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Sights in Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev is the capital of the Ukraine and is home to nice museums, beautiful churches, monuments, and cultural institutions worth checking out.

  • Sophia’s Cathedral—the city’s oldest standing church with original mosaics and frescoes dating back to 1017-1031, gold domes, a high bell tower, cast-iron tile floors which date from the 18th century, and art galleries containing ancient icons and fragments of original frescoes rescued from St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery; pl. Sofiyska
  • Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra—a monastery with a collection of gold-domed churches founded in 1051 by the Greek St. Anthony that was a series of underground catacombs at the time where monks worshipped, studied, and lived and was destroyed by Tatars in 1240; it then went through a series of fires and renovations before being rebuilt in the 18th century and made a museum in 1926; vul. Lavrska 9
  • Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery—a gold-domed blue church named after Kiev’s patron saint with new cupolas installed in 2001 and a remodeled church built the same year after the original church built in 1108 was torn down by Soviets in 1937, the church includes a museum that explores the church’s history; vul. Tryokhsvyatytelska 6
  • Pinchuk Art Centre—a renowned gallery with rotating exhibits on modern European art and design financed by billionaire mogul Viktor Pinchuk with works by Antony Gormley, Damian Hirst, and Ai Weiwei; Arena Entertainment Complex, vul. Baseyna 2A
  • Rodina Mat—a statue of a female warrior inaugurated by Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in 1981 with the site also including the Great Patriotic War Museum; vul. Lavrska 24
  • Izolyatsia—a series of art galleries featuring works by international and local artists that holds workshops, discussions, and presentations; vul. Naberezhno-Luhova 8
  • Khanenko Museum of Arts—a museum with the city’s greatest collection of European paintings by artists such as Bosch, Velasquez, and Rubens; an Eastern Art wing with Buddhist, Chinese, and Islamic art; and a Western Art wing with antique furniture, ancient Greek sculptures, porcelain ceramics, and paintings; vul. Tereschenkivska 15 and 17
  • Pyrohiv Museum of Folk Architecture—an open-air folk museum with 300 traditional structures moved from various parts of the country such as churches, cottages, farmsteads, and windmills; vul. Akademika Tronko
  • Chornobyl Museum—a museum that serves as a tribute to those that died after the explosion of Chornobyl on April 26, 1986 with signs representing cities evacuated from the area after the disaster and touch screens funded by the Japanese government that display every village evacuated and people who died after the explosion; prov. Khoryva 1
  • National Museum of Ukrainian History—a large modern museum which provides an overview of Ukraine’s past from the Stone Age to the eastern war with Russia with displays on modern Ukrainian revolutions and the war with Russia, a large collection of medieval armor, and a diorama of the city at the time of the Kyivan Rus; vul. Voldymyrska 2
  • National Art Museum—a museum situated within an historic neoclassical building that displays Ukrainian paintings from various eras including a collection of Ukrainian Avant Garde from the early 20th century and has nicely curated exhibitions; vul. Hrushevskoho 6
  • Holodomor Victims Memorial—a monument located at the end of Vichnoy Slavy Park that is dedicated to the 4 million victims of the induced famine caused by Soviet forces led by Stalin; vul. Ivana Mazepy 15A
  • Hryshko Botanical Gardens—a 130-hectare series of gardens with well-manicured plots; vul. Tymiryazevska 1
  • Museum of Microminiature—a museum that has microscopic creations by Russian artist Nikolai Siadristy such as the world’s smallest book; Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra
  • Museum of One Street—a museum that lays out the histories of buildings within the Andriyivsky uzviz neighborhood by detailing the lives of a rabbi, an Orientalist from Syria, a circus performer couple, and the Bulgakov family; Andryivsky uziz 2B
  • Historical Treasures Museum—a museum located behind the Dormition Cathedral that has a great collection of precious stones and metals found or made in the Ukraine including gold Scythian jewelry
  • Aviation Museum—an open-air museum with dozens of Soviet aircraft; vul Medova 1
  • Kyiv National Museum of Russian Art—a museum located within a Tsar-era mansion that has the largest collection of Russian artwork outside Moscow and St. Petersburg; vul. Tereschenkivska 9
  • Volodymyr’s Cathedral—a cathedral built in the late 19th century to commemorate 900 years of Orthodox Christianity in the city with a yellow exterior and seven blue domes and an interior featuring large murals with gold accents depicting scenes such as Volodymyr the Great’s baptism into Orthodox Christianity; bul. Tarasa Shevchenka 20
  • Fomin Botanical Gardens—landscaped gardens featuring a bronze statue dedicated to professors and students who died defending the city in World War II; vul. Tarasa Shevchenka
  • Friendship of Nations Monument—a parabolic monument that celebrates the unification in 1654 of Russia and Ukraine with an arch and an elevated plaza providing nice views of the Dnipro and Kiev’s left bank
  • Michael’s’ Monastery Museum—a museum that explores the history of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery and is located in the monastery’s bell tower
  • National Museum of Literature of Ukraine—a museum that is located in the former main building of the Pavlo Galagan Collegium that provides an overview of the history of Ukrainian literature from the 9th century to the present; vul. Bohdana Khmelnytskoho 11
  • Ivan Honchar Museum—a museum that is dedicated to preserving Ukrainian folk culture and has permanent ethnographic exhibits of clothing, textiles, musical instruments, decorative Easter eggs, traditional art, and fashions; vul. Lavrska 19
  • Museum of Hetmanship—a museum dedicated to Ukrainian hetmans, military commanders of the Ukrainian Cossack State, with exhibits about the most famous of these commanders, Ivan Mazepa, Pylyp Orlyk, and Pavlo Skoropadsky; vul. Spaska 16B
  • Water Museum—a museum originally funded by the Dutch that is located in a 1980s water pump that allows visitors to take a walk through a rainwater collector or sit on a giant toilet and stand inside a bubble; vul. Hrushevskoho 1V
  • Church of Mykola Prytysk—the oldest structure in the Podil district that was built in 1631 and is surrounded by pastel colored brick buildings; vul. Khoryva 5A
  • Taras Shevchenko Memorial House Museum—a restored 19th century wooden house where the namesake major Ukrainian author lived that has drawings he made on ethnological expeditions of the country and gardens; prov. Tarasa Shevchenka 8A
  • Chocolate House—a neo-Renaissance mansion in the city’s affluent Lypky district built in 1901 that has sumptuous interiors with large rooms, sculptures, and meticulously carved Moorish ceilings and chandeliers; vul. Shovkovychna 17
  • Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Arts—a museum located south of the Assumption Cathedral that has a large collection of clothes, carpets, jewelry, ceramics, and other items produced by Ukrainian craftsmen
  • Taras Shevchenko Museum—a spacious museum dedicated to Ukraine’s national poet that has interactive touchscreens, glass cases of first editions, and engravings of the poet
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Sights in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is a major city in Turkey and was actually the capital until 1923. It has a rich history dating back to the days of the Ottoman Empire and is home to renowned museums, historic sites, beautiful mosques, and landmarks such as Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia.

