Before we even arrived to the Hermitage Museum I was told of one (of many) theories the locals have, that in order to see all the contents of the museum, you would need to visit the museum five days a week for seven years! That still didn’t prepare me for the overwhelming grand golden overdose that was to come. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many chandeliers in my life! I don’t really know how to describe it, hopefully the images give you just a hint of the extravagance of the place. At some point I couldn’t even look at the paintings anymore because there was so much else to see within the rooms themselves.

When I visit grand and heavily adorned castles like this, I at some point think about how wealth was so unevenly distributed back then (some would argue that things haven’t changed that much). I can only imagine how the poor lived if this is what the rich and privileged enjoyed. At the end of the day it’s the craftsmanship and history that draws me to places like this. I’m not saying we should go back to this way of building and decorating, I’m just appreciative of the skills of the craftsmen who put it all together.

I was at first thinking that I need to go back to the museum the next time I’m in St. Petersburg but then I remembered the other castles in and around the city that my friends tell me I need to visit. I do need to return one day though, to actually see the paintings. Until then I’ll keep dreaming about massive golden chandeliers.

Photos of me by Tong Ren

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