St Petersburg is a fascinating and beautiful city, the cultural capital of Russia, rich in history, culture and art.
If this is not your first-time visiting St. Petersburg or if you stay longer than a couple of days, I recommend to visit Faberge Museum, where you can admire the world's largest collection of Carl Faberge masterpieces.
The Faberge Museum in St. Petersburg is the first private museum in Russia, established by one of the Russians richest men, philanthropist Viktor Vekselberg and his cultural and historical “Link of Times” Foundation. The Faberge Museum was established after “Link of Times” purchased at auction a unique collection of 15 Faberge eggs, including 9 Imperial Easter eggs created by great Russian jeweler Peter Carl Faberge. Based on BBC Four documentary, Viktor Vekselberg spent over $100 million for 9 Imperial Easter eggs, previously owned by the Forbes family. The idea of buying this collection was to repatriate national heritage of Russia, which was lost after the Russian Revolution in 1917.
Today, Faberge Museum has more than 4,000 fine arts, including an exclusive collection of nine Imperial Easter eggs, connected to the personal lives of the last two Russian Emperors: Alexander III and Nicholas II.
The exhibition contains the first Faberge “Hen” egg, which Emperor Alexander III ordered as a lovely present for his wife.
The Faberge Museum held an official opening ceremony on November 2013, in the beautiful 18th-century Shuvalov Palace, which was restored by the “Link of Times” Foundation.
Peter Carl Faberge was a great Russian jeweler, best known for the famous Faberge Ester Eggs.
Carl studied jewelry art in St. Petersburg, Frankfurt, and Dresden. In 1870, Faberge inherited his father's House of Faberge, where he, together with his brother, continued to create jewelry and decorative oddities like cigarette cases, watches, snuffboxes and gorgeous flowers.
Carl Faberge traditionally used gold, silver, malachite, jade and gemstones for his art, but he also loved to experiment and often worked with materials which weren't considered used for jewellery, like birch and diamonds together or several layers of an enamel which made jewelry glow from inside.
The incredible Faberge work was so impressive and delicate that Carl gained recognition very fast, but the most fantastic success was brought to him by the famous imperial Easter eggs.
A first jeweler's egg Faberge was created in 1885, after the Russian Emperor Alexander III ordered it as an Easter gift for his dear wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna, known before her marriage as Princess Dagmar of Denmark.
The incredible idea of the egg with surprise didn't belong to Carl Faberge. The King of Denmark, who was the father of Empress Maria Feodorovna, held this jewelry in the royal treasury. The Russian Emperor Alexander III wanted to make a present, which would remind his wife of her homeland.
The first created egg was a “Hen” Egg, and it was simple but elegant, magnificent and unique: The white enamel shell contained a yellow-gold yolk, which opened to display a golden hen. The hen contained a miniature Russian Imperial crown, crafted in sparkling diamonds and rubies, holding a small ruby pendant.
The Empress loved the Easter surprise so much that Carl Faberge received an order every year to delight the Imperial Family with a new Easter egg.
After the death of Czar Alexander III in 1894, his son Czar Nicholas II continued the tradition. The House of Faberge performed two eggs each year: one for his wife Alexandra and one for his mother Empress Maria Feodorovna.
Carl Faberge made 50 eggs for the Imperial family, and each included a fascinating element of surprise.
After Russian revolution in 1927, the House of Faberge was nationalized, and the new established Government confiscated Easter Eggs, along with many other Imperial treasures.
In the fall of 1918, Carl Faberge fled to Riga, Latvia, then left for Germany and later moved to Switzerland, where he died in 1920.
I'm delighted that Viktor Vekselberg and his “Link of Times” Foundation returned this amazing collection back home and gave people a wonderful opportunity to admire remarkable masterpieces created by great jeweler Carl Faberge.
