The Hermitage Museum's art collection may be one of the most impressive in the entire world, but still, for many visitors, the cats that live inside the museum leave a far stronger impression…
One of them, believe it or not, included them in his will. The cats left a strong impression on the Frenchman, Christoff Botar, which was so intense that he decided to give them part of his wealth through his will.
“Cats have their patrons. Recently, someone from France donated an amount of money to our cats, and we are currently looking with lawyers at what is actually happening there. It's a really nice move, "said Mikhail Piotrovsky.
All fifty cats currently live in one of the basements of the Hermitage, playing the role of official museum mouse hunters. Although they are part of the essential staff, cats are supported with the help of donations, which is why Botar's gift was more of a necessity than a luxury.
"The man passed away and divided his inheritance between close relatives, the French organization for the preservation of the natural environment and our cats," said the spokesperson of the cats, Maria Haltunen. As we found out, Hermitage received news about the inheritance during the summer, while the last steps in the incredible transfer are now being taken.
For now, Botar's occupation and his connection with the museum and the furry staff are not known, although representatives of Hermitage believe that he was an ordinary, modest man. Also, it is not known whether this Frenchman ever visited the famous museum!
By the way, cats have been permanent residents of the Hermitage since the 18th century, when Empress Elizabeth Petrovna ordered their arrival, in order to fight the invasion of mice. After almost 200 years of comfortable existence, cats were victims of the siege of Leningrad. After World War II, two carriages full of cats arrived from St. Petersburg and other places in the USSR to regain their role in the famous museum.
Due to the consequences and threat of the corona virus, the Hermitage Museum has closed its doors to visitors again, so you will have to be patient if you want to meet its cats, but you can be their patron like Botar, if you contact the museum itself.