This evening visit to the Hermitage Museum allows you to enjoy the famous collections after its official working hours and avoid the usual large crowds.
The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture, one of the largest and oldest in the world. It was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764. Its collections, of which only a small part is on the permanent display, comprise nearly three million items. Today the Hermitage museum encompasses buildings on the Palace Embankment and its neighborhoods. The Hermitage Museum occupies the Winter Palace - the winter residence of the Russian Tsars, and four more buildings: the Small Hermitage - Catherine's original collection - the Old Hermitage; the Hermitage Theater - Catherine's private theater - and the New Hermitage.
Catherine started her art collection in 1764 by purchasing paintings. Her collection consisted of Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, Antoine van Dyck, Rafael and others. In her lifetime Catherine's acquired paintings from old masters, books, engraved gems, drawings, coins and medals and a natural history collection. Later Russian emperors continued to expand the collection and in 1852 the Hermitage was opened to the public.
Note: The Hermitage requires considerable walking and stair climbing, and there may be lines and delays between galleries. The route of the Hermitage tour is a subject to change without prior notice due to the museum's restrictions. Flash photography is prohibited. Entrance to the Hermitage is not wheelchair accessible; there are approximately 25-step stairs.
New security regulations require that all visitors to the Hermitage Museum go through metal detectors before entering. Tour participants who have implants that cannot go through metal detectors, must carry a medical ID card or other medical documentation; otherwise, access to the museum will be denied.