An alternative classic: what else to visit in St. Petersburg for those who have already been to the Hermitage

Many Petersburgers and tourists have been to the Hermitage and other iconic museums in St. Petersburg and its suburbs more than once. Winter is a great time to visit other interesting sites related to the culture and history of Russia and the Northern capital. We are sure that these discoveries of “alternative classics” will delight even those who believe that they have already seen everything in St. Petersburg.


When you look at a modern building with a futuristic facade, located in the Primorsky district, you will not immediately believe that it is related to the brilliant Winter Palace and other buildings of the Hermitage museum complex in the city center. However, there is a connection, and the most direct one: it is the Restoration and Storage Center (RCC) of the State Hermitage Museum “Staraya Derevnya”.

The construction of the Hermitage depository complex on Staraya Derevnya began in 1990. The task was to move a number of storerooms and workshops from the historical buildings of the museum, which were overloaded with funds and could not provide normal storage conditions. As the name implies, works of art are restored and stored at the RCC.

Hermitage depository. Photo: ATOR

All the exhibits here are the focus of visitors' attention: unlike the front rooms of the Winter Palace, this building does not have luxurious interiors against which they would get lost. Visitors can admire both objects and paintings that have already been restored, as well as objects that have not yet passed through the caring hands of restorers.

Collections at the RCC are sometimes not inferior to those exhibited at the classic Hermitage site. For example, only here you can see the coronation carriages of Russian emperors.

An alternative classic: what else to visit in St. Petersburg for those who have already been to the Hermitage

Hermitage storage. Vintage carriages. Photo: ATOR

Recently, the long-awaited opening of the storage of clocks and musical mechanisms took place at the Staraya Derevnya RCC. Each item presented here is a real curiosity.

What are the sundial-globe alone worth: their complex device required special knowledge from the owner, and the procedure for calculating the time itself was a kind of scientific experience. By the way, at the end of the year, the luxurious Costume Gallery will again be available for visiting in the Hermitage depository. Now the exposition is being updated there, the opening of the exhibition is scheduled for December.


Educational Museum of Applied Arts of the State Art and Industry Academy. A. L. Stieglitz can rightfully be called a “precious box” in the very center of the city.

There are no paintings in this museum – the collection contains only objects of applied and design art: furniture, dishes, porcelain, household items, ethnographic dolls, stove tiles, as well as frescoes, mosaics, stained-glass windows, ornaments and sculpture.

The Baron Stieglitz Museum of Art and Industry was opened in 1896. Initially, it was created as a “teaching aid” for students of the Central School of Technical Drawing, which was founded in 1876 with funds donated by the famous industrialist Alexander Stieglitz. In Soviet times, the educational institution was named after the sculptor Vera Mukhina.

In the modern academy, which returned the name of its founder, Baron Stieglitz, to the name, they teach costume and furniture design, industrial and graphic design, book graphics, art glass processing , ceramics and textiles.

 Alternative classics: what else to visit in St. Petersburg for those who have already been to the Hermitage

At the Stieglitz Academy. Photo: ATOR

The museum has 32 halls, each of which is decorated in its own style – Russian, Italian, English, etc. The halls display unique and sometimes unusual exhibits – with their own history and fate. The only thing that visitors regret is that the tour lasts only 1.5 hours.

“This is negligible for visiting such a fantastic museum. I wanted to stand for a long time and look at each exhibit. We will definitely return,” those who have been here write in the reviews.

It’s just that you can’t get into the Museum at the Stieglitz Academy of Art and Industry – you need to sign up in advance by phone or through the VKontakte community. All contacts and instructions are on the website of the educational institution.


The Yusupov princes had several palaces in different provinces of the country. However, the largest and most luxurious was the palace on the Moika, in St. Petersburg. This huge house was owned by five generations of princes. Only imperial residences could compete with him in splendor.

It is worth visiting the Yusupov Palace both for the sake of luxurious interiors and for the sake of a home chamber theater, whose chic acoustics will surprise even an experienced music lover. The Moorish drawing room, the room where Zinaida Yusupova posed for the famous portrait of Serov, and other rooms will also leave an indelible impression.

