What to see at The Hermitage museum. The cats of the Hermitage
What to see in the Hermitage museum, a place of great history and majestic art collections? Yet, there is still something more. The cats of the Hermitage is one more reason to visit the museum.
The most famous Hermitage museum in Russia located in the heart of Saint Petersburg. You can spend days in its rooms and still come out wanting more. However, not everyone knows that the Hermitage museum has another special attraction: the Hermitage cats or “hermi-cats” how they are called here.
Probably, on a sunny day, you can meet them lying and relaxing in the museum square. These cats are the guards of the largest and most important museum in Russia. Thanks to the Hemricats, the museum has not been suffering from rat attacks for the last three centuries.
In general for Hermitage museum “work” more than 60 cats. Each one has its own collar and a name. Giving the name to each cat was not that easy. Initially, the cats received the names of famous artists and sculptors from the museum collection. Then they have got the names of the countries of the world, then the nicknames of the American states and so on.
Touring the Hermitage of St. Petersburg: the history of cats
There have been cats in the Hermitage museum ever since the days of the Elizabeth Petrovna. The Empress personally signed the “Decree on the expulsion to the court cats”, prescribing “to find the best and greatest cats in the city of Kazan, suitable for the capture of mice, send them to St. Petersburg to the court of His Imperial Majesty “.
In the time of Cathrine the Great, the cats called “zimnedvorskimi” (the cats of the winter palace), and here each individual received the appropriate rank and “position in society”. First of all, top-ranking cats were “room cats”. Those were always well fed, cared for, slept in wooden baskets. Their function was to serve as an additional decoration of the imperial palace.
Another, who did not deserve such privileges were “courtiers.” These cats resided in the basements and courtyards of the Winter Palace and protected it from all types of rodents. However, it is important to note that the Hermitage museum cats lived with total freedom and took great care of them.
Unfortunately, during the blockade in The WWII, all the Hermitage cats did not survive. The city was full of rats.
Immediately after the liberation of the city, the cats from other regions of Russia were sent to Leningrad.
Hermitage Cat Day
In May, the State Hermitage museum celebrates The Day of the Hermitage cat. Always on this day, museum visitors can see the basements of the Winter Palace, where the cats live. Children participate in educational games in the museum’s halls.
No doubt cats have always played a big role in the history of the city. you can even see several monuments to cats. And of course, you can admire the fluffy creatures in the courtyards and parks of the city
Do you want to know more about the Hermitage and St. Petersburg? Check out Free Tours Russia Saint Petersburg.