  • Ahrida Synagogue—Istanbul’s oldest synagogue located within Balat, the city’s historic Jewish district, that dates back to the 1430s and was renovated in 1992 to an Ottoman baroque style with a boat-shape reading platform inside; Kurkcu Cesmesi Sok 7
  • Topkapi Palace—an historic palace with a rich history that was the court of the Ottoman empire between the 15th and 19th centuries with the rococo-style Fountain of Sultan Ahmet III outside in the square; inside are four courts featuring:
    • First Court or Court of the Janissaries with the Byzantine church of Hagia Eirene
    • Second Court or Middle Gate which was used to run the empire and is a park-like setting with a series of pavilions, kitchens, barracks, audience chambers, kiosks, and sleeping quarters and a collection of Chinese celadon porcelain used to detect poison in food, clocks, and a large collection of Ottoman and European arms and armor
    • Harem or the imperial family quarters where concubines were taught Islamic and Turkish culture and language, makeup, dress, behavior, music, reading, writing, embroidery, and dancing and featuring a floor with 16th and 17th century Iznik tiles
    • Third Court which was the sultan’s private area and consists of an audience chamber where important officials and foreign ambassadors conducted state business; the Library of Ahmet III built in 1719; the Dormitory of the Expeditionary Force with a large collection of imperial robes, kaftans, and uniforms; Dormitory of the Privy Chamber with an exhibit of portraits of 36 sultans; the Imperial Treasury with a great collection of objects designed or decorated with gold, silver, rubies, emeralds, jade, pearls, and diamonds
    • Fourth Court where pleasure pavilions were housed and has a Turkish restaurant

Location: Babihumayun Caddesi

  • Suleymaniye Mosque—one of the grandest and most beautiful Ottoman mosques with gardens; a three-sided forecourt with a central domed ablutions fountain; four minarets with ten balconies; an interior featuring iznik tiles and décor such as window shutters inlaid with mother of pearl, stained-glass, painted honey-comb corbels and a persimmon-colored carpet and medallions with fine calligraphy and an exterior with a tea garden and café; Professor Siddik Sami Onar Caddesi
  • Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom)—a landmark in Byzantine architectural design that was completed in 537 AD and was the world’s largest and most significant religious monument for almost a thousand years with an impressive dome that is almost 18 stories high and over 100 feet across and an interior featuring four minarets, a prayer niche, imam’s pulpit, and large black medallions inscribed with the names of Allah, Muhammad, and the early caliphs; it was transformed into a museum in 1935 and extensively restored with galleries featuring imperial portraits and intricate mosaics; Aya Sofya Square
  • Beylerbeyi Palace (Beylerbeyi Sarayi)—the former summer residence of Sultan Abdulaziz with ornate painted ceilings, baccarat crystal chandeliers, gold-topped marble columns, and carved wooden furniture; Cayirbasi Duragi
  • Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)—a beautiful mosque with an interior featuring 20,000 blue-green Iznik tiles interspersed with 260 stained glass windows and calligraphy and floral patterns on the ceiling; Sultanahmet Square
  • Borusan Contemporary—a mix between an office building and an art gallery open to the public on weekends and featuring the company owners’ collection of contemporary art and temporary exhibitions that highlight multimedia works; Baltalimani Hisar Cad. 5
  • Dolmabache Palace (Dolmabahce Sarayi)—a grand palace built during the reign of Abdulmecid I whose spending bankrupted the Ottoman empire that is a mix of Turkish and European architectural and decorative styles with rococo marble columns with gilt Corinthian capitals, large mirrors, finely painted ceilings, parquet floors, and rich brocade and formal gardens, a conservatory, and clock museum outside; Dolmabache Cad
  • Galata Mevlevihanesi (Galata Mevlevi Lodge Museum)—Istanbul’s oldest whirling dervishes lodge that is now a museum with displays of dervish clothing, handicrafts, and artifacts along with information about the Mevlevi order and Sufism, exhibits on calligraphy, marbling art, and musical instruments; Galip Dede Cad
  • Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi)—a massive shopping district with 65 winding covered streets filled with 4,000 small shops, cafes, restaurants, mosques, and courtyards with shops selling leather goods; carpets; fabric; clothing; brassware; ceramics; and jewelry; Yeniceriler Cad and Cadircilar Cad
  • Great Palace Mosaic Museum—a small museum with a display of early Byzantine mosaics from the Great Palace of Byzantium some dating back to the 6th century and include images of animals, flowers, hunting scenes, and mythological characters; Torun Sok
  • Gulhane Parki—a park that was once the private gardens of the adjacent Topkapi Palace with tall plane trees, paved walkways, grassy areas, gazebos, and flowers; Alemdar Cad
  • Istanbul Archaeology Museums—a three-building complex located in a forecourt of Topkapi Palace that illustrates the history of the various civilizations that have existed in Turkey with artifacts such as the Alexander Sarcophagus, a piece found in Lebanon carved with scenes from Alexander the Great’s battles; artifacts found during excavations at Troy including gold jewelry; ceramics from the early Seljuk and Ottoman empires and tiles from Iznik, the renowned city that produced some of the best ceramics in the world during the 16th and 17th centuries; reliefs from the ancient city of Babylon; and pieces from Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and other parts of the Arabic world; located at Alemdar Cad
  • Istanbul Modern—an art museum located in a converted warehouse along the Bosphorus that features contemporary paintings, sculptures, photography, and other works from Turkey and around the world with a permanent collection that provides an overview of Turkish art from the late 19th century to the present; Meclis-i-Mebusan Cad
  • Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam—a museum located within the former stables of Topkapi Palace that discusses the role played by medieval Muslim scientists, inventors, and physicians in advancing scientific knowledge and technology during the Dark Ages; Gulhane Parki
  • Jewish Museum of Turkey—a small museum located in the Zulfaris Synagogue that provides an overview of the history of the Jews in Turkey with museum exhibits featuring photographs, documents, and ethnographic information; Karakoy Meydani
  • Kariye Muzesi (Kariye Museum or Church of the Holy Savior in Chora)—a beautiful former church filled with mosaics and frescoes considered to be some of the best Byzantine works in the world with some of the mosaics dating back to the 14th century featuring scenes from the New Testament; Kariye Turbesi Sok
  • Military Museum—a large and interesting museum with an impressive collection of swords, daggers, armor, and other weaponry and exhibits on the history of Turkic armies, the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul, and recent Turkish military activities; Harbiye, Valikonagi Cad
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts—a museum located within a large stone palace that was built for Ibrahim Pasha, a grand vizier, that has a large collection of Islamic art and artifacts dating from the 7th to 20th centuries with illustrated Qurans, calligraphic manuscripts, metalwork, wood and stone carvings, ceramics, religious relics and artifacts, and antique carpets; Atmeydani 46
  • Naval Museum—a recently renovated museum that was founded in 1861 and has been at its current location since 1961 and features over a dozen kayiks or long slim wooden boats rowed by oarsmen that were the main method of transportation for royals in Istanbul for several hundred years decorated with patterns and intricate carvings as well as an underground level with several exhibits of paintings, naval coats of arms, and other objects; Besiktas Cad
  • Pera Museum—a private museum situated within a former hotel built in 1893 that is known for its permanent collection of Orientalist paintings by European and Ottoman artists dating from the 17th to 19th centuries and also features smaller permanent exhibits on Kutahya ceramics and tiles and the history of Anatolian weights and measures from the Hittite period to the early 20th century; Mesrutiyet Cad 65
  • Rahmi M. Koc Museum—a museum located on the grounds of a former Ottoman-era shipyard with a collection acquired by one of the country’s top industrialists that includes aircraft, boats, a submarine, a tank, trucks, trains, a horse-drawn tram, engines, and antique cars as well as interactive displays on science and technology; Haskoy Cad
  • Sakip Sabanci Museum—a private museum located within an historic villa that overlooks the water with a permanent collection of late 19th century Orientalist and Republican Turkish paintings, Ottoman calligraphy, and antique furnishings and temporary installations that have included retrospectives on Picasso, contemporary artwork, exhibits on Anatolian archaeology and masterpieces, and masterpieces of Islamic art; Sakip Sabanci Cad
  • Yerebatan Sarnici—a system of aqueducts and cisterns built during the reign of Justinian in the 6th century that takes visitors through dimly lit walkways that are surrounded by 336 marble Byzantine columns; Yerebatan Cad

Sights in Ankara, Turkey

Ankara is the capital of Turkey and is home to historic sites, monuments, ancient ruins, and interesting museums worth exploring.

