Advertisements

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

 

Advertisements

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 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

Sights in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is the beautiful capital of Portugal that has a history of great exploration, seafaring, and culture. It is a great place to explore with several museums, Europe’s largest indoor aquarium, and art galleries.

  • Aqueduto Das Aguas Livres—formerly the water source for the city, this aqueduct stretches for more than 11 miles with 35 arches that cross the Alcantara river valley beyond the Amoreiras shopping complex and the largest arch is said to be the highest pointed arch in the world; Praca des Amoreiras 10
  • Arco da Rua Augusta—a triumphal arch that provides a view of the buildings built after a terrible earthquake with elevator access and two flights of stairs to the top where visitors can ring a bell and admire the panoramic views over Praca do Comercio and the River Tejo in one direction and look at the streets below along Rua Augusta; Rua Augusta 2
  • Basilica da Estrela—a white basilica located at the top of one of Lisbon’s seven hills with scenic views from its dome that was built at the end of the 18th century under the rule of Queen Maria I and has black and white marble walls and floors and an elaborate nativity scene; Praca da Estrela
  • Casa dos Bicos—an Italianate former residence built in 1523 for Bras de Albuquerque, the son of Afonso, the viceroy of India and conqueror of Goa and Malacca, with a façade studded with pointed white diamond-shaped stones and the top two floors dedicated to Jose Saramago, the only Portuguese-language winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature; Rua dos Bacalhoeiros
  • Casa-Museu Medeiros e Almeida—a museum located within a 19th century mansion where the collector that gave his name to the museum once lived and amassed a collection of furniture, porcelain, clocks, paintings, gold, and jewelry; Rua Rosa Araujo 41
  • Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George’s Castle)—a castle built by the Moors and previously fortified by Romans and Visigoths with a statue at the main entrance of Dom Alfonso Henriques whose forces invaded the castle and drove the Moors out of Lisbon and ramparts that provide scenic views of the layout of the city, a snack bar, a museum with archaeological finds, and a formal restaurant; Rua de Santa Cruz do Castelo
  • Elevador de Santa Justa—the Santa Justa Elevator was built in 1902 by Raul Mesnier who studied under Eiffel (architect of the Eiffel Tower) and provides views of the Baixa district and beyond; Rua do Ouro
  • Fundacao Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva—a former royal silk factory that has artwork from the museum’s collection and exhibitions featuring pieces by Picasso, Chagall, and other artists; Praca das Amoreiras 58
  • Igreja E Museu de Sao Roque—a church completed in 1574 that was one of the world’s earliest Jesuit buildings with a plain austere exterior and an interior with gold and marble, eight side chapels that have statues and art dating back to the early 17th century, and a chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist that was designed and built in Rome and reassembled in Lisbon in 1747 with rare stones and mosaics resembling oil paintings; Largo Trinidade Coelho
  • Jardim Botanico—a botanical garden laid out in 1874 with 10 acres of paths, benches, and 15,000 species of subtropical plants; Rua da Escola Politecnica 58
  • Jardim Botanico da Ajuda—Portugal’s oldest botanical garden that was laid out in 1768 by an Italian botanist with ornate fountains, four acres of greenhouses filled with a variety of plant species, and a tropical garden with plants from the Azores, Madeira, and other former Portuguese colonies; Calcada da Ajuda
  • Jardim Zoologico—a major attraction with more than 3,000 animals from over 330 species including a Tigers’ Valley, gorilla house, petting zoo, and animal shows as well as cafes and picnic areas; Praca Marechal Humberto Delgado
  • Lisboa Story Centre—an interactive museum that has multimedia exhibits illustrating the history of Lisbon with a central focus on Portuguese maritime discoveries and a theater with a reenactment of the 1755 earthquake that ravaged the city; Praco do Comercio 78-81
  • Lisbon Cathedral (Se De Lisboa)—the main cathedral in Lisbon that was founded in 1150 to memorialize the defeat of the Moors on the site of the former Moorish mosque with a rose window, 13th century cloister, and a sacristy with treasures such as the relics of St. Vincent the Martyr who is the official patron saint of Lisbon; Largo da Se
  • Monserrate Park and Palace—an estate west of Sintra that was laid out by Scottish gardeners in the mid-19th-century at the request of Sir Francis Cook with the central building being a Moorish three-domed palace that was home to Gothic novelist William Beckford and other feature include gardens with streams, waterfalls, and Etruscan tombs; Estrada da Monserrate
  • Mosteiro dos Jeronimos—a UNESCO World Heritage site that is an example of the Manueline architectural style named after King Dom Manuel I with elaborately sculpted details with a maritime theme and a large spacious interior with six nave columns and a latticework ceiling, the building is the resting place of Vasco da Gama and the Portuguese national poet Luis de Camoes; Praca do Imperio
  • Museu Berardo—a museum located within the Belem Cultural Center that has a significant private collection of modern art by artists such as Picasso, Warhol, and Portuguese artist Paula Rego, visiting exhibitions, a restaurant, several cafes, and rooftop gardens with a large terrace that has jets of water spray from the ground; Praca do Imperio
  • Museu Calouste Gulbenkian—the museum of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation set within gardens filled with walkways, flowers, and ducks that is home to the collection of Armenian oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian which features Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Islamic, and Asian art and European acquisitions as well as a modern collection of 9,000 pieces from the 20th and 21st centuries including sculptures, paintings, and photographs; Av. De Berna 45
  • Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga—a large art museum housed within a 17th century palace once owned by the courts of Alvor that has a nicely displayed collection of Portuguese art from the 15th-19th centuries, Flemish art pieces that were influential to Portuguese artists, and other European artists; Rua das Janelas Verdes
  • Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporanea—a museum on the site of a monastery that focuses on Portuguese art from 1850 to the present covering movements such as Romanticism, Naturalism, and Modernism; Rua Serpa Pinto 4
  • Museu Nacional do Azulejo—a stately museum dedicated to Portuguese tilework that is housed within the 16th century Madre de Deus convent and cloister with displays of glazed tiles, pictorial panels, and large tile pieces; Rua da Madre de Deus 4
  • Museu Nacional Dos Coches (National Coach Museum)—a museum with a great collection of gilded horse-drawn carriages with the oldest on display made for Philip II of Spain in the late 1500s and three carriages created in Rome for King John V in 1716; Av. Da India 136
  • Museu da Farmacia—a museum in an old palace that covers over 5,000 year of pharmaceutical history from prehistory to fictitious potions with ancient objects related to pharmaceutical science and art and pharmacies shipped intact from other parts of Portugal and a 19th century Chinese pharmacy from Macau; Rua Marechal Saldanha 1
  • Museu da Marioneta—a museum with displays of puppets from Portugal and other countries with frequent puppet shows; Convento das Bernardas, Rua da Esperanca 146
  • Museu de Marinha—one of the city’s oldest museums founded in 1853 that illustrates the significance of seafaring to the country through maps and maritime codes, navigational equipment, full-size and model ships, uniforms, and weapons; Praca do Imperio
  • Museu do Oriente—a museum located in a former fish store that opened in 2008 that illustrates the story of the Portuguese presence in Asia and an overview of Asian cultures through maps and charts from Portuguese maritime exploration and painted screens from China and Japan; Av. Brasilia, Doca de Alcantara
  • Museu do Teatro Romano—a small museum that occupies a space that once was a Roman amphitheater and features artifacts such as columns; Rua de Sao Mamede
  • Museu-Escola de Artes Decorativas—this museum located within the 17th century Azurara Palace has objects dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries such as hand-embroidered Portuguese carpets based on Arabic designs, silverwork, ceramics, paintings, and jewelry; Largo das Portas do Sol 2
  • Oceanario de Lisboa—Europe’s largest indoor aquarium that features a large saltwater tank featuring a variety of fish including several types of sharks, habitats resembling the North Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans with puffins, penguins, sea otters, and tropical birds; Esplanada D. Carlos I (Doca dos Olivais)
  • Padrao dos Descobrimentos—a large monument built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator that was built on the site that was a departure point for many voyages of discovery including Vasco da Gama for India and the Spanish Armada for England in 1588; Av. Brasilia
  • Palacio Nacional de Sintra (Sintra Palace)—one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks known for its conical twin white chimneys that dates back to the late 14th century and is the only surviving palace in Portugal from the Middle Ages designed in a Moorish, Gothic, and Manueline style; the chapel has Moorish-inspired azulejos from the 15th and 16th centuries and the ceiling has the coats of arms of 72 noble families; Largo Rainha D. Amelia
  • Palacio da Ajuda—a royal residence since converted into a museum that had its last royal resident, Queen Maria, die there in 1911 with fixtures preserved in their original state and overviews of how Portuguese monarchs lived, 18th and 19th century paintings, furniture, and tapestries; Largo da Ajuda
  • Palacio da Pena—a castle that is a mixture of pastel turrets and domes that was originally a monastery but was converted into a castle by Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg who had the castle designed by a German architect in a variety of styles from Arabian to Victorian; the castle is surrounded by a park filled with trees and flowers from throughout the former Portuguese empire, hidden temples, grottoes, and a swan lake and inside the castle is Victorian and Edwardian furniture, ornaments, and paintings; Estrada da Pena
  • Panteao de Santa Engracia—a former church that serves as Portugal’s National Pantheon with the tombs of former Portuguese presidents and monuments to famous explorers and writers; Campo de Santa Clara
  • Parque Eduardo VII—Lisbon’s version of Central Park that was named in honor of Edward VII of England after his visit in 1902 that has lakes, waterfalls, statues, and vibrant plants and on the west side features a 1930s greenhouse garden with habitats arranged around a nice pool
  • Pavilhao do Conhecimento—the Knowledge Pavilion or Living Science Centre that has permanent and temporary interactive exhibits related to math, science, and technology, a café, a media library, a gift shop, and a bookstore; Alamada dos Oceanos
  • Quinta da Regaleira—a privately owned mansion in Lisbon that was built in the early 20th century for a Brazilian mining magnate and has gardens with statues, water features, grottoes, lookout towers, and an underground tower; Rua Barbosa do Bocage 5
  • Torre de Belem—a UNESCO World Heritage site with openwork balconies and domed turrets that was built between 1514 and 1520 on an island in the middle of the Rio Tagus to defend the entrance to the port and was dedicated to St. Vincent, the patron saint of Lisbon, and inside are cannons, dungeons, and a tower-top birds-eye view across the Tagus and the city; Av. Brasilia

