St Petersburg & Russia

Russia, the Romanovs and St Petersburg

“There’s nothing that you can’t find in Petersburg,” the youngest cried enthusiastically, “apart from father and mother, they’ve got everything!”

Fyodor M. Dostoevsky in Crime and Punishment

The immense country of Russia has had a long, turbulent history. It was in the 15th century that the Prince Ivan III the Great established autocratic rule and took the title Tsar of all the Russias. In 1613, the title tsar came into the possession of the Romanov family, which ruled over Russia for over 300 years. In 1712, during the reign of Peter the Great, the court moved from Moscow to St Petersburg.

Under the Romanovs, St Petersburg acquired an array of splendid architecture: palaces and parks, churches and monasteries, theatres, government departments and museums. One of the latter was the Hermitage, in which Tsarina Catharine II the Great housed her enormous art collection. Many of these historic buildings survived the trepidations that the city later endured - the Siege of Leningrad and Soviet rule - and can now be admired again in all their splendour.

The focus in these pages is the 18th- and 19th-century history of St Petersburg, the link between Russia and the Romanovs. Parallel chronological lines show how events unfolded over the years. The growth of the city is looked at in more detail, and the contacts with the Dutch, which played a significant part in this.

Opening hours

Daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed on 25 December 2014 and 27 April 2015

© State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

The Hermitage Amsterdam is located on Amstel 51, Amsterdam

Photo Janiek Dam

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