Menshikov Palace picture1 of 2
Menshikov Palace2 of 2
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Key Info

15, Universitetskaya Naberezhnaya


Castles/Palaces, Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend


  • 3.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The Menshikov Palace, the first large structure built with stone in St. Petersburg, was constructed for Prince Alexander Menshikov, a close associate of Peter the Great, in the early 1700s. It was used for formal state functions until Menshikov fell out of favor with the emperor's successor. It currently belongs to the Hermitage and displays some of the museum's paintings and sculptures. The palace, which sits on Vasilyevsky Island on the banks of the Neva River, combines extravagant appointments, including ample use of marble, with everyday domesticity. Its blend of traditional Russian architecture and Western European style became known as Petrine Baroque.

Visitors tend to find the architecture rather fascinating and appreciate the views of the river. Though some pointed out this felt more like a grand house and less like a palace. Others said it's not worth making a special trip to the island. However, the palace is typically not as busy as some of the city's other things to do and may provide a respite from the crowds.

The palace is open every day except Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with extended hours (until 9 p.m.) on Wednesday and Friday. The closest metro station is Vasileostrovskaya. Admission costs 300 rubles (or about $5), except on the first Thursday of each month, when it's free. Guided tours are available for an additional 150 rubles (around $2.50). For more information, visit the official website.

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Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace1 of 17
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Time to Spend
#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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