Sights in Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and has a large variety of museums, churches, synagogues, and art galleries to walk through and explore.

  • Abba The Museum—a museum dedicated to Swedish pop sensations ABBA that has exhibits that highlight the band’s history from its beginnings to its breakup and enduring legacy with unique outfits worn during performances and original memorabilia along with interactive stations to sing, dance like an ABBA avatar, or perform on stage; Djurgardsv. 68
  • Fotografiska—a contemporary photography gallery in a 1906 red brick art nouveau building along the Sodermalm waterfront with fine art photography by artists such as Annie Leibovitz and Anton Corbijn; Stadgardshammen 22
  • Grona Lund Tivoli—an amusement park with intense rides, gardens, arcades, and restaurants with the Power Tower, one of Europe’s tallest free-fall amusement park rides; Lilla Allmanna Grand 9
  • Historiska Museet (The Swedish History Museum)—a historical museum with Viking treasures and a gold room as well as other exhibitions that provide an overview of Sweden’s history; Narvav 13-17
  • Junibacken—a storybook park with a storybook house that resembles the house that Pippi Longstocking, the beloved children’s book character created by Astrid Lingren; Galarvarsv 8
  • Kungliga Slottet—a castle built on the ruins of Tre Kronor castle which burned down in 1697 with highlights including the Versailles-inspired Karl XVI Gallery and Queen Kristina’s silver throne in the Hall of State and 608 other rooms making it the world’s largest royal castle still used for its original purpose; Slottsbacken
  • Vasamuseet—the custom-designed home of the warship Vasa that sank soon after embarking on its maiden voyage in 1628 with most of the passengers aboard and was raised in 1961, reassembled, and restored with an entrance level that has a model of the ship and a theater showing a film that covers topics not seen in the exhibitions and four other levels of exhibits with salvaged artifacts, information about life on the ship, naval warfare, sculptures, and temporary exhibitions; Galarvarsvagen 14
  • Skansen—the world’s first open-air museum founded in 1891 by Arthur Hazelius to show how Swedes once lived with 150 traditional homes and exhibits including a glass-blowers’ cottage; the Nordic Zoo with elk, reindeer, brown bears, wolves, and native wildlife; staff in period costumes; a functional bakery; a bank and post office; a machine shop; botanical gardens; and Hazelius’s mansion with restaurants, cafes, and hot-dog stands throughout the park; Djugardsvagen
  • Moderna Museet—a modern art museum with a permanent collection that has paintings, sculptures, photography, video art, and installations by artists such as Picasso, Dali, Warhol, and Damien Hirst, Scandinavian and Russian artists, temporary exhibits, viewing rooms, children’s workshops, and hands-on events; Exercisplan 4
  • Millesgarden—the former home and studio of sculptor Carl Milles that includes a modern art gallery with rotating exhibitions of contemporary art, an outdoor sculpture garden, a museum shop, and a café; Herserudsvagen 32
  • Spritmuseum—the Museum of Spirits that is dedicated to the country’s relationship with alcohol and covers the history, manufacturing, and consumption of alcoholic beverages in addition to traditions, drinking songs, and food combinations; Djugardsvagen 38
  • Thielska Galleriet—an art gallery with a collection of works by late-19th-century and early 20th century Scandinavian artists such as Carl Larsson, Anders Zorn, Ernst Josephson, and Bruno Lilijefors; Sjotullsbacken 8
  • Nordiska Museet—Sweden’s largest cultural history museum and one of its largest indoor spaces situated within a Renaissance-style castle with a collection featuring Sami objects, clothing, table settings, and the world’s largest collection of paintings by August Strindberg; Djugardsvagen 6-16
  • Medeltidsmuseet—a family-friendly museum built upon foundations from 1530 that provides visitors with the opportunity to explore reconstructions of typical homes, markets, and workshops from medieval Stockholm with hands-on and multimedia exhibits such as a 1520s-era ship, a display about Gallows Hill, and a gated tunnel; Stromparteren
  • Royal Armoury—this armory in the cellar vaults of Sweden’s palace has memorabilia from royal childhoods, coronations, weddings, and murders as well as coronation coaches and temporary exhibitions; Slottsbacken 3
  • Riddarholmskyran—a beautiful church built by Franciscan monks in the late 13th century that has served as the royal necropolis since the burial of Magnus Ladulas in 1290 and is home to the armor of the Seraphim knightly order with wall plates displaying the coats of arms of the knights; Riddarholmen
  • Nobelmuseet—a museum that provides an overview of the history of the Nobel Prizes and their recipients through displays, films, video interviews, and café chairs signed by the visiting prize recipients; Stortorget
  • Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde—a palace that belonged to Prins Eugen, a painter and prince, that includes a gallery of pieces by Eugen himself, Nordic paintings and sculptures by artists such as Anders Zorn and Carl Larsson, and temporary exhibitions with the palace surrounded by gardens and a 1780s windmill; Prins Eugens vag 6
  • Medelhavsmuseet—an elegant museum with Egyptian, Greek, Cypriot, Roman, and Etruscan artifacts and a gold room with a 4th century BC olive wreath made of gold as well as mummies and a café; Fredsgatan 2
  • Skogskyrkogarden (Woodland Cemetery)—a scenic graveyard designed by famed designers Gunnar Asplund and Sigrid Lewerentz that is on the UNESCO World Heritage list and known for its functionalist buildings with Greta Garbo’s grave located within; Sockenvagen
  • Ekoparken (Royal National City Park)—the world’s first national urban park established in 1995 that stretches throughout Stockholm and into the suburbs of Solna and Lidingo and features rare plant and animal species with some that live nowhere else in Sweden
  • Kulturhuset—an arts center with galleries, workshops, a cinema, three restaurants, and libraries with international periodicals, newspapers, books, and graphic novels in a variety of languages as well as the City Theatre and Stockholm’s main visitor center; Sergels Torg
