Museums in Russia

Hermitage Museum

The State Hermitage is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world. It was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been open to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display, comprise over three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. The collections occupy a large complex of six historic buildings along Palace Embankment, includ ...
Founded: 1764 | Location: Saint Petersburg, Russia

State Historical Museum

The State Historical Museum is a museum of Russian history wedged between Red Square and Manege Square in Moscow. Its exhibitions range from relics of prehistoric tribes that lived on the territory of present-day Russia, through priceless artworks acquired by members of the Romanov dynasty. The total number of objects in the museum"s collection comes to millions. The place where the museum now stands was formerly oc ...
Founded: | Location: Moscow, Russia

Russian Museum

The State Russian Museum (formerly the Russian Museum of His Imperial Majesty Alexander III) is the largest depository of Russian fine art in St Petersburg. The museum was established in 1895, upon enthronement of Nicholas II to commemorate his father, Alexander III. Its original collection was composed of artworks taken from the Hermitage Museum, Alexander Palace, and the Imperial Academy of Arts. After the Russian Revol ...
Founded: 1895 | Location: Saint Petersburg, Russia

Cruiser Aurora

Aurora is a protected cruiser, currently preserved as a museum ship in St. Petersburg. One of the first incidents of the October Revolution in Russia took place on the cruiser. Aurora was one of three Pallada-class cruisers, built in St. Petersburg for service in the Pacific Far East. All three ships of this class served during the Russo-Japanese War. The second ship, Pallada, was sunk by the Japanese at Port Arthur in 1 ...
Founded: 1900-1903 | Location: Saint Petersburg, Russia

Kremlin Armoury

The Kremlin Armory is one of the oldest museums of Moscow, established in 1808. The Kremlin Armoury originated as the royal arsenal in 1508. Until the transfer of the court to St Petersburg, the Armoury was in charge of producing, purchasing and storing weapons, jewelry and various household articles of the tsars. The finest Muscovite gunsmiths (the Vyatkin brothers), jewelers (Gavrila Ovdokimov), and painters (Simon Usha ...
Founded: 1508 | Location: Moscow, Russia

Kolomenskoye

Kolomenskoye is a former royal estate situated several kilometers to the southeast of the city center of Moscow, Russia, on the ancient road leading to the town of Kolomna. The 390 hectare scenic area overlooks the steep banks of the Moskva River. Kolomenskoye village was first mentioned in the testament of Ivan Kalita (1339). As time went by, the village was developed as a favourite country estate of grand princes of Mu ...
Founded: 1532 | Location: Moscow, Russia

Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad

Dedicated to the Defence of Leningrad during the Second World War, or as the Russians call it, the Great Patriotic War, this museum is sombre yet absorbing. Full of displays showing the famine ravaged city (in November 1941, the bread ration was just 250gms a day for workers) and the heroic efforts to somehow get food in from beyond the blockade across the frozen Lake Ladoga, the famous "Road of Life" are depic ...
Founded: | Location: Saint Petersburg, Russia

Dostoyevsky Memorial Museum

The memorial apartment of one of Russia"s most renowned and prolific writers is conveniently located just one block away from Vladimirskaya metro station. Dostoyevsky lived here, his last apartment in St. Petersburg, between 1878 and 1881 and the flat is still filled with memorabilia relating to his life and work. Dostoyevsky based many of his stories and novels in St. Petersburg, especially in the Vladimirsky region ...
Founded: | Location: Saint Petersburg, Russia

Bunker Museum

This bunker was the underground command post of the German general Otto von Lasch during the Battle of Königsberg in 1945. A museum of the city"s German past (which lasted 689 years) and Soviet 'liberation' of the city, including several interesting dioramas of events during the days of the battle.
Founded: 1945 | Location: Kaliningrad, Russia

Pskov National Museum

The Pskov state historical, architectural and art museum, opened in 1876, is one of the oldest museums of Russia. It comprises three separate museums and a wide range of displays. The 2nd floor of the new building houses the war collection, with photos and artefacts from WWII, as well as information on more recent conflicts like Afghanistan and Chechnya. More interesting is the 1st-floor picture gallery, which has works f ...
Founded: 1876 | Location: Pskov, Russia

Kaliningrad Museum of History and Arts

The Kaliningrad Regional Museum of History and Arts, originally a Stadthalle (city hall), was planned by Oberbürgermeister Siegfried Körte in 1907 and opened in the Vorder-Roßgarten district in 1912 according to designs by Richard Seel. It included concert halls, a restaurant, and a garden cafe by the Schlossteich. The Königsberger Philharmonie often performed in the 1,600-seat center. The Stadthalle ...
Founded: | Location: Kaliningrad, Russia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.