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The State Hermitage Museum

2 Palace Square, St Peterburg

Open 10.30am–6pm, Wednesdays until 9pm

Russia’s most famous museum can take days to investigate, but Turcophiles might head for the Arms and Armoury section in the White Hall of the Winter Palace, re-opened at the end of 2014, where there is an impressive array of Ottoman hardware. Some of it saw action in the succession of military Russo-Turkish encounters (Azov, Cesme) that are depicted in paintings in the museum. Titled “Middle Eastern Artistic Weapons of XV - XIX Centuries”, this permanent exhibition has been assembled over many years from a number of collections and also has weapons created by the masters of the Caucasus and Central Asia.

There is a permanent exhibition of archaeological finds from the Golden Horde, which occupied the vast Eurasian steppes in Eurasia from the 13th to the 15th centuries.The Hermitage also has what is thought to be the oldest known surviving hand-made carpet, the Pazyryk Rug, from a Scythian tumulus in Pazyryk Valley in the Altai mountains of Siberia. Preserved in ice, it was discovered by archaeologist Sergei Rudenko in 1949 and comes from around 500BC. Some experts believe there is a conection between ancient Turkish culture and finds in these tumuli.

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Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
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