The largest museum on Earth!
Faberge egg is one of 56 jewellery Easter eggs
made by Peter Carl Faberge of the Faberge company between 1884 and 1917.
The eggs are among the masterpieces of the jeweller’s art.
The State Hermitage Museum is the largest museum in the world. It is
located in Saint Petersburg in Russia. This museum houses three million
works of art (not all on display at once), and one of the oldest art
galleries and museums of human history and culture in the world.
International branches of The Hermitage Museum are located in Amsterdam,
London, and Las Vegas.
This museum was started by a lady known as Catherine the Great, in 1764.
She purchased paintings from other countries and stored the collection
in what she referred to as “my hermitage”, which became to be known as
the famous Hermitage museum later on. To house the ever expanding
collection of artworks, a building was designed to be declared as the
public museum. And this became the New Hermitage, which was opened to
the public in 1852.
The imperial Hermitage was proclaimed private property during the
Revolution. The range of its exhibits was further expanded when public
art collections were being nationalized.
In recent years, Hermitage expanded to the nearby building of the
General Staff and launched several ambitious projects abroad, including
the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum in Las Vegas, the Hermitage Rooms in
London’s Somerset House, and the Hermitage Amsterdam in Amsterdam.
In July 2006, the museum announced that 221 minor items, including
jewellery, Orthodox icons, silverware and richly enamelled objects, had
been stolen. The value of the stolen items was estimated to be
Strong points of the Hermitage collection of Western art include
Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens, van Dyck, Rembrandt, Poussin,
Claude Lorrain, Watteau, Tiepolo, Canaletto, Canova, Rodin, Monet,
Pissarro, Renoir, Cézanne, van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso, and Matisse.
There are several more collections, however, including the Russian
imperial regalia, an assortment of Fabergé jewellery, and the largest
existing collection of ancient gold from Eastern Europe and Western
Catherine the Great started the famed collection by purchasing more than
two hundred paintings in Europe. Several works of Leonardo da Vinci, Jan
Van Eyck, and Raphael were purchased from Italy.
The Hermitage collection of Rembrandts was considered the largest in the
The vast Hermitage collections are displayed in six buildings, the main
one being the Winter Palace which used to be the official residence of
the Russian Tsars.
The Hermitage museum is located in St Petersburg, which happens to be an
enormous city in Russia. Saint Petersburg is located in Northwestern
Federal District of Russia. It was founded by Tsar Peter the Great in
May 1703, as a “window to Europe”. It served as the capital of the
Russian Empire for more than two hundred years.
St. Petersburg ceased being the capital when the government moved to
Moscow after the Russian Revolution of 1917. With about 4.8 million
inhabitants in its metropolitan area, Saint Petersburg is Russia’s
second-largest and Europe’s third-largest city, largest metropolitan
area, a major European cultural centre, and the most important Russian
port on the Baltic. The city has a total area of 1439 square km, which
makes it the second biggest city in terms of area in Europe, after
Chatham Island Taiko
In 1867, the Italian research ship,
Magenta, was sailing 800km east of the Chatham Islands, near the Tubai
Islands, when a beautiful white-breasted bird flew by. Immediately this
bird was collected by the scientists on board, with the help of a gun,
and named the magenta petrel, Pterodroma magentae. Later the preserved
bird was stored in the university of Turin Museum. Although the
University was bombed during World War II the mysterious sole specimen
For more than a century following its discovery, the magenta petrel was
thought to be extinct. Then on January 1973, a man named David Crockett
led an Ornithological Society group to a place they named Taiko Town.
You could be mistaken for thinking the location was somewhere in the
wild west but it was in fact in the wild south on Chatham Island.
On that fateful January evening Crockett and his party, armed only with
torches, attracted two birds in Tuku Valley which they identified as the
missing magenta petrel. However, it wasn’t until five years later on New
Year’s day in 1978, that two birds were actually caught and banded when
with measurements and photographs Crockett was able to scientifically
prove that the magenta petrel and Chatham Island Taiko were indeed the
For Crockett the story of the Taiko began in 1952, when he was a
schoolboy helping out at the Canterbury Museum where he came across some
unusual bird bones found by the great naturalist, Sir Charles Fleming,
in the windswept hills of the Chatham Islands during the 1930s. Crockett
eventually linked these bones to a single mysterious specimen labelled
the magenta petrel in the Turin Museum. Later Crockett established that
the petrel had once been one of the more common birds on the Chathams
where it was known as the Taiko. Huge colonies of Taiko once provided a
principal food source for the Moriori and later the Maori inhabitants,
but these quickly disappeared once forests were cleared and predators
such as rats, pigs, cats, possum, stoats and ferrets were introduced.
But even when the population numbered around one million pairs during
the medieval times the Taiko only ever bred on the main Chatham Island.
Based in Whangarei as a schools science adviser, David Crockett has
spent every summer, since 1969, searching the southern forests of
Chatham Island for the bird and, when it was rediscovered, working
towards its recovery. As well as the hundreds of off island volunteers,
local landowners are an important part of the Taiko recovery programme
providing access and information. In 1985 the Tuanui family donated 1028
ha of private forest — the Tuku Nature Reserve — today one of the key
breeding areas for the Chatham Island Taiko.
In 1987, the year the first nesting burrow was located, the Department
of Conservation began intensively trapping predators in the area. One
breeding season 27 cats, 105 possums, and 169 rats were caught in the
breeding area. More recently a predator proof fence similar to that used
at the Karori Reserve has been used to establish a secure breeding area
for the Chatham Island taiko.
Of the 24 species of seabird which breed on the Chatham Islands, six of
them are New Zealand’s most threatened seabirds while several species
have already become extinct on the island following human settlement.
The Chatham Island Taiko is now regarded as the world’s rarest seabird
and is classed as a critically endangered endemic with a total
population of 100–140 birds and only known nesting burrows. The Chatham
Island Taiko should not, however, be confused with the Taiko which
breeds only on Little and Great Barrier Islands. The Taiko also known as
the Parkinson’s petrel, Procellaria parkinsoni, is also a threatened
38 cm., 475 g., dark sooty grey–brown all over except for the underparts
from breast to undertail which are white, bill black, legs and feet are
pink. When flying over the nesting area or when handled, Chatham Island
Taiko are known to make ‘or–wik’, ‘si si si’ or ‘orrrr’ sounds.