new era in Russian history.
In the Soviet period the Cruiser Aurora became the training ship for the cadets of naval schools. During World War II the cruiser, berthed in the Gulf of Finland near Oranienbaum, defended Leningrad. The battleship was badly damaged, and in 1944 the Cruiser Aurora was towed to Leningrad for major repairs. For some time she was used as a training ship for the cadets of the Naval School named after admiral Pavel Nakhimov. In 1952 the cruiser was turned into the Ship Museum, which became the branch of the Central Naval Museum. In 1992 the Saint Andrew Naval Banner raised over the Cruiser Aurora. The Aurora exposition features over 500 original documents, photographs, and ship objects concerning the cruiser's history and its participation in Russian history. For those who wish there are thematic excursions of the underwater cruiser part and machine-boiler sector.
State Hermitage The State Hermitage Museum occupies five magnificent buildings along the Neva River Embankment in the very center of Saint Petersburg. They are the Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage, the Large Hermitage, the New Hermitage, and the Hermitage Theater. The part of the museum's exposition is displayed in the Palace of Alexander Menshikov and in the General Staff Building in the Palace Square. The Winter Palace, the official residence of Russian emperors, designed by architect B. Rastrelli in 1754-1762, occupies the leading place in the whole ensemble. The State Hermitage features one of the largest art collections in the world. It numbers about 3 million items, including masterpieces by outstanding artists. The Hermitage collection includes culture objects embracing the period from the Stone Age to modern times. The architect of the Winter Palace, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, confirmed that it was created "for Russian glory only". The palace became the symbol of the brilliant 18th century. It combines the power and energy of the baroque style with solemn grandeur of classic interiors, reminding of Russia's greatness. The construction works of the Winter Palace were started in the reign of Empress Elizabeth, and proceeded during the short time of Peter III's ruling. In 1762 Catherine II became the Empress of Russia and the owner of the palace. It was her who started the Hermitage collection by purchasing in 1764 the first collection of paintings that used to belong to Prussian merchant Gantsovsky. Collecting works of arts became very important for Catherine the Great. Such art experts as Diderot, Voltaire and other connoisseurs of European painting helped Catherine to acquire the best works for her collection. A very narrow circle of people could admire the paintings kept by the Empress in her palace. Catherine the Great called it the Hermitage, the French word that means "hermit's dwelling".
Life of Russian Royal family was closely connected to the Hermitage. New masters decorated the interiors according to their tastes and wishes, acquired new works of art, and enlarged the collection started by Catherine the Great. After the Great Russian Socialist Revolution of 1917 the Hermitage was turned into museum, and its treasures were open to the general public. The halls of the first storey of the New Hermitage contain the works by Antique sculptors, as well as collections of Greek and Etruscan vases. One of the richest museum departments is dedicated to Italian art. Renaissance masterpieces are displayed in the halls of the Large Hermitage. The gems of the collection include Madonna Litta and Madonna Benois by Leonardo da Vinci. In the Hermitage, one can admire works by Raphael, Titian, Giorgione, and Michelangelo. In the Spanish halls one can see the paintings by Velasquez, Murillo, El Greco. Dutch and Flanders art is represented in canvases by Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, and Snyders. The Hermitage boasts a great collection of French paintings, including works by Fragonard, Greuze, Chardin. The museum also possesses a valuable collection of impressionists and postimpressionists: Renoir, Picasso, Van Gogh and others. The Hermitage collections include objects of primitive culture. Some of the exhibits are kept in the Hermitage's Golden Storeroom. Among the items are splendid works by Scythian jewelers that were found during the Black Sea Coast burial mounds excavations.
DOSTOYEVSKY MEMORIAL MUSEUM The Dostoevsky Memorial Apartment Museum is located in the apartment in which Dostoyevsky lived from 1878 to 1881. It was Dostoevsky's last apartment in St. Petersburg, and is full of memorabilia relating to his life and work. Dostoyevsky wrote a lot about St. Petersburg, setting the action of most of his novels here.