Fontanka River Embankment, 21
General admissions : $9.00 US
Guided tour : $13 US
Audio guide: $4 US
Tickets and guided tours can be bought online, there are also other options such as St. Petersburg tours that include among many other things a visit to the museum.
Open 7 days a week 10:00 – 21:00.
Faberge Museum locates on the Fontanka River Embankment near the famouse Anichkov Bridge and Nevsky Prospect, in a one of the most beautiful palaces in St. Petersburg, a historical monument and a center of tourist attraction – Shuvalov Palace.
The 18th century Shuvalov Palace was the centre of the St. Petersburg's aristocratic society and contained magnificent art, marble sculptures, beautiful jewelry, coins and weapons.
In 1914, when World War I began, the noble palace was generously donated and converted to a military hospital for wounded soldiers. Most of the artwork and antique were hidden in secret spots. Only several years later, a large pantry door was discovered under the fireplace in the “Blue Room” containing paintings, porcelain and artwork. Majority of the Shuvalov collection was transferred to the Hermitage Museum and the Russian Museum, but some of the items remained in the museum fund.
During the Siege of Leningrad (1941), the palace was damaged and the courtyard totally destroyed.
At present-days, the Shuvalov Palace restored and has become the house of the Fabergé Museum since 2013.
Anichkov Bridge is the oldest bridge across the Fontanka River in Saint Petersburg.
The Russian Tsar Peter the Great, who modernized Russia through numerous reforms, ordered to build the bridge and named it after an engineer, Mikhail Anichkov. The bridge was constructed in 1715-16 of wood, but nothing remains of this first bridge.
The current bridge, rebuilt in 1841-42. The Anichkov Bridge combines a simple shape with magnificent decorations, impressive iron railing, and four famous horse sculptures.
In 1941, during the World War II, when the bridge came under massive bombing, the sculptures were hidden in the near Anichkov Palace. The bridge suffered significant damage during the war, but has been fully restored.
Nevsky Prospekt is the main street of St. Petersburg and is 4.5 km long.
The odd side of the street is called the “shady” side, the even side – the “sunny“ side. “Sunny“ side is a favored side for walking, where you can enjoy the beautiful views of the city.
Major landmarks on Nevsky Prospekt include the Russian baroque style Stroganov Palace, which was built in 1720-52 and belonged to the wealthiest family in Old Russia; impressive Russian Orthodox Kazan Cathedral; the remarkable six-storey Bookhouse or the Singer House, which was established in 1902-1904 for the Singer Sewing Machine Company; outstanding Elisseeff Emporium – huge retail and entertainment complex, constructed in 1902–1903; a dedicated monument to Catherine the Great; the famous market Gostiny Dvor; Russian National Library and so much more.
Nevsky Prospekt is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The Museum contains 12 halls, including the most significant Blue room, which exhibits a display of the fabulous collection of Faberge eggs: 9 imperial Easter eggs and 3 Easter eggs belonging to other wealthy people.
In addition, you will see delicate porcelain, military ceremony pieces, various snuffboxes, 18th-century Russian jewelry, table clocks made for Baron Rothschild and 19th century paintings.
Fontanka River Embankment, 21
The museum, located in the heart of St. Petersburg in the Shuvalov Palace on the Fontanka embankment.
From nearest Metro station Gostiny Dvor: walk toward to the Anichkov Bridge, then turn left and continue to walk on the Fontanka river embankment until you reach the Museum.
From Metro stations Mayakovskaya or Ploshchad Vosstaniya: walk along Nevsky Prospect toward to Anichkov Bridge, cross the bridge, turn right and go about 100 meters until you get to the Faberge Museum.
Hopefully, my post will inspire you to see and learn more about Russia, because St. Petersburg is an absolutely gorgeous city and there is so much to explore.
One more tip: in the 15-minute walk from Faberge Museum towards to Griboyedov channel embankment you will discover the spectacular Russian Orthodox Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. This is another great attraction in the st. Petersburg. But perhaps this is going to be my future post.