Sights in Kiev, Ukraine

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

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

Sights in Istanbul, Turkey

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

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

Location: Babihumayun Caddesi

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

Sights in Ankara, Turkey

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

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

Sights in Zurich, Switzerland

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

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

Sights in Geneva, Switzerland

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

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

Sights in Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn is the capital of Estonia and is rich in culture and history. It was formerly occupied by Nazi and Soviet forces and only became an independent country in 1991.

  • Estonian Open-Air Museum—a sprawling complex with historic Estonian buildings, a chapel dating back to 1699, and an old wooden tavern serving traditional Estonian cuisine and activities such as weaving, blacksmithing, and cooking; Vabaohumuuseumi tee 12
  • Kumu—a futuristic-looking seven story building made of limestone, glass, and copper that contains the largest collection of Estonian art in the country and rotating contemporary exhibits as well as a permanent collection featuring works from the early 18th century to the end of World War II and art from the Soviet era; A. Weizenbergi 34
  • Lennusadam—a maritime museum honoring Estonia’s extensive history with the open seas that was designed in a concrete shell frame fashion and includes a walk-through 1930s naval submarine and ice-breaker and minehunter ships outside; Vesilennuki 6
  • Kadriorg Art Museum—a Baroque palace built by Peter the Great between 1718 and 1736 that has a branch of the Estonian Art Museum that is devoted to Dutch, German, and Italian paintings from the 16th to the 18th centuries and Russian works from the 18th to early 20th centuries; A. Weizenbergi 37
  • Niguliste Museum—a deconsecrated church originally built in the 13th century but was damaged by Soviet bombers in 1944 and a fire in the 1980s but has since been restored and is now home to a branch of the Estonian Art Museum devoted to religious art with artifacts such as painted altarpieces, carved tombstones, and ecclesiastical silverware; Niguliste 3
  • Great Guild Hall—a building dating back to 1410 that was once home to the Great Guild and is now the Estonian History Museum with interactive displays on Estonia, coins dating back to Viking times, military artifacts, and Estonian cultural exhibits; Pikk 17
  • Nuku—a puppet museum which has a collection that introduces the art of puppeteers from different cultures and eras through interactive exhibits and workshops; Nunne 8
  • Tallinn Botanic Garden—a lush garden with 8,000 species of plants scattered between greenhouses, themed gardens, and arboretums; Kloostrimetsa tee 52
  • Tallinn Zoo—this zoo has the world’s largest collection of mountain goats and sheep plus 350 other species of animals such as lions, leopards, elephants, bears, lynx, owls, and eagles; Paldiski mnt 145
  • Kadriorg Park—a large park commissioned by Peter the Great for his wife Catherine I after his conquest of Estonia that has oak, lilac, and horse chestnut trees; a formal pond; gardens; and a playground
  • Tallinn TV Tower—a 341-meter-tall tower opened in celebration of the 1980 Olympics that has great views from the 22nd floor, interactive displays in the space-age pods, and an adventure walk; Kloostrimetsa tee 58a
  • Museum of Occupations—a museum with displays that depict the struggles and hardships of 50 years of occupations briefly under the Nazis and then by Soviets with evocative videos, photos, and artifacts; Toompea 8
  • City Museum—the main branch of the City Museum (there are ten sites overall) is located in a 14th century merchant’s house and illustrates the city’s development from its early days with displays on Estonian language, everyday life, artifacts, and cultural development; Vene 17
  • Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral—a beautiful onion-domed Russian Orthodox cathedral completed in 1900 known for its icons and frescoes; Lossi plats 10
  • Town Council Pharmacy—the oldest continually operating pharmacy in Europe once run by the same family until 1913 and featuring painted beams and a small historical display; Raekoja plats 11
  • Mikkel Museum—a former kitchen in Kadriorg Palace that now has some of the Estonian Art Museum’s collection with a small collection of paintings and porcelain; A. Weizenbergi 28
  • Estonian Museum of Natural History—a natural history museum with over 300,000 examples of the country’s plants and animals with revolving exhibitions; Lai 29a
  • Maarjamae Palace—a limestone manor house built in 1874 for a Russian count that is now home to the Estonian Film Museum, a branch of the Estonian History Museum focusing on 20th century Estonia, and a Soviet sculpture graveyard; Pirita tee 56
  • Maarjamae War Memorial—a Soviet-era monument with a bowed obelisk set within a concrete plaza with part of the complex built in 1975 as a memorial to Red Army soldiers killed fighting the Nazis; Pirita tee
  • Tallinn Museum of Orders of Knighthood—a museum featuring one of Europe’s largest collections of medals and military insignia; Kuninga 3
  • Estonian National Library—one of independent Estonia’s first public buildings designed with dolomite limestone that has frequent exhibitions on the upper floors; Tonismagi 2
  • Children’s Museum Miaamilla in Kadriorg—a small museum and activity center for children between the ages of 3 and 11 with a child-size grocery store, activity room, and café; L. Koidula 21c, Kadriorg Park
  • Architecture Museum—a museum that displays building and town models and temporary exhibitions; Ahtri 2
  • House of Peter I—a cottage that Peter the Great and Catherine I occupied during their visits to Tallinn that is filled with portraits, furniture, and artifacts from the period; Maekalda 2
  • Draakoni Gallery—a commercial gallery that has small but interesting exhibitions of contemporary art including works from many local artists; Pikk 18


