Founded in 1754, but not opened to the public until 1852, the Hermitage is part of the complex of the Winter Palace, in the imperial capital of St. Petersburg. Attached to the tsars privately, the “Cabinet of his Royal Highness” of the Imperial Domain, what became the Hermitage began as a series of collections of aesthetically pleasing objects gathered from excavations around the empire. The dramatic findings of Scythian gold became the first archeological objects of note; when the Archeological Commission opened in 1859, the fruits of its sponsored excavations went first to the Hermitage, which enjoyed the authority to “present them to the tsar.”