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【米奇看世界】冬宮太大 保安太難


After reading about the Peterhof Palace, or otherwise named as "Russian Versailles", I bet you must be impressed. However, what I am going to tell you is that there is another palace in St. Petersburg named the Winter Palace(冬宮), which is as grand as the Peterhof Palace. Yet, the two palaces have their own ways to shine. For the Peterhof Palace, if you still remember, Peter the Great wanted it to be as magnificent as Versailles, so the shining point is in its gardens and buildings, i.e. its appearance. On the contrary, for the Winter Palace, it shines because of its immanence: The Winter Palace is now the home of The State Hermitage Museum (隱士廬博物館), one of the world greatest museums.

For Hong Kong people, you may find this Museum rather unfamiliar or even unheard of. However, the Hermitage museum comes along with the same ranking as the British museum(英國大英博物館), The Lourve(法國羅浮宮博物館) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (美國大都會博物館). These 4 museums are considered as the four major museums in the world. The Hermitage Museum also is the home of more than 1 million works of art, almost 8 hundred-thousands of archaeological artefacts and thousands of other objects.

Yet, the Winter Palace was not built to be a museum in the first place. Like all the other palaces, the Winter Palace was built to be a royal residence. The Winter Palace had been rebuilt several times, and the version we can see and visit today is normally called as the fourth version of the Winter Palace, whose construction was begun in the reign of Empress Elizabeth (伊麗莎白女皇) and basically finished in the time of Catherine the Great (凱薩琳大帝).

What do I mean by saying "basically finished"? It means that after Catherine the Great, other tsars (沙皇) also contributed to the revisions and improvements of the Palace. For example, in 1826, The Military Gallery of 1812 was added to the Palace in the time of Nicholas I (尼古拉一世), which is to commemorate Russia participated in the Napoleonic Wars (拿破崙戰爭). Nicholas I is also to be considered to be the tsar who is responsible to the current appearance of the Palace, for he was in charge of the rebuilding project of the Palace after a fire happened in the Winter Palace in 1837, which destroyed almost all the palace interiors.

Although the Palace had been kept as a royal residence of the tsars until 1917, Alexander II (亞歷山大二世) is the last tsar who used the Palace to be his main residence, who was actually assassinated in the Palace in 1881. Therefore, the following tsars considered that the Palace is too big to keep secure, and so they chose to move to other residences instead. In the next article, let us find out more about how the Palace would be turned into one of the world greatest museums.

■米奇 中大通識碩士,工作數年又跑去英國留學,順道看看外國文化