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