It had been a long day but it still wasn't over. After the Yusupov Palace we still had a couple of stops. One was the Grand Synagogue. This is the largest synagogue in St. Petersburg and it is still active with its orthodox congregation. There were a few people there when we visited. I think they may have been students because at least one was from Israel. In addition to the main sanctuary, we visited a small sanctuary where we had our picture taken under the chuppah.
<-- This establshment is just outside the Grand Synagogue.
Our second visit to the Hermitage started with a tour of the Diamond Room. This is the second part of "The Treasury". Once again, no pictures were allowed. We skipped the "gold" section of the Diamond Room because we had seen a lot of the gold artifacts on our first Hermitage visit. Instead, we wanted to concentrate our time on the jewelry section. (Each tour of the Treasury rooms is limited to 1 hour.) The collection is fantastic. Although I say jewelry, it really should be the "jeweled" section. There were horse bridles, halters and "blankets" that were covered with diamonds and other jewels. There were watches, clocks, sabres, sheaths, and countless other artifacts that had priceless jewels. The collection is truly breathtaking.
When we finished the tour of the Diamond Room, we went for a quick tour of some of the more important European paintings. There is no way to see everything without spending a lifetime in the museum. It is certainly the largest and most impressive collection I can remember seeing anywhere. By the time we were done, we had spent another 3 hours at the Hermitage and we still had seen only a miniscule portion of the museum. Below are a few pictures from our stroll through the halls and rooms the Hermitage including some of the European art that we saw.
Remember this was built as a residence!
Three of the paintings by Leonardo Da Vinci
<-- And the intrepid duo!