State Russian Museum The State Russian Museum contains the world's largest collection of Russian fine art. It was opened on March 7 (March 19, New Style), 1898. The collections of the Russian Museum number over 400,000 exhibits. All genres and schools of fine, applied and folk art from the 10th to the 20th century are presented in the museum. The original interiors of the Mikhailovsky Palace harmonically supplement the exposition of the Russian Museum. The exposition of the Museum opens with the Ancient Russian painting department, where the visitors can see the icons by Andrei Rublev, Dionisiy, Simon Ushakov, as well as by unknown masters of Novgorodian and other schools of Russian icon painting. The department of the art of the 18th century presents marvelous portraits by A. Antropov, F. Rokotov, D. Levitsky, V. Borovikovsky. The department also features sculptural works by B. Rastrelli, F. Shubin, M. Kozlovsky, monumental canvases by A. Losenko. The museum contains an interesting collection of works of the first half of the 19th century. Among them there is "The Last Day of Pompeii" by K. Brullov, "The Brazen Serpent" by F. Bruni, "The Tidal Wave" by I. Aivazovsky. Wandering around the Russian Museum halls, one can get acquainted with the history of realism in Russian art of the second half of the 19th century as well. The visitors can see genre canvases by A. Venetsianov and A. Fedotov, landscapes by A. Savrasov and I. Levitan, historical paintings by I. Surikov, works by V. Perov, I. Kramskoi, I. Repin and many others. The artists of the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century are widely presented in the exposition. Among them are V. Serov, M. Nesterov, N. Rerikh, M. Vrubel, B. Kustodiev.
The exposition dedicated to the painting of the first half of the 20th century presents the canvases of the artists of the so-called "Soviet school". Paintings, sculptures and plates present life of Russia in the 20th century. One can get acquainted with the works by V. Oreshnikov, E. Moiseenko, V. Muhina, M. Anikushin, V. Favorsky, E. Kibrik and others. The department of the modern art is the youngest in the Russian Museum. It was founded at the end of the 1980s in order to demonstrate new and far-out kinds of art, such as installation, video art, modern photographic art and so forth. This collection has been constantly growing. The collections of the Russian Museum also feature sculpture, numismatics, ancient applied art, prints. Annually the museum houses about 30 temporary exhibitions. The Russian Museum occupies four magnificent buildings located in the center of Saint Petersburg. They are the Stroganov palace, the Marble palace, the Mikhailovsky (Engineer) Castle and the main building, the Mikhailovsky Palace with the Benois wing. The Mikhailovsky palace bears the name of its owner, Great Prince Mikhail Pavlovitch, the junior brother of Emperor Alexander I.
Cabin of Peter I The Cabin of Peter I is a unique monument of Saint Petersburg's architecture. The cabin, which is the only wooden structure of the city foundation period that survived until nowadays, was constructed within a very short time - from 24 till 26 May, 1703. The cabin, made of hewn pine-tree logs and painted brick-like, was the first residence of Peter the Great in Saint Petersburg. The planning of the tsar residence was very simple. It consisted of a study and a dining-room separated with a hall and a bedroom. The inside fittings of the room were quite modest. The walls were covered with white linen. Peter I preferred small quarters, that's why the ceiling height was just 2,5 meter and the doors were even lower. Peter I periodically lived in his "palace" during his visits to Saint Petersburg underway. The house did not feature heating, so the tsar stayed in the cabin only during summers. On the roof of the house there were wooden carved mortars and bombs "with burning fire". Saint Petersburg climate damaged the log cabin, and in 1723 the tsar ordered to protect the house with a roofed gallery. Many years passed, and in 1844 the cabin of Peter I was covered with a brick case designed by architect R. Kuzmin. At the end of the 19th century the garden in front of the palace was decorated with a bronze bust of Peter the Great sculptured by P. Zabello. In 1930 the historical and memorial museum The Cabin of Peter I was opened. During World War II the exhibits were evacuated or hidden within the city. The cabin itself suffered from bombing, but it was restored and opened to the public again in 1944. Nowadays the exposition of the Cabin consists of Peter the Great epoch's objects, as well as personal belongings of Saint Petersburg's founder and his close associates. The visitors to the Cabin of Peter I can see the tiled stove faced with Dutch tiles that dates back to Peter times, furniture pieces, prints, paintings by unknown Dutch artists, and applied art objects. The exposition also features the boat that was probably made by Peter I himself. In the museum one can find the materials concerning the Northern war as well. During the restoration works of 1971-1976 the masters reconstructed original paintings of the walls, doors and window panes. One of the most interesting exhibits in the museum is the plaster hand print of Peter the Great.
