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The Winter palace
SIGNIFICANT history, art, and
elegance combined in one place!

The Winter Palace is a massive imperial palace home to the world-famous Hermitage Museum, which is, of-course an absolute must-see.

The official residence of Russian Tsars from 1732 to 1917, The Winter Palace is St. Petersburg's most legendary palace. After three centuries, this extravagant Romanov residence still has a commanding presence over the heart of the city's history and the banks of the Neva River.

Various architects were consulted by Peter the Great, Empress Anna, Catherine the Great and Nicholas I, and many had a hand in the ongoing expansion of the palace, but it was most notably Bartolomeo Rastrelli who is credited in the creation of this unrivaled architectural masterpiece.

The Winter Palace also plays a central political, symbolic, and cultural role in the three-century history of the city, for this reason, it is one of the most important buildings of Saint Petersburg.

Many people still think that the Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum are two different buildings but that's not true. So don't get confused! When you visit the Winter Palace you will be visiting the Hermitage as well because The Winter Palace houses The Hermitage Museum and is the most popular attraction in St. Petersburg.

With more than 1,000 staterooms and 3 million exhibits, visitors are treated to an unimaginable display of luxury and an incomparable collection of artifacts. From the palace windows looking out over the water, the views of colorful sailboats dancing on the river in the summer months are delightful, and in the stillness of winter, the frozen Neva is unbelievably magical. Definitely a must-visit place if you are in St Petersburg!

a look inside the winter palace

Interested to visit the Winter Palace? If so, click on the links below or scroll down the page to learn more.

more about the palace

The Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum is one of the most beautiful museums in the world. It's no surprise that tourists come by the thousands to marvel at the glory of the fallen Romanovs.

Built on a monumental scale, it was intended to reflect Imperial Russia’s power and it clearly achieves its intention. Many architects worked on it. Its main façade is 250 meters and 30 m high. Numbers at the palace are exorbitant: 1,786 doors, 1,945 windows, 1,500 rooms and 117 staircases. Within the Winter Palace, continual improvements and revisions were made to the interiors throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Once the official residence of Peter the Great, today a stunning and impressive well decorated Royal Palace open to the public. A tour inside will take you through the following exhibits:

  • The Enfilade of Staterooms (Overlooking the River Neva);

  • The Ambassador's Staircase;

  • The October Staircase (Formerly known as His Majesty's Own Staircase);

  • The Jordan Staircase;

  • The Armorial Hall;

  • The Malachite Drawing Room (Private state room used as an assembly point for Imperial Processions);

  • The Arabian Hall (A hall that leads to staterooms – used primarily for Imperial weddings);

  • The Nicholas II's Personal Library;

  • The Ancient Egyptian Hall;

  • The 1812 War Gallery;

  • The Peacock Clock (A beautiful old golden clock which is still working);

  • The Saltykov Entrance (Access to private staterooms from the exterior used only by the Imperial family);

  • The Imperial Staircase (A ground floor entry through a discrete exterior porch on the west end of the palace facing the Neva River. Accessed via the October Staircase and used as a second entrance to the private staterooms for the Imperial family only);

  • Imperial Wine Cellar;

interesting facts

It is interesting to know that the lavish Winter Palace has also seen the ruin in the past.

In 1837, Vasily Stasov was hired to oversee restoration after a fire destroyed the grand interior. In an 1880 assassination attempt on Alexander II, a bomb planted under the dining room killed 67 people. It was subsequently determined that its size made it too difficult to fully secure, so Alexander was the last of the Tsars to reside there. His successors, Alexander III and Nicholas II lived in suburban residences and the palace was used for official ceremonies only. The last Imperial event held at The Winter Palace was a masquerade ball to honor Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich, Russia's 2nd Emperor (1646 to 1676.)

The year 1905 marked another momentous point in history when the Palace Square became the setting for the Bloody Sunday Massacre. In 1917, on the heels of the February Revolution, it was used as the seat of the Provisional Government and during the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, the Red Army seized the palace, ransacked its riches and removed all symbols of the dynasty.

The Siege of Leningrad in 1941 caused more devastation, but by the 1950s, restoration of the palace had begun.  

You should know that the museum displays approximately 3 million exhibits. It's been calculated to take 10 years to see all of them if you spent just 1 minute on each exhibit.

where to buy tickets

You can purchase tickets inside the main building of the palace, or online through the official website. Also, you can buy tickets at the self-service machines inside the General Staff Building (Yellow Building opposite the Hermitage Museum).

how to get there

The closest metro station is Admiralteyskaya. From here, it's a short walk to Nevsky Avenue and a short walk heading west on Nevsky to the River Neva embankment and The Winter Palace. Public transportation are also available if you can't or don't want to walk. Any bus or trolley or tram toke from the Nevsky Prospekt will take you to the Winter Palace in less than 10 minutes.

practical information

Address: 2, Dvortsovaya Ploschad (Palace Square)

Metro: Admiralteyskaya

Open: Daily 10:30 am to 6 pm. Last admission is at 5:30 pm. Wednesday and Friday, till 9 pm. Last admission is at 8:30 pm.

Closed: Monday

Telephone: +7 (812) 571-3420; +7 (812) 710-9079

Website: www.hermitagemuseum.org/

Admission: 600 Rubles - entry ticket to the Main Museum Complex and the branches (the General Staff Building, Winter Palace of Peter the Great, Menshikov Palace, the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory). 300 Rubles - entry ticket to one of the Hermitage branches (Winter Palace of Peter the Great, Menshikov Palace, the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory, Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Centre).

Audio-guides are available (deposit required)

Free admission: Preschool children, school children, students. Free admission to all visitors on the first Thursday of each month.

Photo and video: No flash.

Accessibility note: The museum is wheelchair accessible (ramps/lifts). Free wheelchair rentals. Please call in advance as staff assistance may be require.

tips & recommendations

Our Tips
  • We strongly recommend visiting the museum with a tour guide so you can save time, skip the line, and better enjoy your visit as there is a lot to see.
  • Keep in mind that if you're a student regardless of your country of origin or your age, you enter the museum for free.
  • The Palace is overcrowded with locals and tourists during the Summer (from the end of May till the very end of September). Thus, if you are an independent traveler and you wish to visit the site on your own we highly recommend that you buy entrance tickets prior to your visit.
  • Make sure you buy a ticket online and go to the side entrance at around 10.30 am when it opens to avoid the tour groups. If you get a 2-day pass you should go to the General Staff Building the following day.
  • There is also a self-machine ticket in case you want to buy tickets on the day of your visit.
  • Please note that the boundaries between the Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum aren't clear. There's no distinction between the two and the museum is hard to navigate. 
  • Please note that the food at the cafe is limited.
  • We recommend that you wear comfortable shoes as visiting the Palace requires a lot of walking. Also, don't forget to collect a map which is available in many languages after you enter. The inside is huge and you would need the map to mark which rooms you had completed.
  • Don't forget to bring your camera to take photos.
  • No need for an audio guide if you are not much keen to know every detail behind the artworks, you can just stroll and enjoy the beauty at your own pace.

accommodation nearby

Our picking list of Hotels nearby the Winter Palace

must-travel resources

Our picking list of essential travel resources for your Russian trip


Book a guided city tour with one of our professional tour guides, and get the most out of your visit to Saint Petersburg, and beyond.



From the Winter Palace return to St Petersburg Attractions or go to the Homepage

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