  • Museum of Anatolian Civilizations—a museum that provides a great introduction to Turkey’s past with exhibits featuring artifacts from major archaeological sites in Anatolia and halls with reliefs, statuary, and ancient artifacts from Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, the Bronze Age, Assyria, Hittites, Phrygian, Urartian, and Lydian periods; Gozcu Sokak 2
  • Anit Kabir—the large mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, situated within a complex that also includes museums and a ceremonial courtyard; one of the museums has Ataturk memorabilia, personal belongings, gifts from admirers, and recreations of his childhood home and school as well as exhibits about the war of independence and the formation of the republic of Turkey; Genclik Caddesi
  • Erimtan Archaeology and Arts Museum—the newest museum in the city with artifacts collected over the years by Turkish businessman and archaeology enthusiast Yuksel Erimtan that includes Roman, Bronze Age, Hittite, and Byzantine pieces such as ceramics, jewelry, a large coin collection, and cuneiform tablets; Gozcu Sokak 10
  • Rahmi M. Koc Industrial Museum—a museum located within the restored Cengelhan building that also has a hotel and restaurant and features three floors of exhibits on transportation, science, music, computing, Ataturk, and carpets; Depo Sokak 1
  • Vakif Eserleri Muzesi—a museum with a large collection of Turkish carpets, textiles, Ottoman manuscripts, tiles, metalwork, and carved panels; Ataturk Bulvari
  • Ethnography Museum—a museum located within a white marble building that once served as Ataturk’s mausoleum and now has a collection with displays on henna ceremonies, Anatolian jewelry, rug-making, Seljuk ceramics, early 15th century doors, and coffee; Turkocagi Sokak
  • Haci Bayram Camii—the most sacred mosque in Ankara named in honor of a Muslim saint who founded the Bayramiye dervish order around 1400 with the mosque built in 15th century and tilework added in the 18th century; Haci Bayram Veli Caddesi
  • Painting and Sculpture Museum—a museum that highlights Turkish artists with 19th and 20th century pieces; Turkocagi Sokak
  • Genclik Parki—a Middle Eastern style park with tea gardens, colorful water fountains, and an amusement park; Ataturk Bulvari
  • Cer Modern—an artists’ park and gallery that displays modern art from across Europe and has a café and shop; Altinsoy Caddesi 3

Sights in Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich is another major city in Switzerland and has a wealth of museums, churches, parks, and historic sites to explore.

  • Fraumunster (Church of Our Lady)—a beautiful church known for its delicate spire added in 1732 with a Romanesque choir, 1970 stained-glass windows by Marc Chagall, and painted window by Augusto Giacometti; Stadthausquai
  • Graphische Sammlung (Graphics Collection)—the large collection of the Federal Institute of Technology that has a library of woodcuts, etchings, and engravings by Durer, Rembrandt, Goya, and Picasso; Ramistr. 101
  • Kunsthaus—a renowned fine-arts gallery of European art that spans from the Middle Ages to modern times with Old Masters, Alberto Giacometti stick figures, Monet and Van Gogh masterpieces, Rodin sculptures, and 19th and 20th century art; Heimplatz 1
  • Schweizerisches Landesmuseum—an eclectic museum with a permanent collection that provides an overview of Swiss history with objects such as carved painted sleds, domestic and religious artifacts, and an archaeology section; Museumstrasse 2
  • Zoo Zurich—a zoo with over 380 species in natural enclosures such as elephants, lemurs, chameleons, camels, yaks, and penguins; Zurichbergstrasse 221
  • Botanical Garden and Museum—a botanical garden with 8000 plant species including flowers, trees, and mosses as well as 25,000 plants displayed in rotating exhibitions; Zollikerstrasse 107
  • Sukkulenten-Sammlung—a plant collection that consists of one of the largest succulent collections in the world with 4,500 species from more than 78 families, seven greenhouses, and a rockery; Mythenquai 88
  • Focus Terra—an interactive university museum which allows visitors to learn about the earth’s treasures, volcanic eruptions, origins of gems, fossils, and earthquakes; Sonneggstrasse 5
  • Grossmunster—a twin-towered cathedral that sits directly across the river from Fraumunster with an interior featuring stained-glass work by Augusto Giacometti and great views of the city from the southern tower; Grossmunsterplatz
  • Beyer Museum—a small museum located within a watch shop that provides an overview of the history of timekeeping; Bahnhofstrasse 31
  • Haus Konstruktiv (Museum of Constructivist Art)—a museum located within a former electrical substation that provides an overview of the history of constructivist art with a highlight being the Rockefeller Dining Room, a 1963 salon designed by Fritz Glarner, and a collection featuring minimalist art, concept art, and neo geo work; Selnaustr. 25
  • Helmhaus—a museum that has rotating exhibitions of modern and experimental art by Zurich-based artists; Limmataquai 31
  • Kunsthalle (Center of Contemporary Art)—a modern art venue located on one of the top floors of a former brewery with exhibitions of innovative and cutting-edge artwork; Limmastr. 270
  • Migros Museum Fur Gegenwartskunst (Migros Museum of Contemporary Art)—a lofty museum funded by the Migros department store chain, Switzerland’s largest such chain, with exhibitions from the large Migros collection including pieces by Andy Warhol; Limmastr. 270
  • Zoological Museum—a museum featuring some 1,500 stuffed animals including dinosaur skeletons, giant mammoths, and sloths with interactive exhibits that provide visitors with the chance to listen to whale songs and see insects close-up; Karl-Schmid Strasse 4
  • Museum Rietberg—a museum located in three villas in a leafy park with an emerald glass entrance featuring Switzerland’s only collection of African, Asian, and ancient American art including pieces such as a shaman eagle mask, Persian wall hangings, and Chinese cloisonné enameling; Gablerstrasse 15
  • Ethnographic Museum—a museum run by the University of Zurich that has temporary exhibitions on non-European cultures; Pelikanstrasse 40
  • FIFA World Football Museum—a newer museum opened in 2017 that takes soccer enthusiasts through the history of FIFA and the World Cup with hands-on displays, the original World Cup trophy, and a pinball machine; Seestrasse 27
  • Archaeological Collection—a museum run by the University of Zurich that has a large collection of original pieces and plaster casts that allow visitors to learn about neo-Babylonian kings, ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans; Ramistrasse 73
  • Museum fur Gestaltung—a museum dedicated to graphic and applied arts with works by classic photographers and advertising for old furniture designs; Pfingsteweidstrasse 96
  • Schweizer Finanz Museum—a museum that opened in 2017 that provides insights into the economy, stock exchange, and financial security of Switzerland; Pfingsteweidstrasse 110
  • James Joyce Foundation—a museum with Europe’s largest James Joyce collection as Zurich was where Joyce spent most of World War One; Augstinergasse 9

Sights in Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva is a major city in Switzerland and has majestic cathedrals, great museums, gardens, and historic sites worth exploring.

