PixelInitialized

11 must visit museums of Moscow and Saint Petersburg

Written by 56th Parallel

The Museums of Moscow and Saint Petersburg bring to light the rich and deep cultural history of Russia. Visitors will indulge in a journey through history, politics, art, culture, and science. 

Moscow Museums

 

1. The Moscow Kremlin

The Moscow Kremlin is located in the centre of Moscow and is one of the largest architectural ensembles in the world. Historically the Moscow Kremlin has been the residence of the person in power and is today the residence of the Russian President.

The Kremlin, Museums of Moscow and Saint Petersburg

The museum complex includes the Assumption Cathedral, the Archangel Cathedral, the Annunciation Cathedral, the Church of the Deposition of the Robe of the Holy Virgin, the Palace of Patriarch and the Church of the Twelve Apostles, the bell tower of Ivan the Great and the State Armory Chamber.

Domes-of-Annunciation-Cathedral-Moscow-Kremlin

The Museums of the Kremlin preserve unique works of art of different genres. The buildings, which host the museums, are unique architectural designs erected by distinguished architects and masters.

2. State Tretyakov Gallery

The State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow is one of the largest museums in Russia with over 100,000 works of art including icons, paintings, graphics, and sculptures. It boasts the country’s best collection of Russian realism from the second half of the 19th century.

Tretyakov gallery Museums of Moscow and Saint Petersburg

The Gallery collection was started by Pavel Tretyakov, the owner of a successful textile company, and became famous immediately after being opened to the public in 1,870. After Tretyakov’s death, the gallery’s collection grew rapidly, especially after museum collections were privatized: art was bought, donated or transferred from other museums, private collections, cathedrals, and monasteries.

Tretyakov Gallery Museums of Moscow and Saint Petersburg

3. Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

The Pushkin Museum was the first museum to be dedicated to the life and work of the famous Russian poet Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin. The museum complex was founded in 1957 and now houses more than 165 thousand items. Significant artworks from the 19 – 20th centuries are also displayed there.

The museum displays a vast collection of tinted plaster casts of famous ancient, medieval and Renaissance sculptures and a collection of original works of foreign artists, sculptors and graphics together with objects of decorative arts.

4. The State Historical Museum

The unmistakable red-brick palace with its silver roof, towering opposite St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, houses the State Historical Museum, one of the main sightseeing attractions of the Russian capital. Designed by V.Shervud, this Museum was built to commemorate national history, it traces the development of Russia and its people from ancient times to the present.

state history museum night

5. The State Darwin Museum

The State Darwin Museum was established in 1907 by Alexander Kots, one of the first lecturers on Darwinism to work in Moscow. The exhibits of the Darwin Museum present a complete scientific picture of the evolution of the living world. There is a large display showing the variety of wildlife on earth, with animals from all climatic zones from the North Pole to the South. In another gallery, you can follow the development of biology as a science from ancient times to the present. A large part of the collection is devoted to the question of the origin of Man, and of course its future. This is a great museum for families as there is a lot for children to see and quite a few interactive displays.

Darvin museum

6. Moscow Museum of Modern Art  

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art is the only state museum in Russia that concentrates exclusively on the art of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Art museum

The Museum was unveiled on December 15, 1999; its founding director was Zurab Tsereteli, President of the Russian Academy of Arts. His private collection of more than 2,000 works by 20th-century masters was the core of the Museum’s permanent display. Later, the Museum’s keepings were expanded considerably, and now this is one of the largest and most impressive collections of modern and contemporary Russian art.

modern art museum moscow

The Museum’s permanent collection represents main stages in the development of the 20th-century art, as well as pieces by well-known Western masters, such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Henri Rousseau, and others.

7. Polytechnical Museum

The Polytechnical museum is the main museum of science and technology in Moscow. In December 1991 it was declared a federal property and defined as a particularly valuable object of Russian national heritage, including the Museum itself and the Central Polytechnical Library.

technical museum computer

The Museum keeps more than 100 collections with more than 190,000 exhibits. Many of them are unique relics of science and technique.

technical museum

This is the perfect place for a budding scientist to visit. The museum has a number of departments; geology and mining, metallurgy, chemical technology, engineering, automation and computers, automotive transport, radioelectronics and communication, optics, meteorology, and power engineering. Visitors can take part in entertaining physical experiments in the new department Igroteka which is an interactive display.

old car museums of Moscow and saint petersburg

 

St. Petersburg Museums

One of the world’s most beautiful cities, Saint Petersburg is often referred to as an ‘open-air museum’, with so much artistry and history contained in its architecture alone. Of course, it also derives its reputation as an art and history lover’s paradise being a home of one the greatest museums in the world, the State Hermitage.

