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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
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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

Sights in Chisinau, Moldova

Chisinau is the capital of Moldova, an Eastern European country once part of the Russian Empire. It has some small museums, parks, and monuments.

 

  • Parcul Catedralei and Gradina Publica Stefan Cel Mare si Sfint—two parks in the middle of the city with one park featuring the Nativity of Christ Metropolitan Cathedral that dates back to the 1830s and has a bell tower built in 1836, the main entrance with the Holy Gates, and on the northwestern side a 24-hour flower market and the other park has an entrance with a statue of Stefan who was Moldova’s greatest medieval prince; B-dul Stefan cel Mare
  • Army Museum—a museum that has a poignant exhibit on Soviet-era repression with stories of the Red Terror, famines, mass deportations, and gulag slave labor told through photos, videos, newspaper clippings, and dioramas as well as interrogation rooms and displays of propaganda posters and military uniforms; Str. Tighina 47
  • Nativity of Christ Metropolitan Cathedral—a Moldovan Orthodox church dating back to the 1830s with beautiful interior frescoes and a bell tower originally built in 1836 and rebuilt in 1997 due to it being destroyed in World War II; Parcul Catedralei
  • National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History—a museum with a life-size reproduction of the skeleton of a dinothere, an 8-ton elephant-like mammal that lived in the Pliocene epoch and dioramas that depict national customs and dress as well as exhibits on geology, botany, and zoology; Str. M Kogalniceanu 82
  • National Art Museum—an art museum with a collection of modern European art, folk art, icons, and medieval pieces as well as temporary exhibitions often focusing on local graphic artists; Str. 31 August 1989, 115
  • National Archaeology and History Museum—a museum that has archaeological artifacts from the region of Orheiul Vechi north of Chisinau including Golden Horde coins, Soviet-era weaponry, and a World War II diorama on the first floor; Str. 31 August 1989, 121a
  • Pushkin Museum—the site where Russia’s national poet, Alexander Pushkin, spent three years in exile between 1820-1823 with his tiny cottage filled with its original furniture, personal items including a portrait of Byron on his writing desk, and a three-room literary museum in the building facing the cottage documenting his dramatic life; Str. Anton Pann 19
  • Repression Memorial—a monument to the victims of mass deportation during Stalin’s rule; Aleea Garii

Shopping in Athens

Athens has interesting shops to browse at and many family-owned businesses which add a cultural appeal to the city. It is definitely a city filled with stores worth checking out.

  • Andronikos Sagiannos—a family-owned jewelry shop and gallery with modern and unique jewelry inspired by everyday objects; Makriyianni 3
  • Benaki Museum Gift Shop—the museum shop of the Benaki Museum that sells copies of Greek icons, jewelry, folk art, embroideries, ceramics, stationery, art books, reliefs, and sculpture pieces; Koumbari 1
  • Center of Hellenic Tradition—a store that sells handicrafts including ceramics, weavings, sheep bells, wood carvings, prints, and paintings; Mitropoleos 59 and Pandrossou 36
  • Diplous Pelekys—a store run by weavers that have a long family history that sells handwoven pieces, folk art, ceramics, and jewelry; Bolani Arcade, Voulis 7and Kolokotroni 3
  • Ellniko Spiti—run by an art restorer, this store sells picture frames, wooden boats, chairs, and decorative objects; Kekropos 14
  • Fanourakis—a jewelry shop selling gold pieces designed by Athenian jewelry designers under the direction of Lina Fanouraki; Patriarchou Ioakeim 23
  • Fine Wine—a traditional wine shop that sells a large selection of Greek wines and liqueurs; Lyskiratous 3
  • Forget Me Not—a cultural store that sells modern Greek designs such as beach towels with good luck charms, scarves, and sunglasses; Adrianou 100
  • Fresh Line—a beauty shop with shampoo cakes, body oils, face masks, and organic Greek-designed soaps; Ermou 30
  • Kombologadiko—a bead emporium that sells a huge variety of beads to design komboloi (worry beads); Amerikis 9
  • Koukoutsi—a t-shirt store that sells clothes that honor the Greek economic crisis; Skoufa 81
  • Lalaounis—a world-renowned jeweler that has experimental jewelry designs in gold and silver such as decorative pieces inspired by ancient Greek housewares; Panepistimiou 6 at Voukourestiou
  • Martinos—an antique shop selling items such as dowry chests, swords, fabrics, and Venetian glass; Pandrossou 50
  • Museum of Cycladic Art Shop—the museum’s store that sells modern versions of older jewelry designs as well as replicas and ceramics; Neofitou Douka 4
  • Occhi Concept Store—a gallery-style store that sells art, clothing, jewelry, and accessories by modern Greek designers; Ipitou 5 and Voulis 40
  • Old Market—an antique shop with old coins from around the world, stamps, engravings, toys and radios, musical instruments, and medals; Normanou 7
  • Parthenis—a family-owned boutique that sells stylish bohemian-style clothing with fibers such as wool, silk, and cotton along with an eyewear collection and wedding collection; Dimokritou 20 and Tsakalof
  • Pentheroudakis—a jeweler with gold, diamond, and gem designs as well as customizable silver worry beads; Voukourestiou 19
  • Pylarinos—an antique shop with stamps, coins, and 19th century engravings; Panepistimiou 18
  • Taste of Greece—a Greek grocery store with delicacies from the country including mastiha liqueur and truffle-flavored extra virgin olive oil; Adrianou 67
  • The Olive Tree Store—a specialty shop with items made from olive wood like salad bowls and tongs, wall clocks, jewelry, and backgammon sets; Adrianou 67
  • Thiamis—run by an iconographer, this store sells gold-leaf hand-painted icons in wood and stone as well as handmade model ships and custom items; Asklipiou 71
  • Xanthopoulos—a jeweler with pearl, diamond, and ruby pieces; Voukourestiou 4
  • Zoumboulakis Art-Design-Antiques—an art shop inside a private art gallery with silk-screens by famous Greek painters; Kriezotou 6

Shopping in Nairobi, Kenya

  • Westgate Shopping Mall—one of East Africa’s top shopping destinations with family entertainment and events as well as arts and craft kiosks and over 80 stores; Mwanzi Road
  • The Hub Karen—a shopping mall located in the suburbs of Karen Nairobi that is home to both local and international stores and everyday necessities like dining, medical care, offices, and a wellness center
  • Nairobi Gallery—home to the Murumbi collection of African art and artifacts
  • Utamaduni Craft Centre—has a variety of masks, textiles, jewelry, and home goods; Bogani East Road
  • Spinners Web Kenya—a Kenyan crafts store; Getathuru Gardens off Peponi Road
  • Matbronze Wildlife Art—a gallery with sculptures, jewelry, and souvenirs; No. 2 Kifaru Lane

There really isn’t a wealth of shopping venues in Nairobi but the ones featured do seem like they are very cultural and provide a glimpse of daily life in Kenya.