  • Cathedrale St-Pierre (St. Peter’s Cathedral)—an imposing cathedral with a large neoclassical façade, 12th century Romanesque-Gothic walls, stained glass windows, the tomb of the duke of Rohan, choir stalls, and the 15th century Chapel of the Maccabees; Cour St-Pierre
  • Centre d’ Art Contemporain (Center for Contemporary Art)—an art gallery that has displayed works by Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, and Shirana Shabhaz with annual exhibits that are interdisciplinary displays that highlight emerging artists who examine art in a cultural context; 10 rue des Vieux-Grenadiers
  • Fondation Baur (Baur Foundation)—the well-preserved collection of Albert Baur that consists of far Eastern art including Chinese ceramics and jade, Japanese smoking paraphernalia, prints, lacquerware, and sword fittings; 8 rue Munier-Romilly
  • Fondation Martin Bodmer (Martin Bodmer Foundation)—a museum that is filled with texts from cuneiform tablets, papyrus scrolls, and parchment to a large collection of first edition and religious texts such as the Koran and Gutenberg Bible; 19-21 Martin Bodmer
  • Horloge Fleurie (Flower Clock)—a 16-foot-wide garden with 6,500 plants in the shape of a timepiece to highlight Geneva’s role in the Swiss watchmaking industry; Quai du General-Guisan and Pont du Mont-Blanc
  • Jardin Botanique (Botanical Garden)—a 69-acre botanical garden with tropical greenhouses, beds of irises and roses, rock gardens, an aviary, a deer park, a sensory garden, medicinal and economically important plants, a seed bank, and a research institute; 154 rue de Lausanne
  • Maison Tavel (Tavel House)—Geneva’s oldest house now converted into a museum with vaulted cellars, ground-floor kitchens, medieval graffiti, 15th century tiles, a guillotine, and other features that focus on life in Geneva from 1334 to the 1800s; 6 rue du Puits-St-Pierre
  • Monument de la Reformation (Wall of the Reformers)—a granite monument dedicated to the 16th century religious reformation led by John Knox, Jean Calvin, Guillaume Farel, and Theodore de Beze with smaller statues of significant Protestant figures, bas-reliefs, and inscriptions; Parc des Bastions
  • Musee Ariana—this museum known as the Swiss Museum of Ceramics and Glass has stoneware, earthenware, porcelain, and glass from 700 years of East-West exchange and modern works in the basement; 10 Av. De la Paix
  • Musee Barbier-Mueller—the expansive collection of the Mueller family featuring sculpture, masks, shields, textiles, and ornaments from six continents and dating from seven millennia; 10 rue Jean Calvin
  • Musee International de la Croix-Rouge et Du Croissant-Rouge (International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum)—a museum that focuses on major challenges in humanitarianism—defending human dignity, restoring family links, and reducing natural risks—and explores these topics through artifacts, artwork, and personal testimonies; 17 av. De la Paix
  • Musee International de la Reforme (International Museum of the Reformation)—a museum that explores the reasoning behind the Protestant Reformation through period artifacts, well-preserved documents, and audiovisual displays; 4 rue du Cloitre
  • Musee Militaire Genevois (Geneva Military Museum)—a museum that examines the Swiss military with uniformed models, weapons, prints, and documents on display; 18 chemin de I’Imperatrice
  • Musee d’Art Moderne Et Contemporain (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art)—an industrial museum focusing on art from the 1960s to the present with temporary exhibits that include works by contemporary artists; 10 rue des Vieux-Grenadiers
  • Musee d’ Art et D’ Histoire (Museum of Art and History)—an art and history museum with Switzerland’s largest collection of Egyptian art, Escalade-era weapons, Alpine landscapes from the 19th century, and modern art; 2 rue Charles-Galland
  • Musee d’ Histoire des Sciences (Museum of the History of Science)—a museum that shows the evolution of modern science with sundials, astrolabes, microscopes, telescopes, barometers, and decorative globes; 128 rue de Lausanne
  • Musee des Suisses A L’Etranger (Museum of the Swiss Abroad)—a small museums with rooms highlighting the accomplishments of Swiss people outside Switzerland with rooms filled with models, paintings, documents, and artifacts; 18 chemin de I’Imperatrice
  • Musee d’ Histoire Naturelle (Museum of Natural History)-a large museum with wildlife dioramas with sound effects, fossils, crystals, precious stones, and polyhedrons as well as exhibits on Swiss geology, the history of the solar system, and temporary exhibits; 1 rte. De Malagnou
  • Palais des Nations (Palace of Nations)—a compound that was built between 1929 and 1936 for the League of Nations and became the European office of the United Nations in 1946 with rooms such as the Assembly Hall where the UN General Assembly and world leaders have met and the Council Chamber that is home to the Conference on Disarmament with symbolic murals; 4 av. De la Paix
  • Parc la Grange—an expansive bright park that was once the private grounds of an 18th century villa overlooking a lake and now has 240 different types of roses and performances during the summer; Quai Gustave-Ador
  • Patek Philippe Museum—this museum displays the collection of Patek Philippe, one of Geneva’s most renowned watchmaking companies including items such as gold watch cases, watch innards, portrait miniatures, pens, fans, pocket knives, and telescopes; 7 rue des Vieux-Grenadiers
  • Site Archeologique—an underground archaeological excavation site set upon the foundations of the Cathedrale-St-Pierre under which remnants of two 4th century Christian sanctuaries, mosaic floors from the Roman Empire, three early churches, and an 11th century crypt were discovered; 6 cour St-Pierre

Sights in Bern, Switzerland

Bern is the capital of Switzerland and is home to beautiful churches, interesting museums, and historic sites worth checking out.

  • Bearpark—a park with three bears in a closed-off area filled with a forest, shrubs, and cave with photos and plaques describing the bears and their lifestyle; Grosser Muristalden 6
  • Bernisches Historisches Museum (Bern History Museum)—a museum with a fine Islamic collection; Indonesian shadow puppets; Japanese swords; Polynesian masks; Indian figurines; Celtic jewelry; armor and arms from the Bernese; church treasures including sculptures from the Munster; silver; tapestries; and fountain statues; Helvetiapl. 5
  • Einsteinhaus (Einstein’s House)—a small apartment where Albert Einstein, then a young, poorly paid, and recently married postal clerk developed and published his Special Theory of Relativity; Kramg. 49
  • Kunsthalle Bern (Bern Art Gallery)—a contemporary art gallery with exhibitions of works by living modern artists and famed artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Henry Moore, Jasper Johns, and Grandma Moses; Helvetiapl. 1
  • Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts)—a renowned art museum with a large and diverse permanent collection featuring Italian artists such as Duccio and Fra Angelico, Swiss artists such as Niklaus Manuel and Giovanni Giacometti, Impressionists such as Manet and Monet, works by Picasso, and modern artists; Hodlerstr. 8-12
  • Museum Fur Kommunikation (Museum of Communication)—an interactive museum focused on communication through exhibits examining intercultural body language, Switzerland’s minorities, the history of the Swiss postal service, and the evolution of telecommunication to the Internet as well as the world’s largest collection of postage stamps; Helvetiastr. 16
  • Munster (Cathedral)—Switzerland’s most significant cathedral that was originally built in 1421 with construction continuing for about 180 years with the octagonal 328-foot steeple added in 1893 and Switzerland’s highest church tower that provides panoramic views of Bern and its surrounding mountains; inside is a 15th century depiction of the Last Judgment where archangel Michael stands between angels with gilt hair on the left and green demons on the right, carved pews and choir stalls, and 15th century stained glass windows; Munsterpl. 1
  • Naturhistorisches Museum (Museum of Natural History)—a natural history museum with the stuffed body of Barry, a St. Bernard who rescued over 40 people in the Alps between 1800 and 1812; Alpine minerals, diamonds, and fossils; wild animals; birds’ nests and skeletons; interactive temporary exhibits; and wildlife dioramas; Bernastr. 15
  • Schweizerisches Alpines Museum (Swiss Alpine Museum)—a museum that provides an overview of mountaineering, climbing in the Himalayas, surveying methods in the Andes, and Alpine cuisine; Helvetiapl. 4
  • Zentrum Paul Klee (Paul Klee Center)—a bright complex inspired by the work of Paul Klee with the world’s largest collection of works by Klee and temporary exhibits focusing on his artistic environment and legacy as well as a creative art space for artists of all ages; Monument im Fruchtland 3

 

Sights in St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg is another major city in Russia and has a rich cultural, religious, and literary history. It is home to grand palaces, museums, cathedrals, and other sights worth exploring.