  • Hallwylska Museet—a palace completed in 1898 that was once home to an obsessive collector, Wilhelmina von Hallwyl, who amassed a collection of kitchen utensils, Chinese pottery, 17th century paintings, silverware, and sculptures; Hamngatan 4
  • Ethnografiska Museet—a museum with displays on aspects of non-European cultures including temporary exhibitions and live performances with past exhibitions focusing on Afghan culture, gender norms in different cultures, and voodoo; Djugardsbrunnsvagen 34
  • Bonniers Konsthall—an art gallery with international contemporary art, a reading room, a café, art seminars, and artist conversation sessions; Torsgatan 19
  • Aquaria Vattenmuseum—this aquarium is dedicated to ecology and marine environmental issues and has seahorses, sharks, piranhas, and clownfish; Falkenbergsgatan 2
  • Nationalmuseum—Sweden’s largest art museum which is home to the country’s collection of painting, sculpture, drawings, decorative arts, and graphics from the Middle Ages to the present; Sodra Blasieholmshamnen
  • Tantolunden—one of Stockholm’s most extensive parks with an outdoor gym, play area, and walking paths; Zinkens Vag
  • Tekniska Museet—a technology-oriented museum with interactive science and technology exhibits, a room with kinetic experiments and stations to test balance, flexibility, and strength, a mining exhibit, a model railroad, inventions by women, and a climate-change game; Museivagen 7
  • Armemuseum—a museum dedicated to the drama of warfare with three floors of exhibitions featuring art, weaponry, and life-size reconstructions of horsemen, barracks, and starving civilians; Riddargatan 13
  • Wetterling Gallery—a gallery space with contemporary and multimedia art exhibitions; Kungstradgarden 3
  • Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet—a natural history museum founded in 1739 with interactive activities such as crawling through a human ear, sitting through forest fires, and mosquito chambers as well as displays of fossils, rocks, stuffed wildlife, marine life, and polar plants; Frescativagen 40
  • Sparvagsmuseet—a transport museum with 40 vehicles including antique horse-drawn carriages, vintage trams and busses, and a tunnelbana carriage; Tegelviksgatan 22
  • Storkyrkan—Stockholm’s oldest building which was consecrated in 1306 and its cathedral with a Baroque exterior and a Gothic-Baroque interior with royal-box pews designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and a sculpture by German sculptor Berndt Notke entitled George and the Dragon; Trangsund 1
  • Dansmuseet—the Rolf de Mare Dance Museum that features traditional dance masks from Africa, India, and Tibet; stylish costumes from the Russian ballet; Chinese and Japanese theatre puppets; and a renowned collection of early 20th century Ballets Russes costumes; Drottninggatan 17
  • ArkDes—a museum next to Moderna Museet situated within a converted navy drill hall that focuses on architecture and design with a permanent exhibition that spans 1000 years of Swedish architecture and has an archive of 2.5 million documents, photographs, plans, drawings, and models; Exercisplan 4
  • Ostasiatiska Museet—a museum dedicated to Asian decorative arts with one of the world’s best collections of Chinese stoneware and porcelain from the Song, Ming, and Qing dynasties and the largest and oldest Asian library in Scandinavia; Tyghusplan
  • Strindbergsmuseet—the preserved apartment of writer and painter August Strindberg who lived in the residence for the last four years of his life with his closet, study, library with 3000 volumes, dining room, and temporary exhibits; Drottninggatan 85
  • Ulriksdals Slott—the 17th century palace home to King Gustaf VI Adolf and his family until 1973 and now has royal apartments including a drawing room, stables with Queen Kristina’s 17th century coronation carriage, and the orangery with Swedish sculptures and Mediterranean plants; Slottsallen
  • Kaknastornet—a 155-meter-tall building that houses the radio and TV broadcasting stations for the country and has a gift shop, visitor center, observation deck, restaurant, and café with views of the city and archipelago; Morka Kroken 28-30
  • Bergianska Tradgarden—a botanical garden that borders the university on one side and Brunnsviken lake on the other with rare Swedish plants, a café in the Orangeriet, and a greenhouse named after the water lily; Gustafsborgsvagen 4
  • Riddarhuset—a 17th century building situated between the Royal Palace and government buildings on the island of Riddarholm that acts as a shrine to the once powerful Swedish nobility; Riddarhustorget 10
  • Rosendals Slott—a palace that was once home to Karl XIV Johan in the 1820s and has luxurious furniture and an outdoor organic café set within gardens and greenhouses; Rosendalsvagen 49
  • Fjarilshuset—Haga Ocean—a butterfly house within a tropical environment with flying birds and butterflies, fish, and a large shark aquarium as well as temporary exhibits; Hagaparken
  • Cosmonova—a planetarium, IMAX, and 3D theater with themes such as mummies, dinosaurs, and prehistoric sea monsters; Frescativagen 40
  • Leksaksmuseet—a toy museum with all sorts of toys on display including model trains, airplanes, toy soldiers, toy robots, Barbie dolls, and stuffed animals; Tegelviksgatan 22
  • Postmuseum—a postal museum that covers almost 400 years of Swedish postal history with old mail carriages, postcards, and a children’s post office; Lilla Nygatan 6
  • Swedish Museum of Performing Arts—a dramatic arts museum with an expansive collection of set designs, costumes, and musical instruments; Sibyllegatan 2
  • Kungliga Myntkabinettet—the national museum of economy with treasures such as Viking silver, the world’s oldest coin (from 625 BC), the world’s largest coin (a copper plate weighing 19.7 kilograms), and the first banknote (issued in 1661); Slottsbacken 6
  • Sjohistoriska Museet—a museum with over 1500 mini boats, exhibits that delve into Swedish shipbuilding and life on deck, and children’s activities; Djugardsbrunnsvagen 24
  • Tobaks and Tandsticksmuseum—a museum that explores the history and culture of smoking and the manufacturing of Swedish matches
  • Skansen Akvariet—an aquarium with piranhas, lemurs, and pygmy marmosets (the smallest monkeys in the world)
  • Konstakademien—the Royal Academy of Fine Arts which is an art gallery with several annual exhibitions; Fredsgatan 2

