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blog blog 2017 St Petersburg

The Golden Palaces of the Hermitage

 

The State Hermitage Museum is one of the world’s great treasures, both for its palaces and for its magnificent art collection, the world’s largest.  In the next post will be about the art. 

The exterior of the Winter Palace, a green and white 3 story building, is full of sculptures, vases and Corinthian columns.  When you enter are greeted by this magnificent staircase.

Staircase of the Winter Palace
Staircase of the Winter Palace

 

The palaces were built for various Russian czars and are the rival of Versailles.  This Winter Palace has 1786 doors, 1945 windows, 117 staircases and 1057 lavishly decorated rooms.

 

The Chapel, Hermitage
The Chapel, Hermitage

You make your way around the Winter Palace with the aid of a well designed map, which helps a great deal but you have to bear in mind that the palaces were not built with tourists in mind, so you can still have a hard time finding what you are looking for if you are not skilled at map reading.  I found that the guards could get you pointed in the right direction, despite not speaking much if any English, nor I any Russian beyond vodka and nyet.

White and gold room, Hermitage
White and gold room, Hermitage

These gold leaf columns knock you down with their luster.

Hall

 

 

There are many wonderful of caryatids, many of them in gold leaf.  

 

 

The Winter Palace throne room
The Winter Palace throne room
library
library

The ceilings are magnificent as well. 

The photos in this post come from the Winter Palace.  There are 6 others open to the public.  They are the Old Hermitage, The New Hermitage, the Small Hermitage, the Hermitage Theater, and the most recent additions, the General Staff Building and the

Winter Palace, Hermitage, St Petersburg Russia

 

In 1731 Empress Anna Ioannovna commissioned Rastrelli, the court architect, later the famous master of late baroque to build the Winter Palace.  He completed it in 1735.  Seventeen years later Empress Elizaveta Petrovna hired him to expand the building.  However he decided to start over.  The new plans were approved in 1754.  The building was finished in 1764 under Catherine.  

The Winter Palace
The Winter Palace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Palace at night
Winter Palace at night- which I have not seen at this time yet!
Categories
blog blog 2017 St Petersburg

Apraksin Dvor, a working class street market near some very fancy shops in St Petersburg

This is where people with less money go to buy and sell, quite the contrast from the high street just a few minutes away.  It is next to some very fancy areas and is slated for massive development, so this folksy shopping will be moved to the city’s edges.  The area is about 35 acres of streets and buildings in rough shape.  

We bought umbrellas from one of the vendors.  He spoke English fairly well and as it turned out he was born in Pakistan.   He complained that the Russians are adverse to learning any languages.  While we were there a couple came by to ask the price of another umbrella.  He attended them briefly and then came back to say they are from one of the stans.  How could he tell, Peg asked.  From their accent?  No, from their appearance.  The distinction escaped us.  

The goods could be from almost anywhere, except some of the very Russian winter hats with the fur ear flaps and a few other things.  There is a wide and fascinating variety of facial features, however, and in a few cases the dress is not typically western.  I’ll be looking to get photos as we go along. I’ve seen some that would make very interesting paintings.

 

Apraksin Dvor
Apraksin Dvor
Apraksin Dvor
Apraksin Dvor

 

Apraksin Dvor
Apraksin Dvor

 

 

Apraksin Dvor
Apraksin Dvor
Apraksin Dvor
Apraksin Dvor
Gostinvy Dvor shopping center
Gostinvy Dvor shopping center, just around the corner