  • Alexander Column—the 156-foot-tall centerpiece of Palace Square that serves as a memorial to Russia’s victory over Napoleon commissioned by Nicholas I in 1830 in memory of his brother, Tsar Alexander I, and weighs more than 650 tons with an angel crushing a snake atop the column; Pl. Dvortsovaya
  • Alexander Nevsky Lavra—a renowned monastery named in honor of St. Alexander Nevsky, a great military commander who became a national hero due to stopping the drive for Russian territory by Germans and Swedes, featuring:
    • The Gate Church with a walled pathway flanked by two cemeteries known as the Necropolis of Masters of Arts and an exhibition hall with temporary exhibits about urban sculpture
    • The Church of the Annunciation that is a red and white church that now is home to the Museum of City Sculpture containing models of architectural masterpieces in St. Petersburg, gravestones, and memorial sculptures as well as photos of the Imperial family
    • Monastery located at 1 pl. Alexandra Nevskoyo
  • Alexander Pushkin Apartment Museum—the final residence of celebrated Russian poet Alexander Pushkin who died here after a duel to defend his wife’s honor that now is a museum with a model upper-middle-class early 19th century apartment, personal belongings, his wife’s belongings, and his library; 12 nab. Moika
  • Chamber of Art—the home of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography with Peter the Great’s eclectic collection of rare precious stones and preserved human organs and fetuses; 3 nab. Universitetskaya
  • Egyptian Sphinxes—two grand landmarks in St. Petersburg that are twin statues dating from the 15th century BC discovered during an excavation in Thebes in the 1820s; nab. Universitetskaya
  • Ethnography Museum—a museum that provides an overview of the ethnic groups of Russia with crafts, costumes, and other artifacts; 4/1 ul. Inzhenernaya
  • Labirintum—a science museum with 60 exhibits about physics, chemistry, and nature featuring interactive components such as making lightning, creating a tornado, getting inside a large bubble, or finding the way through a mirror labyrinth; 9A ul. Lva Tolstogo, 6th floor of Tolstoi Skver Design House
  • State Hermitage Museum—a renowned museum with a collection of over 3 million items only some of which are on display in its 360 rooms that was begun by Catherine the Great, expanded by Nicholas I, and opened to the public in 1852 with great pieces of art including post-Impressionist and Impressionist paintings; Dvortsovaya pl. 2
  • Grand Palace—a grand and imposing smaller palace that is only open to international visitors until May and then on a limited basis from June to September with original paintings, furniture, and chandeliers; ul. Razvodnaya
  • General Staff Building—a contemporary art gallery with restored interiors that displays the Hermitage’s collection of Impressionist, post-Impressionist, and modern art; Dvortsovaya pl. 6-8
  • Russian Museum—a museum focused on Russian art from ancient icons to 20th century paintings by artists such as Karl Bryullov, Alexander Ivanov, and Nicholas Ghe; Inzhenernaya ul. 4
  • Peter and Paul Fortress—a large defense fortress that is home to a cathedral where the Romanovs are buried, a former prison, and exhibitions and walls that provide panoramic views
  • Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood—St. Petersburg’s most elaborate church with a Russian Orthodox exterior and an interior decorated with mosaics; Konyushennaya pl.
  • Grand Cascade—a collection of over 140 fountains and canals partly designed by Peter the Great with a center statue of Samson opening a lion’s jaw to commemorate Peter’s victory over Sweden
  • Faberge Museum—a museum situated within the Shuvalovsky Palace that is home to the world’s largest collection of pieces designed by Peter Carl Faberge including nine imperial Easter eggs; nab. Reki Fontanki 21
  • New Hermitage—a museum built for Nicholas II in 1852 that is home to a large collection of ancient art, European paintings, sculptures, and decorative art as well as a gallery on the second floor with the Raphael Loggias, copies of the frescoes in the Vatican in Rome; Dvortsovaya pl. 2
  • Winter Palace—a mint-green and white palace that was an imperial home until 1917 with grand reception halls, chambers, and galleries with Eurasian and Asian antiquities, European and Eastern paintings, sculptures, and decorative works; Dvortsovaya pl. 2
  • Gatchina Grand Palace—a palace in the shape of a graceful curve around a central turret with an impressive façade overlooking a large parade ground and landscaped grounds that has an interior with ten state rooms including Paul I’s throne room featuring large tapestries, his wife Maria Fyodorovana’s throne room filled with paintings, and a balcony collection of sundials; Krasnoarmeysky pr. 1
  • Museum of Political History—a museum situated within the Style Moderne Kshesinsakaya Palace that provides a comprehensive overview of Russian politics with exhibits depicting the capture of Nicholas II with bayonet cuts, street scenes in Ukraine with deceased starving citizens in Ukraine, Lenin’s former office, and the Lenin memorial room; ul. Kuybysheva 4
  • Dostoevsky Museum—the final residence of celebrated Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky that includes the study where he wrote The Brothers Karamazov, the office of his wife who recopied, edited, and sold his books, an image of Raphael’s Sistine Virgin, a clock that shows the hour and time when Dostoevsky died, family photos, and rooms dedicated to his novels, travels, and legacy; Kuznechny per. 5/2
  • Central Naval Museum—one of the city’s best history museums with a large collection of models, paintings, and artifacts from 300 years of Russian naval history; pl. Truda
  • Grand Maket Rossiya—a miniature recreation of Russia featuring mountains, cities, rivers, and lakes; transportation such as trains, helicopters, and cars; Soviet-style apartment blocks; and traditional clothing; Tsvetochnaya ul. 16
  • Treasure Gallery—a branch of the Hermitage with two signature collections including the Golden Rooms collection with Scythian and Greek gold and silver from the Caucasus, Crimea, and Ukraine and the Diamond Rooms collection with jewelry from western Europe, China, India, and Iran; Winter Palace
  • Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts—a museum with medieval furniture, 18th century Russian tiled stoves, and modern works by students of the Applied Arts school; Solyanoy per. 15
  • Kirov Museum—a museum that illustrates the lifestyles of the Bolshevik upper class with the first ever Soviet-produced typewriter, a non-communist GE fridge, personal belongings of Sergei Kirov (namesake of the museum and a Leningrad party boss whose apartment was turned into the museum), a recreated schoolroom, and childhood belongings of Eugeny Porsin who lived in the home until being drafted and dying during World War II; Kamennoostrovsky pr. 26/28
  • Botanical Gardens—a series of 26 greenhouses located on a 22-hectare square; ul. Professora Popova 2
  • Mikhailovsky Castle—a branch of the Russian Museum with nicely restored state rooms and temporary exhibitions; Sadovaya ul. 2
  • Rumyantsev Mansion—this museum part of the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg has an exhibition of 20th century history including a display dedicated to the 1921 New Economic Policy, the industrialization and development of the 1930s, and the Siege of Leningrad during World War II; Angliyskkaya nab 44
  • Nabokov Museum—a 19th century townhouse that was the childhood home of Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita, with artifacts such as family photos, first editions of his books, and some of his expansive butterfly collection; Bolshaya Morskaya ul. 47
  • Sheremetyev Palace—a branch of the State Museum of Theatre and Music with a collection of musical instruments from the 19th and 20th centuries, 18th century mahogany furniture, Italian renaissance paintings, and rare instruments; nab. Reki Fontanki 34
  • Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory—a branch of the Hermitage with Russian porcelain displays such as dinner services used by tsars, tea sets created in the 1920s, porcelain statuettes depicting people from Russia and abroad, and a porcelain shop; pr. Obukhovsky Oborony 151
  • Kazan Cathedral—a Neoclassical cathedral whose design is based upon St. Peter’s in Rome with 111-meter-long colonnaded arms that surround a garden studded with statues with an interior featuring an 80-meter-high dome and a copy of the important Russian icon, Our Lady of Kazan; Kazanskaya pl. 2
  • Marble Palace—a branch of the Russian Museum with temporary exhibitions of modern art and a permanent display from Cologne’s Ludwig Museum featuring paintings by Picasso, Warhol, Basquiat, and Liechtenstein that is noteworthy for the 36 kinds of marbles used in its construction; Millionnaya ul. 5
  • Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic—a museum dedicated to polar expeditions, wildlife, cultures, and history with displays of items such as scientific equipment, maps, taxidermy, photographs, clothing, artifacts from polar cultures, stuffed polar bears and penguins, and a 1930s wooden seaplane hanging from the ceiling; ul. Marata 24a
  • Isaac’s Cathedral—the world’s third-largest domed cathedral that was built in a span of 40 years with an interior decorated with malachite, lazulite, marble, and other stones and minerals; 4 pl. Isaakievskaya
  • Zoological Museum—a museum with a collection of over 30,000 species including a stuffed mammoth, tigers, foxes, bears, goats, birds, butterflies, and insects; 1 nab. Universitetskaya

Sights in Moscow, Russia

Moscow is the capital off Russia and has a wealth of museums, churches, cathedrals, and galleries to explore.

