St Petersburg(2018)
The Hermitage Museum and "Winter Palace"
May 2018
The Winter Residence of the Czars was constructed over 8 years (1754-1762)
on the orders of Empress Elizabeth who wanted a palace that would surpass all the royal palaces of Europe
Only a fraction of the 460 official state and private family rooms are open to the public
The amount of gold, marble, crystal and other precious materials is overwhelming
The "Small" Throne Room

The private chapel is as ornate as the palace itself
An icon of the "Black Madonna"
The intricate design continues on both the floors and ceilings
The original inlaid flooring has survived the test of time
Even upon close examination it is hard to tell that this is composed
of tiny pieces of stone artistically arranged and polished
The "Great" Thone Room
Two more examples of the mosaic designs throughout the palace
The Peacock Clock - 3 singing birds (owl, peacock & rooster) sing out the time of day.
It is now the only large example of 18th century robotics to have survived unaltered into the 21st century
First the clock chimes and the owl turns its head.
The peacock turns its neck, lifts its tail and turns to display its fan of golden feathers. Finally a rooster crows.
The cycle respresents the end of night and the rise of the sun - the continuity of life.
The mechanism is hidden among the other creatures and folliage of the display

The Greek and Roman Influence
is evident in the sculpture
throughout the palace