The Hermitage we knew was one of the great art collections of the world, but we didn't know that it spilled out into at least four connected buildings along the magnificent Neva River esplanade.
Once inside, it was a grand staircase and then room after room of Baroque grandeur.
The ceilings glittered with gilt and every doorway seemed to be an entry into a palace of gold.
Every niche and ceiling seemed to radiate embellishment.
The throne room was primed and ready to receive the royal derriere.
and crystal chandeliers sparkled above us.
Obviously the buildings themselves are works of art, but the interior is also full of almost three million additional works. Only a fraction of them are on display but what is there could clearly occupy the visitor for weeks.
There were delicate golden miniatures on blue porcelain.
and green Malachite vases that stood taller than a man
And plenty of priceless paintings.
One of the truly moving areas was The Raphael Loggias. It is an exact copy of a huge pictorial cycle that was created by Raphael for the Vatican Palace. Catharine the Great commissioned the copies of the frescoes in the 18th century and they are now a central feature of the New Hermitage.
After over two hours of walking through the Hermitage's palatial halls, we were ready to sit and see a few more of St. Petersburg's sights.
We went by the Kazan Cathedral
|Cathedral of "Our Saviour-on the-Spilt-Blood|