  • Andrei Bely Apartment Museum–a house-museum with artifacts from the life of writer Andrei Bely who is best known for his novel Petersburg including a “Lines of Life” drawing on the wall of the first room marked by dates and names of people he knew during different times in his life; 55 ul. Arbat
  • Andronikov Monastery of the Saviour–a fortified monastery founded in 1360 by Metropolitan Alexei and named in honor of its first abbot, St. Andronik, that has Moscow’s oldest stone structure, Spassky Sobor (Cathedral of the Savior), built between 1420-1427 on the site of a prior wooden church; the former abbot’s residence with a permanent exhibition with Russian artwork from the 13th to 16th centuries; a refectory built during Ivan the Great’s reign between 1504 and 1506 with icons from the 19th and 20th centuries; and the former monks’ residence dedicated to St. Nikolai the Miracle Worker better known as St. Nicholas in the west; 10 pl. Andronevskaya
  • Annunciation Cathedral—a monument of Russian architecture that connects three centuries of art and religion and was the private chapel of the royal family with its foundations laid in the 14th century and a reconstruction in the 16th century during the reign of Ivan the Terrible after being partially destroyed by a fire with six gilded cupolas added and frescoes painted in 1508 by Russian artist Feodosy as well as agate jasper tiles; Kremlin
  • Armory Chamber—the oldest and grandest museum in the Kremlin that was founded in 1806 as the Imperial Court Museum and contains 4000 artifacts dating from the 12th century to 1917 and a rare collection of 17th century silver in nine halls:
    • Hall I has works by goldsmiths and silversmiths of the 12th through 19th centuries
    • Hall II has a collection of 18th to 20th century jewelry including Faberge eggs one of which is a silver egg engraved with a map of the Trans-Siberian Railway
    • Hall III contains Asian and western European arms and armor including western European suits of armor from the 15th to 17th centuries, pistols, and firearms
    • Hall IV has a large collection of Russian arms and armor from the 12th to early 17th centuries with a great collection of helmets including the helmet of Prince Ivan, the son of Ivan the Terrible
    • Hall V has foreign gold and silver objects that are primarily ambassadorial presents to tsars
    • Hall VI has robes of silk, velvet, and brocade embroidered with gold and encrusted with jewels and pearls and coronation dresses such as one that Catherine the Great wore in 1762
    • Hall VII has regalia and imperial thrones with the oldest one belonging to Ivan the Terrible decorated in carved ivory
    • Hall VIII has dress harnesses from the 16th to 18th centuries
    • Hall IX has a collection of court carriages such as one that carried Elizaveta Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great, from St. Petersburg to Moscow for her coronation
  • Assumption Cathedral—an imposing building that is one of the oldest parts of the Kremlin built from 1465-1479 by Italian architect Aristotle Fiorovanti and was Russia’s main church until the Russian Revolution in 1917; the cathedral is topped by five gilded domes and is very spacious inside with rare ancient paintings including an icon of the Virgin of Vladimir, the 12th century icon of St. George, and the 14th century Trinity icon
  • Cathedral of Christ the Savior—Moscow’s largest Orthodox cathedral built between 1839 and 1883 in memory of Russian troops who died fighting Napoleon’s forces in 1812 and was bombed and destroyed on December 5, 1931 before being left empty until the Moscow Pool, one of the world’s largest outdoor swimming pools, was built until being dismantled in 1994 so that the cathedral could be reborn in 1997; the interior features marble panels covered in pre-Revolution Russian script describing the Napoleonic invasion of Russia in 1812 and a main hall covered in frescoes such as one of God with Jesus in his hands; 15 ul. Volkhonka
  • Central House of Artists—a modern building that is the home of the Artists’ Union with members’ artwork displayed on three floors, a small movie theater that plays old international movies, a concert hall with pop and rock music performances almost every night, and periodic exhibitions; 10 Krymsky Val
  • Chaliapin House Museum—the former manor residence of Fyodor Chaliapin, a renowned opera singer, who lived in the home from 1910-1922, and lost his citizenship while on tour in France in 1922; his home was transformed first into an apartment building with communal apartments before it was finally remodeled into its original state with works of art given to him by friends and his costumes; 25-27 bul. Novinsky
  • Donskoy Monastery—a monastery built by the edict of Boris Godunov that was named in honor of a miracle-working icon of the Virgin of the Don and is surrounded by a defensive wall with 12 towers and has two cathedrals and burial sites for Russian luminaries from the 18th to 20th centuries; 1 pl. Donskaya
  • Diamond Fund—an impressive collection of diamonds, jewelry, and precious minerals including the Orlov Diamond, a gift from Count Orlov to Catherine the Great, his mistress, and the Shah Diamond given to Tsar Nicholas I, by the Shah of Persia as a condolence present after the 1829 assassination of Alexander Griboyedov, the Russian ambassador to Persia
  • Dostoevsky Apartment Museum—the childhood home of Fyodor Dostoevsky who lived there until he was 16 on the grounds of the hospital he was born at with family pictures and period furniture included within the museum; 2 ul. Dostoevskovo
  • Gorky House Museum—the former home of Maxim Gorky, a proletariat activist, that has a lavish interior and exterior with ecru brick, pink stone, and mauve-gray foundations; a mosaic of irises forming a border around the house; a decorative iron fence; and an interior with a stained-glass roof and a winding marble staircase; 6/2 ul. Malaya Nikitskaya
  • Gorky Literary Museum—a museum with letters, manuscripts, pictures of Gorky, portraits by Nesterov and Serov, and a wooden reproduction of his childhood home with a village yard and outbuildings; 25a ul. Povarskaya
  • Gulag History Museum—a stark museum with a simulated gauntlet featuring metal gates, barbed wire, and a guard tower and six rooms filled with paintings of camp scenes, personal belongings of prisoners, and historic documents and pictures; 1-y Samotechniy Pereulok 9, Building 1
  • Ivan the Great Bell Tower—the octagonal main tower of the tallest structure in the Kremlin that is 263 feet high and was originally built in 1329 and replaced in the early 16th century during the reign of Ivan the Great before being rebuilt once more during the reign of Boris Godunov who gave it its onion-shaped dome covered with gilded copper; the annex has temporary exhibitions featuring items from the Kremlin’s collection; Cathedral Square
  • Kazan Cathedral—this cathedral built between 1633 and 1636 to commemorate Russian liberation from Polish occupation was bombed in 1936 and finally rebuilt to its current incarnation with a salmon and cream-colored brick exterior and gold cupolas and inside are frescoes, floral patterns, and icons of Our Lady of Kazan; Red Square
  • Kolomenskoye—a park that was once the summer residence of Moscow’s grand dukes and tsars with museums, a church, Russian cottages, and other attractions with the museum dedicated to Russian timber architecture and folk crafts; the Church of the Ascension that dates back to 1530 and was restored in the late 19th century; and an open-air museum with examples of wooden architecture from other parts of Russia; 39 Andropova pr
  • Krutitsy Patriarchal Metochoin—the site of a former monastery built in the 13th century and rebuilt at the end of the 16th century as the suburban residence of the Moscow metropolitan before being converted into army barracks and a military prison; the grounds now include the five-dome brick Uspensky Sobor (Assumption Cathedral) with icons, frescoes, and an all-white altar and iconostasis, a gallery, and a gate tower with baroque design; 13 ul. Kruititskaya
  • Kuskovo Estate and Palace Museum—an estate that was used as a summer residence for Moscow’s aristocrats and was owned by the Sheremetyevs, a wealthy and distinguished family; the family had a park created by Russian landscape artists who had the French-style gardens decorated with a Dutch cottage, an Italian villa, a grotto, and a hermitage with mechanical dinner tables and a palace with a horseshoe staircase, Greek-temple portico, parquet floors, silk wall coverings, and inner rooms filled with paintings by French, Italian, and Flemish artists; Chinese porcelain; furniture; and artifacts from everyday life in the 18th and 19th centuries as well as a collection of 18th century Russian art and a ceramics museum with a collection by Russian, Soviet, and foreign artists; 2 ul. Yunosti
  • Moscow Museum of Modern Art—a museum founded in 1999 by sculptor Zurab Tsereteli that has a collection of artwork by artists such as Picasso and Dali and artists from the Russian avant-garde movement; 25 ul. Petrovka
  • Multimedia Art Museum—a museum with rotating collections of modern art, photography, video, and sculpture by Russian and European artists; 16 ul. Ostrozhenka
  • Museum of Russian Icons—a museum with one of the largest private collections of Eastern Christian art in the world that includes icons and Christian pieces dating back to the 1st century; 3 ul. Goncharnaya
  • Museum of the Contemporary History of Russia—a museum that places an emphasis on the changing political climate in Russia with a permanent exhibit on the first workers’ organizations and exhibits on the 1905 and 1917 revolutions with the horse-drawn machine-gun cart of the First Cavalry Army, texts of the decrees by the Soviet government on peace and land, dioramas and paintings that depict revolutionary battles, relics, and Russia’s best collection of political posters and medals; 21 ul. Tverskaya
  • New Maiden Convent—a convent founded in 1524 by Tsar Vasily III that was primarily home to noblewomen and was rebuilt and enhanced in the 17th century with 12 battle towers and a crenellated wall and inside are three churches—Gate Church of the Transfiguration with rare and ancient Russian paintings, woodwork and ceramics, fabrics, embroidery, and a large collection of illuminated and illustrated books; the Cathedral of the Virgin of Smolensk with 84 wooden columns and icons dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries; and the Church of the Assumption and Refectory where nuns ate their meals; 1 pr. Novodevichy
  • Patriarch’s Palace—the home of the Museum of 17th Century Applied Art which features books, tableware, clothing, and household linens; Kremlin
  • Polytechnical Museum—a science and technology museum with a collection of early 20th century Russian cars, miners’ lamps, Soviet televisions, and a full-scale model of the Soviet Union’s first atomic bomb as well as a movie museum that primarily plays Soviet animation films and a planetarium; ¾ pl. Novaya
  • Pushkin Apartment Museum—the former residence of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin who lived in the home for several months after his wedding that has a floor filled with trinkets, poems, and information on Pushkin’s relationship with the city of Moscow and a floor with a reconstruction of a typical early 19th century home; 53 ul. Arbat
  • Pushkin Memorial Museum—a yellow mansion built in the 19th century by architect Afanasy Grigoriev with several rooms of Pushkin’s sketches, letters, and personal belongings; 12/2 ul. Prechistenka
  • Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts—one of Russia’s top art museums with a collection of works by Gauguin, Cezanne, and Picasso and rooms filled with ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art; Italian works from the 15th century including Botticelli’s The Annunciation and Guardi’s Alexander the Great at the Body of the Persian King Darius; and paintings by Murillo, Rubens, and Van Dyck; 12 ul. Volkhonka
  • Schusev State Museum of Architecture—a former 18th century mansion that now displays works by some of Russia’s best and most controversial architects and international architects as well with temporary exhibits focusing on architecture in Moscow from ancient times to the present; 5/25 ul. Vozdvizhenka
  • Basil’s Cathedral—a cathedral commissioned by Ivan the Terrible to commemorate his conquest of the city of Kazan in 1552 with a central chapel 107 feet high surrounded by eight chapels connected by an elevated gallery; the chapels are topped by onion domes carved with unique patterns and dedicated to a saint on the day that the Russian army won battles against the Tatars and there is a museum inside that was opened in 1929 dedicated to the Russian conquest of Kazan with exhibits on the Russian conquest of medieval Kazan, 16th century Russian and Tatar weaponry, and the history of the cathedral’s construction; Red Square
  • State Historical Museum—a museum with twin towers and exhibits on architectural styles and archaeological and historical collections; 1 Red Square
  • The Museum of Private Collections—a museum with a collection of impressionist, post-impressionist, modern art, and Russian icons; 10 ul. Volkhonka
  • The New Tretyakov—a branch of the Tretyakov Gallery with a permanent exhibit on 20th century art featuring works by Chagall, Malevich, and Kandinsky; 10 ul. Krymsky Val
  • The State Museum of Oriental Art—a museum with a large permanent collection of artwork and clothing from the Central Asian republics, China, Japan, and Korea; 12a bul. Nikitsky
  • The Twelve Apostles’ Church—the former private church of Patriarch Nikon in the 16th century that has an exhibit of icons removed from Kremlin churches destroyed by Soviet forces; Kremlevskaya nab
  • Tolstoy House Estate Museum—the winter residence of Leo Tolstoy with the ground floor featuring his children’s bedrooms, the nursery where his young son died of scarlet fever, dining rooms, kitchen, and the bedroom of the Tolstoys and the upper level featuring their receiving room, an Asian-style den, and Tolstoy’s study; 21 ul. Lva Tolstogo
  • Tolstoy Memorial Museum—a mansion where a distant relative of Tolstoy lived that was converted into a museum in 1920 with exhibit halls featuring manuscripts and photographs of Tolstoy and his family and picture and paintings of Moscow at the time Tolstoy lived; 11/8 ul. Prechistenka
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier—a red granite monument situated within Alexander Garden that contains the body of an unknown Soviet soldier and to the right of the tomb are six urns with soil from the six cities that tried to resist German forces in World War II; ul. Manezhnaya
  • Tretyakov Gallery—a renowned art museum with great Russian artwork, icons, sculptures, drawings, and landscape art with a collection begun by a Moscow industrialist Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov and donated to the city government in 1892 that has increased over the years due to state acquisitions; 10 per. Lavrushinsky
  • Triumphal Square—the intersection of the Garden Ring, Moscow’s grand boulevard, with a statue of revolutionary poet Vladimir Mayakovsky who committed suicide because of his disillusionment with the revolution he had advocated for in the center of the square and three theaters and concert halls in the square; junction between Tverskaya and the Garden Ring
  • Tropinin Museum—a museum containing miniatures and portraits by serf artist Vasily Tropinin and others with period rooms and permanent painting collection; Shetininskiy Lane, House 10, Building 1