An alternative classic: what else to visit in St. Petersburg for those who have already been to the Hermitage

Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg. Photo: ATOR

Of course, the history of the Yusupov Palace is forever associated with the name of Grigory Rasputin: in December 1916, the elder died here at the hands of conspirators. There are several versions of what happened. They will be told about during a tour of the palace – visitors will visit exactly the rooms where everything happened.


We are sure that in the photo archive of every tourist who has visited St. Petersburg, there is a photograph of the General Staff Building with the Arc de Triomphe. The idea of ​​the construction belongs to Carl Rossi, the architect who created the modern look of St. Petersburg, the author of bold projects and, as they would say now, an urbanist.

The facade of the General Staff building has long been considered one of the longest in Europe – 580 meters! The arched geometry of the buildings was originally laid down, since there were a number of buildings arranged in a semicircle in this place.

The venerable architect figured out how to connect all the buildings: the arch is not a monolithic structure, but a connection of three separate arches. Moreover, the first two are located in parallel, and the third is turned at a slight angle to Bolshaya Morskaya Street.

For many decades, it was impossible to get into the Arch of the General Staff Building. Now this hidden space, a kind of “loft”, has been opened for tourists.

An alternative classic: what else to visit in St. Petersburg for those who have already been to the Hermitage

Inside the Arch of the General Staff Building. Photo: ATOR

Inside, almost everything has remained untouched since the end of the 19th century: the original brickwork and wooden floors have been preserved. But there are also innovations – for the convenience of visitors, transitions and a glass bridge were made.

The local exposition is small: finds made during the reconstruction period, documents and even things forgotten by museum visitors are presented. The main thing for which it is worth going to the Arch of the General Staff is a special atmosphere. It's quiet here, half light, no reason to rush to the next exhibit. In this place, the main exhibit is the “attic” itself, which is a very unusual, and in some ways even mystical place.


Jewelry Easter eggs made for Russian emperors and the luxury of the Shuvalov Palace – all this can be seen in the private Faberge Museum, opened in 2013.

Alternative classic: what else to visit in St. Petersburg for those who was already in the Hermitage

In the Faberge Museum in St. Petersburg. Photo:

Here is one of the world's largest collections of works by Carl Faberge, there are also works by Russian masters of applied art of the second half of the 19th – early 20th centuries. You can get acquainted with jewelry masterpieces as part of an excursion, or you can do it yourself with the help of an audio guide.

After viewing the luxurious exposition, look into a local cafe – there you can taste a signature dessert that will be a great addition to viewing unique museum collections.< /p>


In winter, the famous fountains of Peterhof are closed, but you can go to the suburbs of St. Petersburg to see the royal palaces and residences, which you usually don’t have time to visit in summer.

Add Alexandria Park, located near the fountain complex, to your itinerary. It got its name after the name of the first owner – Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicholas I.

Alexandria is also called “Peterhof's most homely park” – four generations of the Romanov family spent their summers here. Most of the buildings in the park are built in the Neo-Gothic style: the Cottage Palace, the Gothic Chapel, the Farm Palace.

An alternative classic: what else to visit in St. Petersburg for those who have already been to the Hermitage

Palace “Cottage” in Alexandria Park, St. Petersburg. Photo: ATOR

Palace “Cottage” has preserved the authentic environment. Compared to the “ordinary” palaces in which royalty lived, the “Cottage” looks very modest: small rooms, low ceilings … It looks more like a cozy family home, without pomp and splendor, but with a thousand cute little things.

< p> On the first floor there are the Large and Small reception rooms, the Library, the Large Living Room and the Study of Alexandra Fedorovna. Later, the Dining Room and the Marble Terrace were added to the palace. On the second floor there is the Cabinet of Nicholas I. The Educational Balcony adjoins the children's rooms. Be sure to climb to the very top – to the Sea Cabinet, from where you can enjoy a stunning view of the Gulf of Finland.

Alexandria deserves a separate day. In addition to visiting museums, you can take long walks in the park. It is quiet at any time of the year, which has an inexplicable charm.

You can learn more about tourist traditions, routes and cultural events in St. Petersburg on the official city tourism portal, on its official page on VKontakte and Telegram channel.

Elena Myagkova

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