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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 Moscow, Russia

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

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

Sights in Bucharest, Romania

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

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

Sights in Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw is the capital city of Poland and is a very old and historic city that has several palaces, parks, museums, galleries, and Jewish monuments to the Warsaw rising and ghetto that are worth exploring and visiting.

  • Royal Castle—a large brick castle that served as a royal residence and housed Russian tsars before becoming the residence of the president in 1918 after Poland regained independence and includes period furniture and artwork, the Great Apartment and Great Assembly Hall with a large ceiling painting entitled The Disentanglement of Chaos, the National Hall with six large canvas paintings that depict important scenes from Polish history, and the Throne Room with sumptuous décor and 23 paintings by Bernardo Bellotto; Plac Zamkowy 4
  • Archikatedra Sw. Jana (Cathedral of St. John)—a cathedral built at the turn of the 14th century where coronations of Polish kings took place until the 18th century and where crypts containing the tombs of the last two princes of Mazovia, archbishops of Warsaw, and Polish luminaries such as 19th century novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz; Swietojanska 8
  • Biblioteka Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego (Warsaw University Library)—a library completed in 1999 with cafes and shops on the ground floor, a roof with views of the city and the library’s interior, and a beautiful rooftop garden with brooks, paths, lawns, and benches; Dobra 56/66
  • Centrum Nauki Kopernik (Copernicus Science Center)—a science museum with interactive displays that explore various scientific disciplines such as biology, optics, and astrophysics, labs, shows, and a planetarium; Wybrzeze Kosciuszkowskie 20
  • Centrum Sztuki Wspolczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski (Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle)—a castle dating back to the 18th century and reconstructed in the 1980s that hosts temporary exhibitions by Polish and international artists and has the most comprehensive permanent collection of Polish contemporary art in the country as well as an outdoor cinema, cafeteria, bookshop, and restaurant; ul. Jazdow 2
  • Galeria Zacheta (Zacheta Gallery)—an art gallery that has special exhibitions of modern and contemporary art in its high-ceilinged bright halls; pl. Malachowskiego 3
  • Jewish Cemetery—a cemetery that is gradually being restored after surviving World War II that features the headstones of the creator of Esperanto, the co-founder of Warsaw Polytechnic, and the minister of the treasury during the 1864 uprising against Russian rule; Okopowa 49-51
  • Jewish Historical Institute—an institute that provides genealogical information on archival resources and the history of towns and villages where Polish Jews lived and has a museum that has a permanent collection of mementos and artifacts; Tlomackie 3/5
  • Muzeum Chopina (Ostrogski Palace)—the Chopin museum which occupies the 17th century Palac Ostrogskich that features an interactive modern display of mementos such as the last piano played by Chopin and piano recitals and lessons for children; Okolnik 1
  • Muzeum Ethnograficzne (Ethnographic Museum)—a museum with a collection of Polish folk art, crafts, and costumes from throughout Poland and ethnographic collections from around the world; Kredytowa 1
  • Muzeum Narodowe (National Museum of Warsaw)—a museum with a large collection of contemporary Polish and European paintings, Gothic icons, and antiques; al. Jerozolimskie 3
  • Muzeum Wojska Polskiego (Polish Army Museum)—a museum with exhibits of weapons, armor, and uniforms that illustrate Polish military history for the past ten centuries; al. Jerozolimskie 3
  • Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews—an innovatively designed museum that has a permanent exhibition featuring evidence from people of different eras who tell their stories, permanent and temporary exhibitions, a play-education area for children, a café, bookshop, information center, and auditorium; Mordechaja Anielewicza 6
  • Palac Czapskich (Czapski Palace)—a palace dating back to the 17th century that is now the home of the Academy of Fine Arts and was formerly the birthplace of Zygmunt Krasinski, a Polish romantic poet, and residence of Chopin in the palace mews; Krakowskie Przedmiescie 5
  • Palac Kultury I Nauki (Palace of Culture and Science)—Warsaw’s main landmark that has been a national monument since 2007 with a panoramic view of the city from the 30th floor, a swimming pool, the Museum of Science and Technology with a vintage display, and several species of animals including cats, peregrine falcons, and beehives; pl. Defilad 1
  • Palac Wilanow (Wilanow Palace)—a palace built between 1681 and 1696 by King Jan III Sobieski with a Baroque gateway and fake moat and bought at the end of the 18th century by Stanislaw Kostka Potocki who had an impressive art collection there, laid out the gardens, and opened a public museum in 1805; inside the palace there is still a lot of the original furniture and a display of 16th to 18th century Polish portraits on the first floor and outside the palace is a scenic park with pagodas, summer houses, bridges, a lake, a formal Italian garden, and a gallery of contemporary Polish art; Stanislaw Kostki-Potockiego 10/16
  • Palac Lazienkowski (Lazienki Palace)—a grand palace that is the highlight of the Park Lazienkowski with 18th century furniture and part of the art collection of King Slainslaw August Poniatowski; Agrykola 1
  • Pomnik Bohaterow Getta (Monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto)—a monument dedicated to the Jewish resistance from the Warsaw ghetto, a ghetto that was razed by Nazi flamethrowers, that now marks the location of the house where the command bunker was situated; al. Zamenhofa
  • Umschlagplatz—a plaza where the rail line was that transported tens of thousands of the Warsaw ghetto’s residents to the death camp of Treblinka, 60 miles northeast of Warsaw, with a memorial gateway built in 1988 on the 45th anniversary of the Jewish resistance; Stawki at al.
  • Warsaw Rising Museum—a great museum that depicts the 1944 Rising through interactive displays such as a life-size plane, cobblestone streets, reconstructed sewers, objects, photographs, video footage, and audio recordings; Grzybowska 79

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Sights in Riga, Latvia

Riga is an historic city with a sad history of occupation by Sweden, the Soviet Union, and Nazi forces during World War II but has many parks, memorials, monuments, and museums worth checking out to see how the city’s past has shaped its present appearance.

