In 1765-1766 at the wish of the Empress Catherine II the architect Y.M.Felten raised a double-storey building next to the ceremonial residence – the Winter Palace (web-link to the section Winter Palace). The features of the waning Baroque and dawning Classicism naturally and organically merged in the appearance of this building, in the gracefulness of its architectural spaces and refinement of the fa?ade decor.
In 1771-1787 by request of the Empress Catherine II in order to house the Palace collections and libraries on Neva River next to the Small Hermitage a new building emerged beating it by its size known as the Old Hermitage. The three-storey structure created by the architect Y.M.Felten harmoniously fit into the existing Palace ensemble. Austerity and simplicity of the Old Hermitage appearance agreed with the spirit of Classicism of the 18th century.
The Hermitage today is the best gallery of Russia representing the world art, one of the best known art museums in the world and certainly the main sightseeing attraction of Saint-Petersburg.
The State Hermitage houses over 2.7 mln. items and reflects various kinds of art from different countries of the world and entire history (from Ancient Egypt to the beginning of the 20th century in Europe).