Sights in Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest is an old city and the capital of Romania. It is home to some beautiful churches, interesting museums, and two palaces.

  • Arcul de Triumf (Arch of Triumph)—a landmark built in 1922 to commemorate the 1877 War for Independence and honor those who died in World War One that also provides great views of the city; Bulevardul Maresal Constantin Prezan
  • Biserica Cretulescu (Cretulescu Church)—a church dating back to the 1720s with a red brick exterior and nice interior frescoes and an iconostasis that depicts religious scenes; Calea Victoriei 45
  • Biserica Curtea Veche (Old Court Church)—Bucharest’s oldest church that was completed in the mid-16th century in a Wallachian style with horizontal bands of brick and plaster moldings and frescoes near the altar; Str. Franceza 33
  • Muzeul National Al Satului Dimitrie Gusti (National Village Museum)—an open-air museum that shows the many architectural styles of traditional Romanian houses, workshops, and churches with some of them featuring regional furnishings; Soseaua Pavel Dimitrievici Kiseleff 28-30
  • Muzeul National De Arta (National Art Museum)—a former royal palace that has Romania’s most significant art collection with 15 rooms of paintings and sculptures by European artists and a large collection of Romanian art from medieval times to the present including works by Brancusi and works from the Brueghel school; Calea Victoriei 49-53
  • Muzeul National De Istorie (Natural History Museum)—a museum with a large collection of objects dating from the Neolithic period to the 1920s with a treasury section containing golden objects from Roman times to the present; Calea Victoriei 12
  • Muzeul De Istorie Naturala Grigore Antipa (Natural History Museum)—a museum with exhibits on Romanian wildlife and dioramas of different ethnic cultures; Soseaua Pavel Dimitrievici Kiseleff 1
  • Muzeul de Istorie Al Comunitatilor Evreiesti Din Romania (Museum of the History of the Jewish Community in Romania)—a museum located within a synagogue that dates back to 1850 that describes the history of Romania’s Jewish population which at 750,000 was the second largest in Europe before World War II and now numbers over 10,000; Str. Mamulari 3
  • Muzeul Taranului Roman (Romanian Peasant Museum)—a museum with over 90,000 items from traditional costumes and textiles to ceramics and icons and a basement exhibition on Communist-era statues and posters; Soseaua Pavel Dimitrievici Kiseleff 3
  • Palatul Cotroceni (Cotroceni Palace)—a palace built in the late 19th century that has a mix of French, Romanian, Art Nouveau, and other styles of architecture that was rebuilt after a major 1977 earthquake and is the home of the Romanian president that features sumptuous furniture, art, and personal possessions; 1 Geniului bld
  • Palatul Parlamentului (Palace of Parliament)—one of the largest buildings in the world that houses the Romanian parliament with 24-karat gold on the ceilings to a large hand-woven carpet on the floor; Strada Izvor 2-4

