- "Museums are on the front lines of the fight for culture, of good with evil - in any case, of the fight against platitudes and primitiveness."
– Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director of the State Hermitage
In the vanilla version of the game, it is never worth building this Wonder, as it is way too expensive and does next to nothing. If you have 1450 Production to spend, you may just get out two more cities, put down Theater Squares and building Amphitheaters and Art Museums there, and still you may have some Production left over (if you are rich you can even buy the Settlers and the buildings in the districts, but you cannot do the same with a Wonder), not to mention these buildings and districts will eventually provide your empire with more Great People points, more slots for Great Works than this Wonder and the museums are even themeable. Not much of a "Wonder" but a sheer waste of time and Production, the Hermitage should be ignored even if you are pursuing a Cultural Victory.
From Rise and Fall onward, nothing is really changed about this Wonder, except now you can promote a Governor with the Curator promotion (Reyna in Rise and Fall, Pingala in Gathering Storm) to make a city a Tourism hub, so you would want to maximize the Tourism output of that city by having more Great Work slots, but still, 1450 Production is a hefty price to pay for a Wonder that does not do anything "wonder-like". The only leader that can seriously consider building the Hermitage is Kristina, since she can make the Wonder themeable, effectively doubling its output, but other than her, there are always a better way to spend your Production, even if you are playing a Cultural game. Read more about using the Hermitage to maximize your Tourism output here.
The core of what is today the famed Hermitage in St. Petersburg encompasses the monumental Winter Palace, residence of the Tsars since 1764 AD when Catherine the Great completed the palace on a scale to reflect the might and power of Imperial Russia. Catherine declared it her “treasure,” and proceeded to fill it with treasures – Renaissance paintings, jeweled and gilded crafts (the likes of Fabergé eggs, for instance), the crown jewels, and other trinkets. After adding several extensions to the palace and some reorganizing, in 1852 Nicholas I opened it to the public. And the Tsars kept adding to the collection. With the February Revolution of 1917, the building briefly housed the Provisional Government, until the Bolsheviks seized power in October and declared it a gift to the proletariat. Now spread across five buildings, the Hermitage is one of the largest museums in the world, with over three million art and historical items in its collection, including the largest gathering of paintings in the world.
- The music from the intro cinematic comes from the first movement of Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky.