State Hermitage Museum
ST. PETERSBURG: Founded by Catherine the Great, the Hermitage is one of the world’s oldest and largest museums boasting 3 million treasures of art and antiquity, and visited by over 2 million people every year. Inside the Hermitage, we shine infra-red light on blackened mummies to reveal the strange tattoos of an ancient race, then visit a chamber of horrors to investigate why Peter the Great had a penchant for the macabre. We enter the private chambers of Catherine the Great to discover a device she used to improve her sex life. (No, it’s not one of those!) We reexamine the physical evidence of Rasputin’s murder to uncover his real killer’s surprising identity, then meet aged curators who risked their lives to save the museum’s treasures from Hitler’s bombs. And finally, in a gallery devoted to famous paintings, we unveil a small square canvas painted completely black. We reveal why dictator Joseph Stalin hated the black square, and why today it is worth a million dollars.
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