The Hermitage was built on the shore of the Gulf of Finland between 1721 and 1725. Designed by Johann Friedrich Braunstein, it hosted the private, intimate suppers of the Russian monarch. The original name of the building was the “Other Monplaisir” or the “Palace by the Sea.”

The Hermitage consisted of a basement, which housed a small kitchen and pantry, and the state dining room on the first floor. Before a staircase was built, the only way of ascending was by a special chairlift. The walls of the dining room were covered from top to bottom in paintings by West European masters of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The special appeal of the Hermitage was the large round dining table, which was lowered and lifted to the kitchen for food, so that guests could enjoy complete privacy, undisturbed by servants. Requests for dishes were written on notes and sent down to the kitchen on the table whenever a bell was rung.

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