  • Riga Motormuseum—a recently renovated museum with the largest and most diverse vintage motor vehicle collection in the Baltic region with over 100 automobiles and motorcycles as well as interactive exhibits, virtual reality simulations, a children’s play area, a museum café, and a gift shop; Sergeja Eizenshteina Iela 8
  • Vermanes Garden—a scenic garden with colorful flowers that have different colors and textures; Terbatas Iela 2D
  • Mezaparks—a spacious large park with a zoo, restaurants, forested areas, bike paths, and a lake; Mezaparks
  • Zanis Lipke Memorial—a museum dedicated to Zanis Lipke, a Latvian who with his family helped save the lives of 50 Jewish individuals during the Holocaust and smuggled them to safety via an underground railway; Mazais Balasta Dambis 8
  • Latvian National Museum of Art—the largest depository of professional art in Latvia with five floors of works by Latvian artists and beautiful architectural design inside and outside; 1 Janis Rozentals Square
  • Nativity of Christ Cathedral—a beautiful cathedral with a golden dome and many treasures inside such as gold cupolas and Russian Orthodox iconography; Brivibas bulvaris 23
  • Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum—an outdoor museum that shows how Latvians in the countryside lived; Brivibas gatve 440
  • Musee Art Nouveau—an apartment with ten rooms furnished in the Art Nouveau style with descriptions written in several languages; Alberta iela 12
  • Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum—a museum that highlights the story of the Holocaust in Latvia and has a house that was in a Jewish ghetto; Maskavas iela 14a
  • Riga Cathedral—originally built in 1270 as a bishop’s cathedral, this cathedral features a large organ built around 1884 that has 6,768 pipes, one of the largest in the world; Herdera laukums 6
  • National Library of Latvia—a repository of national and world literature with the majority of the 4 million items in the collection consisting of Latvian and foreign publications about Latvia and Latvians; 3 Mukusalas Street
  • Museum of the Occupation of Latvia—an educational institution established in 1993 to display artifacts, documents, and educational exhibits about the 51 years that Latvia was occupied by the USSR and Nazi Germany; Raina bulvaris 7
  • Pareizticico katedrale—a restored Russian Orthodox church with glistening gold domes and an interior with icons and ornate décor
  • Art Museum Riga Bourse—an art museum with a small permanent collection consisting of an Oriental section, Ancient Egyptian exhibition, and other treasures from around the world as well as temporary exhibitions; Dome Square 6
  • Freedom Monument—a statue completed in 1935 to commemorate Latvian independence that depicts the image of Liberty holding three stars in her hands to symbolize unity; 1 Brivivas iela
  • Museum of Riga’s History and Navigation—a museum that takes visitors through 1000 years of Riga’s history with a variety of artifacts some prehistoric; Palasta iela 4
  • Riga Zoo—a small zoo with a polar bear, tropical house, giraffe house, a reptile room, and insect room; Meza prospekts 1
  • Latvian War Museum—a large museum with each floor focusing on a different war or theme with temporary exhibitions as well; Smilshu iela 20
  • Cat House—a popular attraction that depicts the story of a Latvian homeowner who was denied membership in the Great Guild and then built two cat sculptures on his roof with their backsides facing the Guild and their tails straight up in the air; Meistaru iela 19
  • Railway History Museum—a museum that illustrates the history of train operating systems, telephones, telegraphs, and the work at a railway line and models such as a German steam engine, snow plows, and a prison coach; 2/4 Uzvaras Boulevard
  • Swedish Gate—the only surviving city gate of Riga which was built into the city wall in 1698 during Swedish rule; Torna iela 11
  • World of Hat Museum—the only museum dedicated to hats in the world containing exhibits from around the world including hats, bonnets, and headbands; Vilandes iela 7
  • Jewish Museum—a museum dedicated to the history of Latvia’s Jewish community from the first Jews in Latvia in the 16th century to the events of the Holocaust; Skolas iela 6
  • Rumbula Forest Memorial—this forest was the site where thousands of Jews were forced to march to and were then shot and dumped in mass graves and is now a memorial with a large menorah surrounded by rough stones; Maskavas iela
  • ZINOO Riga—a children’s museum with over 100 interactive science exhibits and games; Dzirnavu iela 67
  • Modes Muzejs—a fashion museum with interactive hands-on exhibits for children and adults that displays clothing styles throughout the years; Grecinieku iela 24
  • Sun Museum—the only European museum dedicated to the sun which explores how different cultures depict the sun; Valnu iela 30
  • Botanisches Garten des Universitaets—a beautiful botanic garden with tropical houses, greenhouses, trees, and flowers; Kandavas iela 2
  • Great Choral Synagogue Memorial—a moving memorial that shows the ruins of a synagogue burned to the ground with hundreds of Jewish worshippers inside during the Holocaust; Gogola iela 25
  • Melngalvju Nams—the Gothic Blackheads House built in 1344 as a hotel for wayfaring merchants who wore black hats that was leveled by the Soviets in 1948 and renovated and reopened in 2000 for Riga’s 800th anniversary with a Dutch Renaissance façade; Ratslaukums 7
  • Okupacijas Muzejs—the Latvian Occupation museum which depicts the devastation of Latvia by Nazi and Soviet forces during World War II and the Latvian struggle for independence in September 1991 with a monument to the Latvian sharpshooters who protected Lenin during the 1917 revolution outside; Strelnieku laukums 1