Shopping in Reykjavik

Reykjavik does not have a wealth of shops to explore but the ones that the city does have  seem interesting and unique.

  • 12 Tonar—both a record shop and an independent record label that has a café and sells music by popular Icelandic artists such as Bjork, Agent Fresco, FM Belfast, and Dikta; Skolavoraustigur 15
  • Anna Maria Design—a workshop and store that sells a variety of jewelry for men and women made from materials that include silver, gold, and Icelandic stones; Skolavoraustigur 3
  • Gallery Fold—an art gallery that has a large selection of prints, drawings, paintings, and sculptures by modern Icelandic artists and older Icelandic art; Rauaararstigur 12-14
  • Handprjonassambandid—the Handknitting Association of Iceland’s outlet selling hand-knit items of various kinds; Skolavoraustigur 19
  • Islandia—a store that sells woolen items, gifts, and souvenirs; Kringlan Mall
  • JS Watch Co—the official watch of the Icelandic Coast Guard and a celebrity favorite and a watchmaker that sells nicely crafted timepieces; Laugavegur 62
  • Kormakur and Skjoldur—a men’s store that sells men’s clothing and hair accessories with brands such as Bertie and Wooster’s of London which sells threads, cuff links, and designer clothing; Harris Tweed; and Ben Sherman; Laugavegur 59
  • Kringlan Mall—a mall with a variety of decent clothing stores, a movie theater, and souvenir shops; Kringlun 4-12
  • Kronkron—owned by an Icelandic couple who are known for their designer footwear in all sorts of colors and silk clothing; Laugavegur 63b
  • Lucky Records—a record store that has the largest collection of vintage and contemporary vinyl in Iceland and also has performances by underground and new alternative bands; Rauaararstigur 10
  • Smaralind—one of Iceland’s two major shopping malls located in Kopavogur, a neighboring community, that has the British-based Debenhams and Iceland’s hypermarket chain store, Hagkaup; Hagasmara 1

Get sucked into the world of “Shadowhunters and Downworlders”

Shadowhunters and Downworlders

Edited by Cassandra Clare

                Shadowhunters and Downworlders is a collection of essays reflecting on the relationships between major characters in the “Mortal Instruments” series, the characters and their personal qualities, and even the art of the rune.  Before reading this book I had not read many literary analyses so this proved to be a unique reading experience. It allowed me to see what different writers of young adult fiction were able to gain from the world that Cassandra Clare created in her popular series.

The book begins by examining the location and how it affects Clary’s perception of the world. Locations are very important in the series as pivotal events occur in both the real world and the world of the Shadowhunters. The first essay delves into the author’s reflections on New York City and Brooklyn and then goes into her views on City of Bones, the first book in the series. Clary had a very clear sense of her world which was thrown off balance when her mother went missing and she was thrust into the world of the Shadowhunters. It caused her to have an altered perspective on where she had lived all her life.

A unique essay reflected on Clary as a warrior and how her power to create new runes enabled her to be successful in battle. This showed that you didn’t necessarily have to possess physical strength to be a warrior and that mental strength could perhaps be even more advantageous to a warrior. Clary possessed the mind of an artist and her creativity was her strongest weapon.

Some essays proved to be more interesting than others as not all of the essay topics piqued my interest. I thought that the book overall gave fans of the series new perspectives on the characters and maybe even inspired others to try the books for the first time. It certainly provides for some interesting discussion topics such as the concept of “the Other” and the incest taboo. The book was thought-provoking and broadened my understanding of a series that I have been a fan of since book one.