Sights in Oslo, Norway

Oslo has a rich maritime and cultural history and is particularly known for its Viking heritage. It has interesting museums and cultural attractions to explore with a sampling of these sights below.

  • Ekebergparken—a public park that looks out over the city and Oslofjord with artwork from the collection of art collector and developer Christian Ringnes with pieces by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Marina Abramovic, Jenny Holzer, and Tony Oursler; Kongsveien 23
  • Astrup Fearnley Museet—a private contemporary art museum designed by Renzo Piano with a glass sail-like roof and a collection including works by Jeff Koons, Tom Sachs, Cindy Sherman, Sigmar Polke, Anselm Kiefer, and Damien Hirst with the most famous piece being Koons’ Michael Jackson and Bubbles; Strandpromenaden 2
  • Ibsen Museet—a house-museum with Henrik Ibsen’s former apartment that was his final residence featuring his study in the condition he left it and the bedroom where he said his last words; Henrik Ibsens Gate 26
  • Nasjonalgalleriet—an art gallery with the country’s largest collection of traditional and modern art with works by Edvard Munch including The Scream, European art by artists such as Gauguin and El Greco, and 19th century Norwegian artists such as JC Dahl and Christian Krohg; Universitetsgata 13
  • Vigelandsanlegget—an outdoor showcase of work by Norway’s beloved sculptor, Gustav Vigeland, with 212 granite and bronze pieces depicting lovers, elderly couples, crying babies, and beggars; Nobels Gate 32
  • Akerhus Festning—a fortress on the eastern side of the harbor built in 1299 to protect Oslo from outside threats and over the years it has been enlarged, modified, and tightened up its defenses and now includes a medieval castle, a fortress, and other buildings including active military installations
  • Rod Bianco—a gallery featuring boundary-pushing artwork from Norwegian and international contemporary artists; Waldemar Thranes Gate 84c
  • Vikingshipshuset—a museum with nicely restored Viking ships discovered in Oslofjord in the late 19th century with three ships displayed with few artifacts remaining; Huk Aveny 35
  • Polarship Fram Museum—a museum dedicated to an iconic ship from polar exploration, the 39-meter Fram, where visitors can explore the decks, bunk rooms, and exhibits with artifacts, maps, and pictures; Bygdoynesveien 36
  • Munchmuseet—a museum dedicated to Edvard Munch with the largest collection of his work in the world including 28,000 items such as 1,100 paintings and 4,500 watercolors; Toyengata 53
  • Henie-Onstad Art Centre—a private art museum that has works by Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso; impressionist, abstract, expressionist, and contemporary Norwegian pieces; and the largest collection of Kurt Schwitters’ work made while he lived in Norway during World War II; Hovikodden
  • Norsk Folkemuseum—Norway’s largest outdoor museum with over 140 buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries gathered from around the country, rebuilt, and organized according to regional origin; farm animals; horse and cart rides; an Old Town section with a reproduction of an early 20th century Norwegian town with a village shop and old gas station; and an exhibition hall with comprehensive displays on Norwegian folk art, historic toys, national costumes, domestic and farming tools and appliances, and visiting exhibits and information on the life and culture of the Sami; Museumsveien 10
  • Royal Palace—the Norwegian royal family’s residence built for the French king Karl Johan that was not continuously occupied until King Haakon VII and Queen Maud assumed rule in 1905 and has been modernized by the current king, King Harald V; Slottsparken 1
  • Historisk Museum—three museums altogether that includes the National Antiquities Collection which has displays of Viking-era coins, jewelry, and ornaments; the only complete Viking helmet; the 9th century Hoen treasure which is the largest find in Scandinavia; and a section on medieval religious art; an Arctic exhibit; a collection of ancient Norwegian coins; and the Ethnographic Museum with rotating exhibits on Asia, Africa, and the Americas; Frederiks gate 2
  • Vigeland Museum—a museum which was built by Oslo in the 1920s as a home and studio for Gustav Vigeland in exchange for the donation of much of his work and contains statuary and monuments to public figures as well as plaster molds, woodblock prints, and sketches; Nobelsgata 32
  • Nobels Fredssenter (Nobel Peace Center)—this museum is dedicated to winners of the Nobel Peace Prize and has digital displays providing information on the lives and accomplishments of the winners, changing exhibitions on aspects of the prize and its winners, a theater that shows films on the history of the prize and its winners, and a gift shop; Radhusplassen 1
  • Oslo Cathedral—a cathedral dating back to 1697 with elaborate stained-glass windows by Emanuel Vigeland and a painted ceiling completed between 1936 and 1950 as well as a large altarpiece that is a 1748 model of The Last Supper and the Crucifixion; Stortovet 1
  • Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park—a sculpture park designed by Renzo Piano that features international contemporary art by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Ugo Rondinone, Franz West, and Ellsworth Kelly; Tjuvholmen
  • Norwegian Resistance Museum—a museum that is adjacent to a memorial for resistance fighters executed during World War II and focuses on German occupation in Norway with artifacts including underground newspapers, maps, photographs, and a wired set of dentures to receive radio broadcasts
  • Natural History Museum—a museum with a zoological collection that is filled with stuffed native wildlife, the geological-paleontological collection, and greenhouses; Sars gate 1
  • Botanical Garden—the oldest botanical garden in Norway with a scenic arboretum, a scent garden, a mountain landscape, and specimens from the Oslo fjords including four nearly extinct specimens as well as woven sculptures by Tom Hare; Sars gate 1
  • Radhus—a twin-towered town hall that is home to the city’s political administration and filled with tributes to Norwegian cultural and working life; Fridtjof Nansens plass
  • Kon-Tiki Museum—a museum dedicated to the raft Kon-Tiki which Thor Heyerdahl used to sail from Peru to Polynesia in 1947 and the totora-reed Ra-II built for a 1970 Atlantic crossing by Heyerdahl; Bygdoynesveien 36
  • Norwegian Maritime Museum—a museum that depicts Norway’s relationship with the sea including its fishing and whaling industries, the seismic fleet which searches for oil and gas, shipbuilding, wreck salvaging, and pleasure craft; Bygdoynnesveien 37
  • 1857—an artist-run space in a former timber yard that is known for its collaborative curated efforts between Norwegian artists and those from Europe and beyond; Toyenbekken 12
  • Queen Sonja Art Stable—a public gallery space that was once a storage space for 50 years and was reopened as a gallery by Queen Sonja on her 80th birthday and hosts yearly exhibitions and a photograph collection collected by Queen Maud
  • Oslo City Museum—a museum situated within the 18th century Frogner Manor that adds perspective to traditional Norwegian life in the 18th century and has exhibitions about Oslo’s urban history; Frognerveien 67
  • Nasjonalbiblioteket—a modern library that has historic documents from Norway’s cultural history from 13th century manuscripts to magazines, films, and Norwegian musical scores; Henrik Ibsens Gate 110

Sights in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the lively capital of the Netherlands and has a rich and vibrant history. It has many museums, interesting architecture, beautiful parks, and plenty more to explore.

