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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
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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