Kunstkammer The Kunstkammer (translating from German - "chambers of curiosities") was founded in 1718. The building was designed by the architect G. Mattarnovi. It was meant for the library and the collections of "monsters and rarities" gathered by Peter I. The construction works of 1718-1734 were supervised by several architects, such as G. Mattarnovi, N. Gerbel, G. Kiaveri and others. The interiors of the Kunstkammer were decorated according to architect Zemtsov's design. In 1747 the fire destroyed the building, so only the charred walls were left. The architect S. Tchevakinsky was the one to restore the Kunstkammer, but the new building did not feature the upper circle of the tower. This part of the building was restored only after World War II by architect R. Kaplan-Ingel. The Kunstkammer features a very favorable location. Situated on the bank of the Neva River, the building could be seen from far distances. M. Lomonosov explained that Peter the Great wanted people to see the Kunstkammer building and think of the importance of sciences. Since the Kunstkammer belonged to the Academy of Sciences, this explanation sounds like a very realistic one. In 1727 the collections of Peter the Great were transmitted from the house of the disgraced grandee Kikin to the Kunstkammer. Since then the first Russian museum was always full of visitors. Until the end of the 18th century the building of the Kunstkammer housed some departments of the Academy of Sciences founded by Peter the Great. Nowadays the Kunstkammer contains the collections of Peter the Great's Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography based on the gatherings of Saint Petersburg's founder. Soon after the end of World War II the museum of M. Lomonosov was opened in the Kunskammer. The great Russian scientist worked in the building for over a quarter of the century. The exposition of the museum is dedicated to the Academy of Sciences development and Lomonosov's contribution to Russian science. The visitors to the museum can see original documents and objects of Lomonosov's time, including scientific tools, books, portraits, prints, some of which used to belong to Lomonosov himself.
For three centuries since the museum's foundation the collection of the Kunstkammer has been constantly growing. Many famous travelers made outstanding contributions to the enlarging of the museum collection. D. Cook, I. Kruzenshtern, Y. Lisnyansky, F. Bellinsgausen, N. Mikluho-Maklay and others brought from their oversea travels real treasures. Nowadays there are several permanent exhibitions devoted to the ethnography of the peoples of Africa, America, China, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Oceania and other countries, and the exhibition Anatomical Rarities of the Kunstkammer. At the ethnographic exhibitions the visitors can see models of religious and dwelling houses from the different ethnographic regions of the earth, traditional clothes, instruments of labor, domestic utensils, ceramics, decorated glass objects, artistic metal works, including objects of precious metals, musical instruments, religious objects, ritual accessories, sets of traditional weapons, and so on. One of the most famous exhibits of the Kunstkammer is the unique Globe-Planetarium of Gottorp. It was created in Germany in the 17th century and during the Northern War was presented to Peter the Great who brought it to Saint Petersburg. The diameter of the globe is 3,1 meters. Outside the Globe all known by that time continents, seas and rivers were pictured and inside there was the first planetarium in the world.
Arctic and Antarctic Museum The silent white continent has always been attracting scientists and explorers. For a long time Russia and then the Soviet Union held the lead in the opening up and exploration of Polar Regions. In the Soviet period a special museum that was meant to cover this field of knowledge broadly was established in Leningrad. The museum was founded in 1930 as the department of the Arctic Institution and opened to public in January 1937. The basis of the collection was formed from the exhibits of Traveling polar exhibitions that regularly took place in Leningrad, Moscow and Arkhangelsk in 1923 - 1935. During World War II the museum was evacuated to Krasnoyarsk, and already in March 1950 the citizens of Leningrad could walk again about the halls of the favorite museum. At the end of the 50s soviet scientists launched the investigation of Antarctic. Soon afterwards the first exposition devoted to Antarctic was opened and the museum was renamed the Museum of Arctic and Antarctic.
