Mariinsky Theatre#9 in Best Things To Do in St. Petersburg
Iconic not only for its grand architecture, but also for the legendary performances held here, the Mariinsky Theatre is a must-see for fans of opera and ballet. According to some, seeing a performance here is as essential as paying a visit to the Hermitage Museum to understanding Russian life. Along with the premieres of "Sleeping Beauty," "The Nutcracker" and "Swan Lake," this theater is where dancers like Anna Pavlova and Mikhail Baryshnikov honed their skills, not to mention opera singers like Feodor Chaliapin. Dating back to 1860, the theater building itself is also an impressive sight thanks to its opulent interiors.
Past visitors highly recommended seeing a performance here while in St. Petersburg. Reviewers gushed about the theater's lavishness and the talent of the performers.
The theater is located in Theatre Square, within walking distance of the Yusupov Palace. Sadovaya, Sennaya Ploshchad and Spasskaya are the closest metro stations. Ticket prices vary by performance. Visit the theater's official website for more details.
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#1 Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace
Catherine the Great founded the Hermitage Museum in 1764 as a place to house her private art collection. The main museum complex comprises six buildings, including the Winter Palace, which was the home of the czars for almost 200 years. It finally opened to the public in 1852, and since then has been one of the largest and most interesting museums in the world. It draws more than 4 million visitors each year – in fact, this museum is the main reason some travelers visit St. Petersburg in the first place. Recent travelers offered fulsome praise for both the art on display and the opulent building housing the works. For many, the only downside was the constant crowds.
Bursting at the seams with art from masters like Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso, the Hermitage demands a substantial commitment of time to see even a portion of its collection, which encompasses 3 million works of art and artifacts. Some previous visitors reported spending seven hours touring the grounds. If you plan to spend a considerable amount of time admiring the works, consider purchasing the two-day entrance ticket.
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