  • Allard Pierson Museum—a former National Bank that is now home to a museum with archaeological treasures from the University of Amsterdam’s collection from the early development of Western civilization with Roman and Egyptian artifacts and Near Eastern cultures (Anatolia, Persia, and Palestine); Oude Turfmarkt 127
  • Amsterdam Museum—a museum housed in a rambling series of buildings with the Schuttersgalerij (Civil Guards Gallery) filled with portraits of city militias and 21st century versions of civil guards’ paintings; Kalverstraat 92 and Sint Luciensteeg 27
  • Amsterdam Pipe Museum—a museum that illustrates the history of tobacco trading and smoking in Amsterdam with a large collection of items such as prehistoric pipes, smoking gear from around the world, pipe making tools, tobacco wrappers, and vignettes; Prinsengracht 488
  • Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest)—a nearly 2,500-acre and 124 miles of foot, bike, and bridle paths crossed by 116 bridge crossings in Amsterdam’s largest park that has large recreational fields, a boating lake, the Olympic Bosbaan rowing course, playgrounds, and water-play areas as well as a goat farm; Bosbaanweg 5, Amstelveen
  • Anne Frank House—the home where Anne Frank and her family as well as the Van Pels family and a dentist moved into and hid in a maze of rooms in the back; Prinsengracht 263-267
  • Artis (Amsterdam Zoo)—a zoo founded in 1838 that has more than 900 species of animals, over 200 species of trees, a butterfly pavilion, and an insectarium as well as the Micropia, the world’s first museum devoted to microbes; Plantage Kerklaan 38-40
  • Beurs van Berlage (Berlage’s Stock Exchange)—Amsterdam’s first modern building and the country’s most significant piece of 20th century architecture that was once a stock exchange and now has room for conferences, collaborative workspaces, exhibitions, and events; Damrak 243
  • Bijbels Museum (Bible Museum)—a beautiful museum with a large collection of Bibles, exhibits on archaeological finds from the Middle East, and models of ancient temples; Herengracht 366-368
  • Centrale Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (Central Amsterdam Public Library)—the country’s largest public library with a large theater, seminar and conference rooms, an art space, and a large music library as well as an incredible international magazine selection, a restaurant on the 7th floor, and over 1000 desks available for study and going online; Oosterdokskade 143
  • Cobra Museum of Art—an art museum with hundreds of pieces by the avant-garde CoBra movement including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics as well as temporary modern art exhibitions; Sandbergplein 1, Amstelveen
  • Eye Film Institute Netherlands—a futuristic-looking waterfront structure that has film archives, four huge screening rooms that show classic and modern films, a permanent display with historical objects and interactive elements from cinema, and a public library; IJpromenade 1
  • Heineken Experience—a museum dedicated to the Heineken beer label that is an interactive visitor center with tours of the former brewery including its vast copper vats and multimedia exhibits and a 4D virtual reality ride that simulates the brewing and bottling process; Stadhouderskade 78
  • Het Scheepvaartmuseum (Maritime Museum)—this former arsenal for the Admiralty of Amsterdam became the home of the Maritime Museum in the 1970s with a glass and steel roof and an interior that has one-room exhibitions each with different themes and items such as maritime objects, paintings, a significant globe collection, nautical instruments, yacht models, and ship decorations and two family-oriented wings with interactive activities such as a sea voyage and an exhibition about whales; Kattenburgerplein 1
  • Homomonument—the world’s first monument to persecuted gays and lesbians that was designed by Karin Daan and unveiled in 1987 and features three huge pink granite triangles that represent the past, present, and future and the points of the triangles pointing to the Anne Frank House, the National Monument on Dam Square, and the COC Center (a gay and lesbian organization founded in 1946); Westermarkt
  • Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam—a botanical garden originally configured as a medicinal garden in 1638 by the Amsterdam City Council before the collection expanded to include exotic plants from the East India Company’s foreign expeditions with 4,000 species of plants in the ornamental gardens, a three-climate greenhouse, and a butterfly house as well as an orangery with a café terrace; Plantage Middenlaan 2a
  • Huis Marseille (Marseille House)—a contemporary photography museum located in a 17th century canal house and the neighboring house that was once owned by a wealthy merchant and now has 13 exhibition rooms that show various genres of photography and thousands of photography books in the library; Keizersgracht 401
  • Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge)—the most famous of Amsterdam’s drawbridges that provides wonderful views of the Amstel and surrounding area and is illuminated at night; between Kerkstraat and Nieuwe Kerkstraat
  • Museum Het Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt House Museum)—a grand home owned by Rembrandt until his bankruptcy in 1656 with a restored interior that has reception rooms filled with elegant furniture and artwork and a small etching studio with a printing press and a line hung with drying prints (the museum owns 260 of the 290 etchings Rembrandt made); Jodenbreestraat 4
  • Museum Van Loon—formerly the home of one of Rembrandt’s most successful students, Ferdinand Bol, this house and its neighbor were remodeled in the 18th century by Abraham van Hagan and his wife Caterina Trapp, and was occupied by the prominent Van Loon family from 1886 to 1960 before a major restoration returned it to its 18th century incarnation and turned it into a museum with elegant salons filled with Van Loon portraits and possessions; Keizersgracht 672
  • NEMO Science Center—a copper-clad building opened in 1997 that was designed by world-famous architect Renzo Piano in a curved shape resembling a ship’s bow rising out of the water and featuring a rooftop café and terrace with the major highlight being five floors of hands-on and high-tech scientific activities for children such as bubbles on the ground floor and experiments in the Wonder Lab; Oosterdok 2
