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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.

Nimashi Amaleeta
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 approximately $543,000.
Collection hold
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 Asia.
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 world.
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.
St Petersburg
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 London.

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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 somehow survived.
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 same species.
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 endemic.
Endemic bird
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.

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