The museum is situated in the former building of the Nikolskaya Church, built in 1820 - 1838 to the design of architect A.I.Melnikov. The building was declared the architectural monument of the 19th century. Nowadays there are several permanent exhibitions in the museum: Nature of Arctic, Antarctic, Discovery and History of Exploration of Northern Sea Route, Economy and Culture of Northern Regions. The exhibition devoted to the nature of the Arctic, familiarizes with geography and natural resources of Polar Regions, tells about the unique flora and fauna of tundra and Northern seas. The typical forms of adaptation of arctic species to the rough life are demonstrated with concrete examples. The wonderful dioramas Tundra in Winter; Tundra in Summer; Shokalsky Glacier in Novaya Zemlia; Matochkin Shar Straight illustrate the life of the Arctic. The center of the museum exposition is a large relief model of the Northern hemisphere with the land, sea and geographical borders of the Arctic The Discovery and History of Exploration of the Northern Sea Route Department presents the discovery, exploration and development of navigation since XI -XII centuries until present time across the North - East Passage or, as it is known in Russia, the Northern Sea Route. The pioneers of the Northern seas were Russian coast-dwellers who traveled back and forth along the Northern coasts of Eurasia. The fragments of the ancient sailing vessel (koach), clothes of Polar navigators, dating back to the 16 - 17 century, and other relics are on display. The expeditions headed by V. Bering, V. Chichagov, F. Wrangel, G. Sedov, V. Rusanov, G. Brusilov and others made an outstanding contribution to science and development of the North. The major part of the exposition is devoted to the so-called "Tchelyuskin epopee". The expedition vessel "Tchelyuskin" was caught in the ice, crashed and sank. The ship's crew and expedition team had to survive on drifting ice for 60 days and had to endure the most severe of weather conditions. They were finally rescued by the polar aircraft. Amongst the most interesting exhibits of the department are the original equipment of the Soviet drifting stations: cloth, furniture, scientific instruments, personal items used by the members of polar expeditions and even, an equipped mobile cabin of the drifting station "Severnyi Polyus -3". The exposition ends with the active model of aurora, visually demonstrating the unique natural phenomenon. The exposition of the Antarctic department familiarizes with the nature and geography of Southern Polar region and tells about the history of exploration of this mysterious continent. Russian navigators F. Bellinsghausen and M. Lazarev were the first to see the coast of the Antarctic Continent. In January 1820 two small sailing boats "Vostok" and "Mirnyi" pushed through the storms and fogs, drifting ice belt and chain of giant icebergs and reached the continent later called the Antarctic (opposite to the Arctic).
The last exhibition is devoted to the economy and culture of the natives of the Northern Regions. The inclement climate and unique nature of the Arctic determined the way of life and occupation of the indigenous population. Hunting, fishing and deer-raising were the primary occupations of the Yakut, Nenet, Koryak, Evenk and Chukchi people for many centuries. In the 20th century rich resources of raw materials were discovered in the Arctic, mines and modern plants were built and now work there. Samples of national cloths, traditionally made of reindeer skin and fur colorfully decorated with beads, ivory carvings, works of applied art, as well as paintings and sculptures are on display.
ST ISAAC'S CATHEDRAL St. Isaac's Cathedral was once the main church of St. Petersburg and the Russian Empire's largest church. It was built in 1818-58 by French-born architect Auguste Montferrand. One hundred and eighty years later the gilded dome of St. Isaac's still dominates the skyline of St. Petersburg. The facades are decorated with sculptures and massive granite columns (made of single pieces of red granite), while the interiors dazzle the eye with mosaic icons, paintings and columns made of malachite and lapis lazuli. A large stained glass of the resurrected Christ, located inside the main altar, is truly fascinating. The church, designed to accommodate 14,000 standing worshipers, was closed in the early 1930s and reopened as a museum. Nowadays, church services are held hero only on major occasions.
Menshikov Palace The Menshikov Palace is one of the first stone mansions in Saint Petersburg. After the glorious victory of Russian troops in Polatava battle on June 27, 1709 it became clear that Swedish army was about to lose the Northern War. It was obvious that the enemy troops would never attack the lands on the Gulf of Finland Coast, so the conditions were favorable enough for Saint Petersburg to grow. Peter I, the founder of the city, asserted that "the victory at Poltava put the perfect stone in Saint Petersburg basis". The construction of the Menshikov Palace was started in 1710 under supervision of architect D.-M. Fontana. Soon he left Saint Petersburg, and in three years German master J. Shadel took his place. The palace was put up in several stages. The famous restorer A. Gessen determined that at first the Menshikov Palace looked like a relatively small mansion that was lately enlarged by building two symmetrical wings that formed a garden in front of the palace. Along the palace walls an open gallery was constructed, so the construction looked like a single whole. The garden was decorated with numerous sculptures, nice fountains, grottos and greenhouses with exotic plants. The bank of the Neva River in front of the palace was equipped with a dock so the ships could land close to the Menshikov Palace gala entrance.