Sights in Madrid, Spain

Madrid is the capital of Spain and has an impressive history and scenic parks, museums, and churches that are certainly worth exploring.

  • Basilica de San Francisco El Grande—a basilica built by Carlos III on the site of a Franciscan convent founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1217 with a large dome that is the largest in Spain, seven main doors made from American walnut, three chapels joining the circular church with one containing a famed Goya painting, and 16th century Gothic choir stalls; Pl. de San Francisco
  • Caixaforum—an arts complex designed by two Swiss architects that appears to float on the public plaza and has a vertical garden designed by a French botanist; inside are huge exhibition halls that display ancient and contemporary art; Paseo del Prado 36
  • Campo del Moro (Moors’ Field)—a park with shade trees, winding paths, and lawn that lead up to the Palacio Real and inside the gardens is the Museo de Carruajes (Carriage Museum) that has royal carriages and equestrian gear from the 16th to 20th centuries; Paseo Virgen del Puerto
  • Casa Museo Lope de Vega—the former home of famed Spanish playwright Fray Lope Felix de la Vega who wrote 1,800 plays and attained great success in his lifetime that now is a museum with whale-oil lamps, candles, bed-warming pans, poetry readings, and workshops; Calle Cervantes 11
  • Catedral de la Almudena—this cathedral adjacent to the Royal Palace had its first stone laid in 1883 by King Alfonso XII and its structure consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1993 and in a classical and Gothic style with a wooden statue of Madrid’s female patron saint, the Virgin of Almudena, who was discovered after the conquest of Madrid by Christians in 1085; Calle Bailen 10
  • Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Queen Sofia Art Center)—Spain’s national museum of contemporary art that has works by all of the major Spanish painters and sculptors such as Picasso, Miro, Goya, and Dali displayed in a manner that puts these works into their historical context with the highlight piece on the second floor, Picasso’s Guernica, that depicts the Nazi bombing of the ancient Basque town of Gernika in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War, and the fourth floor dedicated to art created post-World War II; Calle de Santa Isabel 52
  • Centro de Conde Duque—an imposing building that was used as a military academy and astronomical observatory in the 19th century that after a fire in 1869 was renovated and converted into a cultural and arts center with a modern art museum and temporary art exhibitions; Calle Conde Duque 9 and 11
  • Museo Arqueologico Nacional (Museum of Archaeology)—a large neoclassical building that is a museum with three floors with Spanish relics, artifacts, and treasures such as La Dama de Elche, a bust of a wealthy 5th century BC Iberian woman whose headwear is a precursor to traditional Spanish dress, Visigothic votive crowns discovered in 1859 that date back to the 7th century, and the ivory crucifix of Ferdinand and Sancha; Calle de Serrano 13
  • Museo Lazaro Galdiano—the former mansion of writer and editor Jose Lazaro Galdiano that has décor and paintings by Bosch, El Greco, Murillo, and Goya among others; Calle de Serrano 122
  • Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporaneo—a museum inside the Centro de Conde Duque that was founded in 2001 and has 200 modern art pieces by local artists; Centro de Conde Duque, Calle Conde Duque 9 and 11
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza—this museum opened in 1992 that is located within the 18th century Villahermosa Palace and has a collection of almost 1,000 paintings that depict the history of Western art from 13th century Italian Gothic to 20th century American pop art with highlights such as Hans Holbein’s Portrait of Henry VIII, an impressionist halls, and German expressionist works; Paseo del Prado 8
  • Museo de Historia de Madrid—a museum founded in 1929 in a former 17th century hospice that has paintings, drawings, pictures, ceramics, furniture, and other objects that illustrate Madrid’s history with exhibits divided into four major historic periods: Empire, Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, and Modern Times; Calle Fuencarral 78
  • Museo del Prado (Prado Museum)—one of the world’s most renowned art museums that was renovated in 2007 with an addition of a large new wing and building centered around the remains of the Cloister of the San Jeronimo el Real which features works by Zurbaran and Antonio de Pereda; highlights of the permanent collection are works by three renowned Spanish masters: Goya, Velasquez, and El Greco and pieces by Flemish, Dutch, German, French, and Italian artists; Paseo del Prado
  • Museo del Traje (Costume Museum)—a museum that depicts the evolution of Spanish dress from royal burial garments to the introduction of French fashion by Felipe V and 20th century couture by Balenciaga and Pertegaz; Av. Juan de Herrera 2
  • Palacio Real—this palace built on the land where Muslims built their defensive fortress in the 9th century was commissioned in the early 18th century by Felipe V with classical French design and inside are 2,800 rooms including King Carlos III’s private apartments; a grand throne room with the royal seats of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia; a banquet hall that seats 140 for state dinners; a music museum with the world’s largest collection of stringed instruments; a painting gallery with works by Spanish, Flemish, and Italian artists; the royal armory with historic suits of armor; and the royal pharmacy with vials and flasks used to mix the king’s medicines; Calle Bailen
  • Parque del Buen Retiro (The Retreat)—Madrid’s largest park with formal gardens, fountains, lakes, exhibition halls, children’s play areas, outdoor cafes, and a puppet theater; Puerta de Alcala
  • Plaza de Oriente—the plaza in front of the Palacio Real that is surrounded by stone statues of Spanish monarchs including one that is the first bronze equestrian cast with a rearing horse
  • Plaza de la Cibeles—a majestic plaza with a well-known fountain, Fuente de la Cibeles (Fountain of Cybele), that depicts the nature goddess driving a chariot drawn by lions
  • Plaza de la Paja—this plaza was the most important square in medieval Madrid with the focal point being the Capilla del Obispo (Bishop’s Chapel) built between 1520 and 1530 that was the site where peasants gave their tithes (1/10 of their crop)
  • Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (St. Ferdinand Royal Academy of Fine Arts)—a museum that displays 500 years of Spanish paintings from Jose Ribera and Bartolome Esteban Murillo to Joaquin Sorolla and Ignacio Zuloaga with a gallery that displays paintings up to the 18th century including some Goya paintings; Calle de Alcala 13
  • Real Jardin Botanico (Botanical Garden)—a garden with plants, flowers, and cacti from around the world; Pl. de Murillo 2
  • Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Royal Monastery of St. Lawrence of Escorial)—a granite monastery commissioned by Felipe II built from 1563 to 1584 with treasures from the Spanish empire; a pantheon with the tombs of every king but three since Carlos I and royal children; a colorful library with ceiling paintings by a follower of Michelangelo and 50,000 rare manuscripts, codices, and ancient texts; San Lorenzo de El Escorial
  • Zoo-Aquarium—a comprehensive zoological park with a large variety of animals including an albino tiger, dolphins, and wild birds; Casa de Campo

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