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Culture news, 06.04.2004 12:52

Hermitage to exhibit its treasures in Konstantinovsky Palace

Konstantinovsky Palace The State Hermitage Museum plans to acquire the presidential inauguration chain and display it at a new branch of the Hermitage in the president's St. Petersburg residence in Konstantinovsky Palace, Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky said on Friday.

"We hope the president will allow us to do so," he said at the press conference.

The new exhibition hall in the Konstantinovsky Palace will feature collections of international heraldry and Russian state awards from ancient to modern times, including Russia's rarest coin, the Konstantinovsky Ruble.

The coin was made after the death of Tsar Alexander I in 1825 when the succession was in question. Thinking the next Tsar would be Alexander's son, Konstantin, the Mint issued the first six silver coins with Kostantin's profile. However, the same day Konstantin declined to become Tsar. No more coins were made. Of the six, one is missing, three are abroad, one belongs to the Hermitage and the other is in the History Museum in Moscow.

The exposition will show antique vases and coins of Ancient Greece, Rome and Byzantium, and display all kinds of awards including the Soviet-era ones.

"The branch will display items that the Hermitage wanted to display for a long time, but has been unable to because of the lack of exhibition space," Piotrovsky said.

Piotrovsky said the museum wants to organize as many branches and exhibitions around the world as possible. Next year the Hermitage plans to open a branch in Kazan, the first Russian city to have a museum branch.

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