  • Rijksmuseum—one of the world’s top art museums with works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Vermeer and 7,500 other works of art such as Delftware, detailed dollhouses, and the Asian Pavilion; Museumstraat 1
  • Van Gogh Museum—a museum that has the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh’s masterpieces and traces his life history with additional pieces by Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet, and Bernard; Museumplein 6
  • Hermitage Amsterdam—a branch of St. Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum that shows the relationship between Russia and the Netherlands with temporary exhibitions displaying works from the Hermitage’s collection and a portrait gallery of 17th century Dutch luminaries; Amstel 51
  • A’Dam Tower—a 22-story building with excellent panoramic rooftop views of the city, a four-person swing over the edge, a green-screen for photos, a bar, two nightclubs, a revolving restaurant, and a stylish hotel; Overhoeksplein 1
  • Royal Palace—originally a town hall, this building became a palace in the 19th century with marblework inside including a floor with maps of the world, 51 chandeliers, damasks, gilded clocks, and paintings by Ferdinand Bol and Jacob de Wit; Dam
  • Stedelijk Museum—a museum featuring the collection of its curator Willem Sandberg with a rotating selection of works by Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Van Gogh, Rothko, De Kooning, and Warhol with activities for children in the family zone; Museumplein 10
  • Museum Willet-Holthuysen—a canal house built in 1687 and remodeled in 1739 that is named after Louisa Willet-Holthuysen who inherited the home from her merchant father and lived there with her husband; she sold the house to the city in 1895 and inside are displays featuring part of the family’s 275-piece Meissen table service and a French-style garden; Herengracht 605
  • Joods Historisch Museum—a restored complex of four Ashkenazi synagogues from the 17th and 18th centuries with displays highlighting the growth of Jewish enterprise and how it contributed to the Dutch economy and the history of Jews in the Netherlands; Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1
  • Verzetsmuseum—a museum that illustrates German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II through letters, artifacts, and personal stories showing resistance and at times collaboration with Nazi forces with a section on what was then the Dutch East Indies and is now Indonesia; Plantage Kerklaan 61
  • Micropia—the world’s first microbe museum with hands-on exhibits and microscopes to look through with facts on living organisms and how they exist on everyday objects as well as information on viruses; Artisplein, Plantage Kerklaan 38-40
  • Tropenmuseum—a three story collection of artifacts from former colonies including Indonesian shadow puppets and dioramas of tropical life with a hands-on children’s section, a music section, a gift shop, and a café; Linnaeusstraat 2
  • Foam—a prominent photography gallery with spacious galleries featuring skylights and large windows showcasing major annual exhibitions; Keizersgracht 609
  • Nieuwe Kerk—a 15th century late-Gothic basilica with an interior featuring a grand carved oak chancel, a bronze choir screen, a large organ, and large stained-glass windows that is typically used for art exhibitions and concerts; Dam
  • Westergasfabriek—a late 19th century Dutch Renaissance complex that was the western gasworks for the city until 1967 before it was restored into a cultural and recreational park with spacious lawns, a wading pool, bike paths, and buildings housing creative businesses such as advertising agencies and TV production studios with regular festivals, events, dining, and entertainment; Pazzanistraat
  • Het Grachtenhuis—an interactive museum with multimedia exhibits that explore how the canals and houses that line the city’s Canal Ring were built; Herengracht 386
  • Hollandsche Schouwburg—a theater opened in 1892 that was a cultural hub until World War II when Germans turned it first into a theater solely for Jews and then a detention center for Jews scheduled for deportation to death camps; inside are glass panels engraved with the names of deported Jewish families and an exhibit hall with photos and artifacts of Jewish life before and during the war; Plantage Middenlaan 24
  • Amsterdam Tulip Museum—a small museum that provides an overview of the country’s favorite flower through exhibits, timelines, and English films about the history of tulips with a collection of tulip vases and a gift shop; Prinsengracht 116
  • Stadsarchief—a striped building dating back to 1923 that was a former bank and is now home to Amsterdam city archives with displays including the 1942 police report on the theft of Anne Frank’s bike and a letter from Charles Darwin to Artis Royal Zoo; Vijzelstraat 32
  • Huis Marseille—a curated photography museum with traveling shows with varying themes such as portraiture, nature, or regional photography and exhibitions over several floors; Keizersgracht 401
  • Amstelpark—a park created in 1972 for a flower show that occurs throughout the country every ten years with creative garden layouts featuring a variety of flower species, a petting zoo, miniature golf, and a playground; Europaboulevard
  • Hortus Botanicus—a botanical garden since 1638 that flourished as tropical seeds and plants were smuggled by Dutch trading ships and from there coffee, pineapple, cinnamon, and palm-oil plants were distributed; it now features 4,000 species of plants kept in a seed house and a three-climate greenhouse and a butterfly house; Plantage Middenlaan 2a
  • Geelvinck Pianola Museum—a museum featuring a collection of pianolas dating back to the early 1900s, 30,000 music rolls, and a player pipe organ; Westerstraat 106
  • Multatuli Museum—the former home of novelist Eduard Douwes Dekker who is best known for Max Havelaar, a novel about colonialists in the Dutch East Indies, that is now a museum that describes his life and work; Korsjespoortsteeg 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sights in Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and has an interesting history explored through museums and art galleries.