The palace built for the associate of Peter I is a very immense construction. It combines elements of both Russian and Western European architecture. Some parts of the palace remind of Italian Renaissance palazzo, and the vaults decoration of the Menshikov Palace is typical for Russian architectonics. The visitors of the palace can see original interiors, such as the hall, the gala staircase, the Dutch-style rooms with tiles covering the walls and the ceilings. The interiors of the palace are decorated with gold, silver, marble, precious kinds of wood, paintings, moldings, Antique Italian sculptures, large Venetian mirrors, crystal chandeliers, Chinese silk wallpaper, and tapestries. The palace features rich collections of applied art objects, sculpture, coins and canvases by Russian and European artists. The Walnut study is especially remarkable. The restorers of the study discovered under the plafond painted in 1717-1719 by F. Pilmann a fresco dated back to the first quarter of the 18th century. It depicts Peter I as a victorious warrior. When Alexander Menshikov and his family were exiled to Siberia, his magnificent palace was adjusted for the needs of the First Cadet Corps. Most of the interiors were changed. In the second half of the 20th century the palace was restored to its original look. The Menshikov Palace was opened to the public in 1981. Nowadays the palace houses part of the State Hermitage collection dedicated to Russian culture.
MIKHAILOVSKY (ST. MICHAEL'S) CASTLE The Mikhailovsky Castle - now a branch of the Russian Museum - is one of the most mysterious buildings in St. Petersburg. The history of the castle, built in 1797-1800 for Russia's most enigmatic monarch, Emperor Paul I, has seen some dramatic turns, before finally becoming a part of the Russian Museum in the early 1990s. Despite being built for his security, Paul I was assassinated in his own bedroom on March 12, 1801, shortly after he moved into his newly-built castle. It now houses the Russian Museum's Portrait Gallery, featuring official portraits of the Russian Emperors and Empresses, as well as of various dignitaries and celebrities from the late 17th to the early 20th centur
Zoological Museum The Zoological Museum in Saint Petersburg is the third largest museum of this kind in the world. It also is one of the oldest museums in Russia: it was founded in 1832 on the base of the Zoological Chamber of the Kunstkammer. The Zoological Museum was opened to the public in 1838, and its' first director was its' founder, F. Brandt. In 1896 the collections of the museum were transmitted to the former south warehouse of the Exchange Stock House, and since 1901 public was allowed to see the exposition there. In 1930 the museum was turned into the Zoological institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences. The exposition of the museum numbers over 30 000 exhibits. It is just a small part of the museum funds that number over 15 million items representing all the groups of animal world - invertebrate, fish, amphibious, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The exhibition is organized in the systematic way. There is a special collection, illustrating Darwin's theory of evolution. Hundreds thousands of typical specimens (so-called etalons) preserved in the museum are of special scientific value. The museum also treasures unique exhibits representing rare animals, listed in the International Red Book, or extinct species. The collections of the Central Asia animals obtained by Przhevalsky and Kozlov are unique, as well as the gatherings of insects, marsupial animals, birds, snakes, corals and mollusks. The exposition of the Zoological Museum also represents exhibits collected during expeditions headed by N. Mikluho-Maklai, I. Kruzenshtern, F. Bellinsgauzen. There are several dioramas where animals are presented in natural environment. For example, dioramas "Numbrays," "Rookery of Fur Seals," "Sea Shore Colony of Birds", "Saigas in Summer" and "Komodo Dragon." One of the most precious exhibits of the museum is Berezovian mammoth. The huge, well preserved ancient beast that had stayed for 40 thousand years in permafrost was found in Siberia on the bank of the River Berezovka. In May 1901 to that place a special expedition was sent. A log house was built over the creature and for two months it was heated to defreeze the mammoth. In Saint Petersburg one of the first to see the mammoth were the members of the Royal family. The unique find was shown to the public only in May 1903 when German specialists had made a special showcase where the mammoth stays till nowadays. The museum also treasures mummified baby mammoths Dima and Masha, who died 40 thousand years ago. Dima, known to all the scientists of the world as Magadan mammoth, was found at the gold-field on the valley of the stream Kirgilax in 1977. The six-month-old mammoth most probably had strayed and fall into uliginous well-like lake, from which it couldn't get out. The Zoological Museum regularly houses thematic exhibitions and temporary displays of the world museums rarities. Over 800 000 visitors attend the Zoological Museum annually.
