The Hermitage rises as a Fortress of faith and strength for a city that’s seen its fair share of trouble. The Hermitage houses some of the best in 16th and 17th century paintings from Europe and a wide collection of Ancient Near Eastern, Persian, Chinese, Islamic, and Greco-Roman art. Protected by sandbags from Nazi invaders during World War 2, the curators stored the art and sculptures underground while the Germans attacked. When the War bombing ceased but before the art had been returned to its place, the curators offered free tours of the museum to the residents as a thank you gift. They pointed to the location of each piece in the gallery and each sculpture on display and described in detail what each one looked like even though the piece was not there. The curators offered a vision of something that they could faith-fully "believe without seeing."