  • Arheoloski Muzej (Archaeological Museum)—a museum with exhibits that focus on prehistory to the Tartar invasion with artifacts such as the Vucedol Dove, a three-legged ceramic vessel shaped like a bird that dates back to the 4th millennium BC, and a linen piece that has the longest known text in ancient Etruscan writing; Trg Nikole Subica Zrinskog 19
  • Botanicki Vrt (Botanical Garden)—this garden was founded in 1889 as research grounds for the faculty of biology at Zagreb University and features an arboretum with English landscaping, an artificial lake, and an ornamental Japanese bridge; Marulicev trg 9a
  • Crkva Svete Katarine (St. Catherine’s Church)—this church built for the Jesuits between 1620 and 1632 has one nave, six side chapels, and a shrine with the vaults and walls decorated with pink and white stucco from 1732 and hung with 18th century illusionist paintings; Katarinin trg BB
  • Crkva Svetog Marka (St. Mark’s Church) – an old church built in the 13th century that was once the parish church of Gradec with a Baroque bell tower added in the 17th century, a steeply pitched roof decorated in multi-colored tiles to depict the coats of arms of Zagreb on the right and the kingdoms of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slavonia on the left, and in the 20th century wall paintings by Jozo Kljakovic; Trg Svetog Marka 5
  • Dvor Trakoscan (Trakoscan Castle)—a heavily visited castle that was originally built in the 14th century and remodeled in the mid-19th century by Juraj VI Draskovic whose family had owned the castle for 300 years and lived there until 1944; the interior has wood-paneled rooms in different architectural themes filled with period furniture and family portraits; located 3 miles northwest of the village of Bednja, Trakoscan 1
  • Entomoloska Zbirka (Entomological Collection)—a museum with 50,000 insect specimens; Franjevacki trg 6/I, Varazdin
  • Galerija Starih I Novih Majstora (Gallery of Old and Modern Masters)—an art museum located in the 18th century rococo Palaca Sermage (Sermage Palace) with traditional paintings by Croatian and European artists; Trg Milijenka Stancica 3, Varazdin
  • Museum of Broken Relationships—a unique museum centered around mementos of relationships that have ended with donations from around the world with featured stories including a broken toaster and sad notes; Cirilometodska 2
  • Croatian Museum of Naïve Art—a gallery of paintings within the naïve art genre that was popular during the 1960s and 1970s but has declined since with works by artists such as Generalic, Mraz, Rabuzin, and Smajic; Cirilometodska 3
  • Croatian Association of Artists—a gallery designed by Ivan Mestrovic with a rotating program of exhibitions and events throughout the year that was once a mosque; Mestrovic Pavilion, Trg Zrtava Fasizma 16
  • Museum of Contemporary Art—an art museum designed by famed architect Igor Franic that has solo and themed shows as well as a permanent collection featuring 620 works by 240 artists half of which are Croatian; Avenija Dubrovnik 17
  • Maksimir Park—a wooded park that is 18 hectares that was the first public promenade in southeastern Europe and has English garden-like landscaping with alleys, lawns, and artificial lakes as well as the Bellevue Pavilion which is often photographed and a house resembling a Swiss cottage; Maksimirski perivoj bb
  • Museum Mimara—a private art collection donated by Ante Topic Mimara consisting of Ptolemaic glassware from Alexandria, delicate jade and ivory Qing dynasty ornaments, 14th century wooden crosses decorated with semi-precious stones, and a European painting collection with works by Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Bosch, Velasquez, Goya, Renoir, and Degas; Rooseveltov trg 5
  • Croatian State Archives—an Art Deco building with wise owls on the corners of the roof that was built in 1913 to house the royal library and land archives and is now home to the state archives and a reading room with chandeliers and a painting depicting influential Croatian figures; Marulicev trg 21
  • Galerija Klovicevi Dvori—an art gallery housed within a former Jesuit monastery that has a large roster of temporary exhibitions throughout the year with past exhibitions including pieces by Picasso and Chagall; Jezuitski trg 4
  • Lauba—a private art collection within a former textile-weaving mill that displays Croatian contemporary art from the 1950s to the present with rotating works and regularly scheduled programs including free creative workshops for children; Baruna Filipovica 23a
  • City Museum—this museum situated within the 17th century Convent of St. Claire has exhibits that illustrate the history of Zagreb with archaeological finds from the restoration of the building in the 1990s, old city plans, lithographs, documents, altar and stone masonry from the Cathedral and St. Mark’s, and socialist era paraphernalia; Opaticka 20
  • Museum of Illusion—an interesting museum with sensory activities, a slanted room, a mirror of truth, and over 70 other exhibits, hologram pictures, puzzles, and educational games; Ilica 72
  • Mestrovic Atelier—the former home of Ivan Mestrovic, Croatia’s most recognized artist, who lived in the house from 1922 to 1942; inside the home is a collection of sculptures, drawings, lithographs, and furniture; Mletacka 8
  • Art Pavilion—an art-nouveau pavilion that has rotating exhibitions of contemporary art; Trg Kralja Tomislava 22
  • Gallery of Modern Art—a gallery with works by Croatian artists from the past 200 years including 19th and 20th century artists such as Bukovac, Mihanovic, and Racic; Andrije Hebranga 1
  • Stone Gate—a shrine that was once the eastern gate to the medieval Gradec Town and has a painting of the Virgin Mary and Jesus by an unknown 17th century artist; Kamenita
  • Zagreb 80s Museum—a four-room museum that illustrates Zagreb in the 1980s with reconstructions of typical lounge and kitchen interiors from the decade, a room with games with a Commodore 64 and Atari, and memorabilia; Radiceva 34, 1st floor
  • Zagreb 360 Observation Deck—an outdoor deck atop Zagreb’s tallest high-rise located on the 16th floor that provides panoramic views of the city and the street below; Ilica 1a, 16th floor
  • Ethnographic Museum—a museum located in a domed 1903 building with a collection of 70,000 items and 2,750 on display including jewelry; ceramics; musical instruments; tools; weapons; and folk costumes such as gold-embroidered scarves from Slavonia and lace from the island of Pag along with artifacts from South America, Ethiopia, China, Japan, and Australia; Mazuranicev trg 14
  • Museum of Arts and Crafts—a museum that explores craftwork from the Middle Ages to the present with ornate walnut furniture, rococo ornaments, liturgical vestments, and votive images and a collection of black and white photographs depicting Croatia until the 1950s; Trg Republike Hrvatske 10
  • Technical Museum Nikola Tesla—a science museum with steam-engine locomotives, scale models of satellites, a replica of a mine, and exhibits on agriculture, geology, energy, and transportation as well as a planetarium; Savska 18
  • Art Park—a small park that holds activities from June to October such as live-music sessions, film screenings, and mural painting sessions; off Tomiceva
  • Backo Mini Express—a model railroad displayed across 75 square meters—the largest in southeastern Europe—that runs across 1050 meters of railway lines and well-crafted scenery; Gunduliceva 4
  • Galerija Greta—a storefront gallery in an old textile shop that has rotating exhibitions with different art forms such as sound installations and video to sculpture and fine art; Ilica 92
  • Zoo Zagreb—a zoo with animals such as seals, sea lions, otters, and piranhas; Maksimir Park
  • Croatian Natural History Museum—a museum with prehistoric tools and bones excavated from the Krapina cave and exhibits that illustrate the evolution of animal and plant life in Croatia with temporary exhibits focusing on different regions; Demetrova 1