Still, as Russia’s cultural capital, there’s so much more to the museums of St Petersburg than its most visited attractions. This cosmopolitan city takes contemporary art and emerging artists seriously, home to a host of hip creative spaces and a vibrant, energetic vibe built on a youthful, newfound freedom of expression. Keen to explore St Petersburg’s darker, more unusual side? Start exploring the treasure trove of small museums sprinkled across the art-obsessed city. The below list should give you a good jumping-off-point from the must-sees to just a few of the St Petersburg’s hidden oddities.

1. The State Hermitage Museum 

St Petersburg is a city full of cultural treasures, but the Hermitage trumps them all. One of the world’s greatest collections of art, only the Louvre in Paris and Prado in Madrid can compete in terms of historical importance and size. Some three million precious objects from the Stone Age to the 20th century are preserved here, including the largest collection of paintings in the world.

winter palace

The museum itself is a sight to behold, made up of six historic buildings along the Palace Embankment. Founded by Catherine the Great in 1764, it has drawn countless visitors from around the world since it first opened to the public in 1852.

hermitage museums of moscow and saint petersburg

Of the six buildings of the main museum complex, five are partially open to the public: the Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, New Hermitage and the General Staff Building.

2. The State Russian Museum

The Russian Museum was opened in 1,895 by a decree of Tsar Alexander III, and as such was the first state-owned museum of art in Russia.

Museums of Moscow and Saint Petersburg

Housed in the Mikhailovsky Palace, the Museum houses nearly 400,000 exhibits and has a huge range of Russian art. The exhibits date from ancient icons to the  20th century and include many landmarks in the history of Russian art.

state russian museum Museums of Moscow and Saint Petersburg

3. Saint Michael’s Castle 

Mikhailovsky Castle is a former royal residence in the historic centre of Saint Petersburg, Russia. In the early 1990s, St. Michael’s Castle became a branch of the Russian Museum and now houses its Portrait Gallery, featuring official portraits of the Russian Emperors and Empresses and various dignitaries and celebrities from the late 17th to the early 20th century. The castle looks different from each side, as the architects used motifs of various architectural styles such as French Classicism, Italian Renaissance and Gothic.

moscow-museums

4. Peter and Paul Fortress

A mere speck of land known as Zayachy (Hare Island) became the birthplace of Saint Petersburg, when St Peter the Great founded his citadel on the Neva River in 1703.

Formerly a defensive fort, the citadel grew to include an enormous cathedral which now serves as a museum on the fascinating history of the fortress. Part of the fun of visiting the fortress is crossing the river over the wooden Ioannovsky Bridge, the city’s first bridge. Making your way across, you’ll be overcome with the feeling of being transported in time as you enter through Peter’s Gate and step out between the colossal curtain walls of the fortress.

4. Kunstkamera – Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography  

Located on the banks of the Neva in the centre of St. Petersburg, the Kunstkamera has been the symbol of the Russian Academy of Sciences since the early 18th century. Founded to Peter the Great’s Decree, the Museum opened to the public in 1714. Its purpose was to collect and examine natural and human curiosities and rarities.

Kunstkamera (Saint Petersburg)

Today, collections of Peter the Great’s Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography are among the most complete and interesting in the world. These collections contain nearly two million artefacts and reflect the diversity of traditional cultures.

museums of moscow and saint petersburg

Join us and explore the museums of Moscow and Saint Petersburg on a 56th Parallel Russia Discovery Tour.

Related posts

Moscow’s Art Gallery TrainWhere Moscow metro commuters are exposed to some of Russia’s most famous works of...
st petersburg tour7 reasons St Petersburg is a must visit in summerIf the great cities of Europe competed for the title of ‘Most Beautiful’, St Petersburg would...
Moscow's attractions8 reasons to experience MoscowHere is the one stop shop for experiencing the best of Moscow’s attractions and more. From...

About 56th Parallel

56th Parallel is a travel company specialising in providing packaged tours and travel services in Russia.

Our goal is to redefine travel to Russia, focusing on creating the most rewarding experiences, which help travellers unfolds the soul of this exciting destination.

Articles by Category

Find a tour in Russia

< Return

Destination

Travel Style

Season

If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816