Thanks to Corinthia Hotels, I had an incredible opportunity to visit Russia for the very first time last month! If you read my post about the beautiful Corinthia property in St Petersburg, you’ll already know that the hotel offers the Art à la Carte Package. A special cultural package to visitors that allows guest to experience the best of what St Petersburg has to offer in terms of art and theater. I had the pleasure of visiting world-renowned museums by day, followed by magnificent ballet and opera performances in the evenings. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience in this very unique Russian city.
St Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the entire city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! It used to be the capital of Imperial Russia and is now the second largest city of modern Russia. I was blown away by the Russian architecture, but I also noticed a European flavor throughout the city which was a nice surprise. Now is the perfect time to visit St Petersburg, as it was recently named Europe’s Leading City Destination by the World Travel Awards!
Russia might be cold in the winter, but you can keep warm in their very impressive museums. I was lucky enough to visit four fascinating museums during my trip.
The Hermitage Museum
The first one on our itinerary was the Hermitage Museum. Visiting the most famous art museum in Russia was a dream come true. It houses the biggest collection of European art in the world, spanning from ancient times till present. The Hermitage has over three million items which are displayed throughout six historic buildings along the Palace Embankment. One of these impressive buildings is the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors. If you really want to experience the best of what The Hermitage has to offer, I would give yourself at least two days to thoroughly explore.
The Erarta Museum
If modern art is more your style, I’d highly recommend visiting the Erarta Museum which holds the largest private museum of contemporary art in Russia. Along with their permanent collection, you can often see different exhibition projects, especially from talented Russian artists from various regions. While not as extensive as the Hermitage, you will still find almost 3,000 works of contemporary art which were created between 1945 and present time. I learned that the museum prides itself on showcasing work from unknown artists right alongside renowned masters of art!
The Erarta Museum has many interactive exhibits throughout the floors, which were my favorite.
The Russian Museum
Our next visit was to The State Russian Museum, one of the largest museums in the country. It was actually the first museum of Russian art, initiated by Emperor Alexander III in the later 1800’s. The historical and unique architectural complex the collection is housed in is impressive enough! The main building of the museum is the Mikhailovsky Palace, a beautiful Neoclassical residence of the Grand Duke Michael Paclovich which was built around the 1820’s. I really enjoyed admiring magnificent pieces of Ruissian art while strolling through the opulent palace halls!
A visit to St Petersburg isn’t complete without a trip to the Fabergé Museum. This stunning collection of works by Carl Fabergé is housed at the Shuvalov Palace, another Neoclassical gem in the heart of the city. The most well known pieces of art in this museum are nine of the famous Imperial Easter Eggs. These unique historical artifacts are some of the finest jeweled works of art I have ever seen! The detail and quality of each egg just blew me away, and I could have easily spent hours admiring their beauty.
The Mikhailovsky Theatre
Along with incredible museum art, performance art is just as impressive in this city. One evening, I attended an opera performance at one of Russia’s oldest opera houses: The Mikhailovsky Theatre. Beautiful from the inside and out, this theater was founded in 1833. I had the pleasure of seeing Tosca, an Italian opera with music by Giacomo Puccini. Tosca is one of the greatest achievements in the history of opera and its emotional story is told beautifully with a rapid pace of events. The story focuses on Floria Tosca, a celebrated singer and beautiful woman who succumbs to her emotions very easily. If you enjoy opera, there is no better place to experience it live than at The Mikhailovsky Theatre!
Last but not least was a visit to the Mariinsky Theatre, the most famous Russian opera and ballet theater! St Petersburg is actually the birthplace of the Russian ballet so it was a top priority of mine to see a show here. This was definitely one of the highlights of my entire trip to St Petersburg. The stunning beauty of this historic building left me in absolutely awe. I saw La Sylphde, a classic ballet dating back to the 1800’s.
This charming city has one of the most incredible cultural scenes I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience. I feel very lucky to have received such an exclusive and memorable look at St Petersburg through the eyes of the Corinthia St Petersburg Hotel!
Disclosure: I was a guest of the Corinthia Hotel St Petersburg, but all opinions are my own.