The Central Naval Museum is one of the oldest museums in Russia and one of the largest of its kind in the world. It originates from the Model Chamber, founded by Peter the Great in 1709. Initially it was a drawing workshop where all the ship models and drawings were kept. In 1805 Alexander I signed the order concerning foundation of the Sea Museum based on the Model Chamber collections. In the new museum not only collections of ship machines, books and rarities were stored, but also the most modern navigation tools for Russian sailors were collected. When the Admiralty library was included in the collection of the Sea Museum, it became the largest cultural fleet center in Russia. Such outstanding seafarers as I. Kruzenshtern, Y. Lisyanskiy, F. Bellinsgauzen, F. Vrangel and others participated in the museum collections' formation. Among the objects they brought from their sailings were weapons, boats, minerals, stuffed animals and birds, and so forth. The model workshop opened in the Sea Museum in 1818 became the base for Russian ship modeling development. In 1827 Nicolas I ordered to abolish the Sea Museum, as the Emperor considered it to be useless and uninteresting. The museum collections were transmitted to the Academy of Science, the Cadet School, and the Admiralty. Anyway, in 1867 the museum was revived. Its' collections were formed out of the Model Chamber exhibits and items found in the Admiralty, sea arsenals and storehouses. The exposition included new weapon types, ship models and drawings, sea equipment. In 1908, when the birthday of the museum was solemnly celebrated, it was given the name of its' founder, Peter the Great. After the Revolution of 1917 the collection of the museum was enlarged considerably due to the expropriated collections. A lot of exhibits connected with the royal family and famous aristocratic families were destroyed as not corresponding with the new ideology. In 1924 the museum got its modern name - the Central Naval Museum.
In 1939 the Central Naval Museum was given one of the most beautiful buildings in the city - the Stock Exchange House. The Stock Exchange, the focal point of wonderful architectural ensembles of the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island, was constructed in 1805-1810 by celebrated architect Thomas de Thomon. The building is decorated with allegorical sculptural compositions: Neptune with Two Rivers and Navigation with Mercury and Two Rivers. They underline the connection between the Stock Exchange House and sea trade. The main exposition of the museum enlightens the history of the Russian navigation and Russian Fleet from the ancient time till nowadays. The visitors can learn about the creation and history of Russian navy, the most important naval battles that brought the glory to the Russian Fleet, geographical discoveries, circumnavigation and celebrated expeditions, the creation of the missile atomic navy in the USSR in 1965-1975. The exposition ends with the exhibition devoted to the state of Russian Navy nowadays. In all, the Central Naval Museum stocks more than 8,000 items. Among them there are models of ancient and modern ships, navigation tools, patterns of weapon and equipment, maps, photos, flags and banners, war booty, personal belongings of the famous Russian navigators, rich collections of paintings and numismatics. The museum features paintings by such artists as I. Aivazovsky, A. Bogolubov, L. Caravaque, W. Huckert and others. The oldest exhibit displayed is the ancient dug-out the archaeologists date back to the 1st millennium B.C. The museum treasures "The grandfather of the Russian Fleet" - the famous vessel of Peter I.
CHURCH OF SAVIOR ON THE SPILLED BLOOD This marvelous Old Russian-style church was built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated on March 1, 1881. Built in 1883-1907, the church was designed in the spirit of sixteenth- and seventeenth century Russian architecture, inspired particularly by St Basil's Cathedral on Red Square in Moscow. The interior of the church, a memorial to the late Emperor Alexander II, was decorated with different marbles and several thousand square yards of mosaics. After the October Revolution of 1917 the church met the sad fate of most churches in the country. Now it has been restored and reopened to visitors.