Sights in Tirana, Albania

Tirana is the capital of the former Soviet-held Albania and has some interesting museums, a cemetery, and cultural attractions.

  • Bunk’Art—a former bunker that was transformed into a history and contemporary art museum with several floors of exhibits on the modern history of Albania and contemporary artwork and furnished rooms where political figures huddled waiting for invasion; Rr Fadil Deliu
  • National Gallery of Arts—a museum that illustrates the history of Albanian painting from the early 19th century to the present with temporary exhibitions, a collection of 19th century paintings depicting scenes from daily life in Albania, and communist statues; Blvd Deshmoret e Kombit
  • National History Museum—the largest Albanian museum with most of the country’s archaeological finds and a replica of Skanderbeg’s (an Albanian nobleman and military commander who served the Ottoman Empire between 1423-1443) sword as well as information on the history of Albania from ancient Illyria to the post-Communist era; Sheshi Skenderbej
  • Dajti National Park—the most accessible mountain in Albania with a cable car that takes 15 minutes to take visitors to the top of the mountain where there are beech and pine forests and picnic areas
  • Clock Tower—a 35-meter high clock tower completed by Ottoman architects in 1822 that was for many years the tallest building in Tirana and provides great views of Sheshi Skenderbej
  • Martyrs’ Cemetery—a cemetery at the top of Rr Elbasanit where 900 citizens who died in WWII were buried with scenic views of the city and surrounding mountains
  • Palace of Culture—a white stone complex with a theatre, shops, and art galleries; Sheshi Skenderbej

Previous Older Entries