For those wanting a greater insight into Russian culture and history, the Hermitage’s extensive collection of artworks literally paints a picture of the nation’s captivating past. In fact it’s one of the largest and oldest museums in the world! The museum was founded in 1764 when Catherine the Great purchased a collection of 255 paintings from Berlin. Nowadays, the Hermitage has about 2.7 million exhibits and displays a full range of world art from Ancient Egypt to early 20th century Europe. It includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, unique collections of Rembrandt, Rubens, French Impressionists (Renoir, Cezanne, Manet, Monet, Pissarro), plus Van Gogh, Matisse, Gaugin and sculptures by Rodin.Hermitage is not just a place full of treasures, but the museum itself is a real jewel, piece of antiquity, a house of mysterious Russian history.