Alexander Pushkin Memorial Museum The flat on Moika Embankment is the last place where the outstanding Russian poet Alexander Pushkin lived. He accommodated there with his family from October, 1836 till January 29, 1837. It was the flat Pushkin left for his fatal duel with Dantes. In the study of the flat Pushkin died on January 29 February 10, New Style), 1837 at 14.45 Moscow time. The building on Moika Embankment, 12 was constructed in 1720s and econstructed at the end of the 18th-the beginning of the 19th century. Since 1806 it belonged to the Volkonskies, Alexander Pushkin was a friend of. The flat where Pushkin and his family lived was in the dress circle of the mansion. It was here, in the study that the poet finished his "Capitan's Daughter", worked on the "Peter the Great Chronicles" and wrote his last poem. In the study of the memorial flat the visitors can see the collection of over 4,000 volumes in different languages, Pushkin's desk and the armchair, as well as the poet's personal belongings, such as the ink, the pen, the waistcoat Pushkin was wearing on the day of the duel. The exposition of the museum features Pushkin's death mask and the medallion with a curl of his hair. The flat is decorated with portraits of Pushkin, his friends and relatives. In the flat one can see furniture, tableware and accessories typical for the poet's epoch. Some of them belonged to Pushkin's family. Tsarist government didn't favor the poet during his life and after his death strove to consign to oblivion all the facts connected with him. That's why the museum on Moika Embankment appeared only in 1925 under the Soviets. Naturally the apartment had changed a lot for the century that had passed since the time Pushkin lived there. In 1987 after the painstaking reconstruction work based on the rough plan drafted by Zhukovsky after Pushkin's death and the memorials of poet's contemporaries, the original look of the flat was reconstructed. The masters even managed to restore a part of the gala staircase. In 1950 in the yard of the mansion located on Moika Embankment, 12 the monument to Alexander Pushkin sculptured by N. Didikin was established. The mansion also features a memorial plaque reminding that it was the place where one of the greatest poets in the world history lived and died. The tradition of literary and musical evenings held in Pushkin's flat has been maintained for many years. February 10 is a special memorial day for the museum. Annually on this day one minute silence honors the memory of the great Russian poet. Nowadays the Pushkin Memorial Museum is the only one of this kind in Saint Petersburg. Literary and historical exhibitions held in the museum chart poet's life and work, tell about the tragic duel and the last days of his life and picture the broad panorama of Pushkin's epoch - the beginning of the 19th century.
Yusupov Palace The Yusupov Palace located on Moika Embankment is one of the most beautiful examples of classicism style constructions in Saint Petersburg. Decorated with six-column portico, the palace delights with harmony of proportions and silhouette elegancy. On the site where the palace is situated used to be the mansion that belonged to Prince Shuvalov. In 1760s the mansion was overbuilt and extended to the design of the architect J.B. Vallen de la Mothe. In 1830 the palace became the property of Prince N. Yusupov, who was one of the richest and the most powerful persons in Russia. He ordered to throw out a new wing and rebuild the gala rooms' suite of the palace. In 1858-1859 such architects as I. Monigetti, A. Stepanov, A. Vaitens and others participated in the palace interiors planning. The Yusupov Palace features original interiors of the 19th-beginning of the 20th centuries. The rooms are decorated in various styles: baroque (the theater), Empire style (gala halls), Oriental style (the Turkish study), neoclassicism (some rooms of the ground floor) and others. The interiors amaze with rich decorations that includes paintings, carving, marble, mirrors, crystal chandeliers, silk, exquisite furniture and so forth. The Yusupov family possessed extensive collections of paintings, sculptures and applied art objects. Some of them are on the display in the palace exposition.
The palace is worth visiting not only as one of the best monuments of the palace architecture of the 19th - beginning of the 20th century but also from the historical point of view. The palace, to be precise - its cellar, became the setting of the murder of one of the most scandalous figures in Russian history - Grigory Rasputin. Nowadays the cellar where the dramatic events took place houses the exhibition "Grigory Rasputin: Pages of Life and Death". The visitors can see the wax figures of Rasputin and plotters and other interesting exhibits. In 1918, after the October Revolution, the Yusupov Palace was expropriated, and the art objects from the palace were sold or transmitted to the State Hermitage. Since 1925 the Teachers' House was housed in the palace. In 1958 the interiors of the palace were badly damaged by fire. It took several years to restore the rooms and the halls of the Yusupov palace. In 1987 the theater of the palace was opened to the public: it became the place for music concerts and literature evening arrangements. Nowadays the visitors can admire the splendor interiors of one of the most beautiful palaces in Saint Petersburg.
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