The Kunstkamer (the left building on the photo) is one of those places you shouldn’t visit if you’re faint hearted. The things exhibited here go way beyond your fascination. Anything abnormal and absurd has been stored here for many years to come.
In the 18th century it wasn’t uncommon for emperors to have a broad collection of rarities and Peter the Great certainly wasn’t an exemption. Driven by his love for knowledge, the first museum in Russia was established on the embankment of the Neva. But it wasn’t just an average museum, as mentioned before, the emperor was extremely fond of rarities. This combination resulted in the establishment of the Peter the Great museum of Anthropology and Ethnography.
The tsar soon ordered a declaration to collect all abnormalities and deformed foetuses to compose the museum’s collection, but he also took the effort of finding all kinds of rarities himself during his travels. This way the collection of the Kunstkamer rapidly grew. To encourage the city’s residents to get interested for sciences of mankind, the authorities gave people who returned to the museum a glass of vodka during the first years of its establishment. Up until today the museum is still an extremely popular place, so their cunning trick seemed to have worked out well.
One of the main attractions from the Kunstkamer is the skeleton of Peter the Great’s giant servant. By giant, I actually mean giant because the man was almost 2 metre 30. By definition is this already a large person but especially if you put it in perspective of the 18th century when people used to be merely a fraction of his size. It is said that this giant skeleton wanders the museum at night to look for his head that burned in a fire. It’s a shame that it got lost, because when the giant deceased, the tsar ordered to stuff his head and exhibit it together with the skeleton, so it was very well preserved. Though his head has been burnt, his genitalia and heart are still safely stored for research.
There are many more things to mention about the awesome place that is the Kunstkamer, but this isn’t meant to be an encyclopeadia. The best way to discover this amazing place is to see it with your own eyes!