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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

 

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Sights in Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monte Carlo is the capital of Monaco and is a beautiful city close to the ocean with museums, parks, interesting collections, and gardens.

  • Casino de Monte Carlo—a lavish casino with marble and gold décor open to visitors in the morning and for gambling after 2 pm with games such as blackjack; English and European roulette; baccarat; and poker as well as slot machines in two gambling salons; Place du Casino
  • Musee Oceanographique de Monaco—this world-renowned museum stuck to the edge of a cliff since 1910 has an aquarium with a 6-meter-deep lagoon with sharks and predators separated from tropical fish by a coral reef, two colonnaded rooms which illustrate the history of oceanography and marine biology as well as Prince Albert I’s contributions to the field, and 90 tanks overall in the aquarium with 450 Mediterranean and tropical species; Av. St-Martin
  • Jardin Exotique—a series of gardens with the world’s largest succulent and cactus collection from echinocereus to African candelabras and mazes of paths, stairs, and bridges; 62 Boulevard du Jardin Exotique
  • Palais Princier de Monaco—a palace that is the private residence of the Grimaldi family protected by the Carabiniers du Prince with a changing of the guard daily at 11:55 am and tours of the state apartments that feature lavish furniture and artwork collected by the family over the course of centuries; Place du Palais
  • Collection de Voitures Anciennes—a large car collection amassed by the late Prince Rainier beginning in the early 1950s and opened to the public in 1993 with Ferraris, Maseratis, Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces, several F1 and rally race cars, and the Lexus that took the current prince to his wedding in 2011; Terrasses du Fontvielle
  • Roseraie Princesse Grace—a collection of over 4000 rose bushes next to the Parc Fontevielle that is particularly colorful in the spring; Avenue des Papalins
  • Cathedrale de Monaco—an 1875 Romanesque-Byzantine cathedral that has the graves of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace Kelly; 4 rue Colonel Bellando de Castro
  • Parc Princesse Antoinette—a park in the hills above La Condamine shaded by centenary olive trees and a family-favorite for its playground and miniature golf course
  • Nouveau Musee National de Monaco—a white villa built for an American in 1913 that is part of Nouveau Musee National de Monaco and hosts seasonal contemporary art exhibitions that are environmentally themed; 56 Boulevard du Jardin Exotique
  • Musee des Timbres et des Monnaies—a one-room museum that illustrates the history of stamps and coins minted in Monaco with an interesting stamp collection featuring stamps of Dante and Grace Kelly among others, animals, and 1950s movies; 11 Terrasses de Fontevielle
  • Eglise Ste-Devote—a 19th century chapel dedicated to the patron saint of Monaco who was brought to the church after she became a martyr in Corsica in 303 AD; 1 Rue Sainte-Devote

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 Valletta, Malta

Valletta is the capital of Malta and is a city with a rich cultural and military history. It is very religious with several churches and a basilica.

  • Barrakka Ta’ Fuq (Upper Barrakka Gardens)—a lookout point with a troupe of cats, greenery, and views of Grand Harbour and the Three Cities across the water; Castile Square
  • John’s Co-Cathedral—an impressive church designed by the architect Gerolamo Cassar between 1573 and 1578 with an interior renovated in the 17th century in a Maltese Baroque style with a painting of John the Baptist by Caravaggio, a long low nave with walls and pillars encrusted with rich ornamentation, marble floors, and a vault with paintings by Mattia Preti that depict events from the life of St. John the Baptist; Triq ir-Repubblika
  • Grand Master’s Palace—the former residence of the Grand Masters of the Knights of St. John and until 2015 the seat of Malta’s parliament is now home to a collection of over 5,000 suits of 16th to 18th century armor and weaponry including crossbows, muskets, swords, and pistols and the State Apartments with five rooms usually opened to the public; Pjazza San Gorg
  • National Museum of Archaeology—a museum housed within the Auberge de Provence that features exhibits that include artifacts such as stone tools dating back to 5200 BC, Phoenician amulets, and a temple model from Ta’Hagrat as well as model prehistoric figurines that were found within the area, pottery from the Bronze Age, animal figurines, and jewelry; Triq-ir-Repubblika
  • Fort St. Elmo and National War Museum—this fort named after the patron saint of mariners was built in 1552 in only four months to guard the harbors on either side of the Sceberras Peninsula and was restored and reopened in 2015 with the addition of the National War Museum which covers Malta’s wartime history from 1565’s Great Siege when Turkish forces attacked the country to World War II with audiovisual displays and artifacts such as a biplane and the George Cross awarded to the country in 1942
  • City Gate—this city gate designed by Renzo Piano resembles the dimensions of the original 1633 entrance to the city giving visitors the feeling of crossing a real bridge with a frame designed to look like knights’ sabers
  • Parliament Building—this building completed by Renzo Piano in 2014 includes two massive stone volumes that are supported by stilts and photovoltaic panels on the roof which generate much of the energy required to ventilate the building and inside is the northern block which contains the parliament chamber and the southern block containing the offices of the members of parliament
  • Lascaris War Rooms—a mechanically ventilated underground tunnel complex that lies 40 meters below the Upper Barrakka Gardens that housed Great Britain’s secret command in Malta during WWII and remained in use until 1977 with a restoration completed in 2009 with the rooms laid out in their original configuration staffed by wax figures; Lascaris Ditch
  • Church of St. Paul’s Shipwreck—a church honoring St. Paul who was shipwrecked in Malta in 60 AD and brought Christianity to the country with a 19th century façade and a 16th century interior with treasures such as a gilded statue of St. Paul carved in Rome in the 1650s, a golden reliquary containing bones from his wrist, and part of the column on which he was killed in Rome; Triq San Pawl
  • Carmelite Basilica—a basilica originally built in 1570 and expanded in the mid-19th century that was rebuilt between 1958-1981 after being damaged in World War II with a 42-meter-high dome and an interior with an early 17th century painting of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and red marble columns; Triq I-Arcisqof
  • Valletta Contemporary—a modern art gallery with a rotating roster of exhibitions and installations from local and international artists; 15-17 Triq il-Levant
  • MUZA—the current incarnation of Malta’s Museum of Fine Arts located in the Auberge d’Italie, a 16th-century building that was once home to Italian members of the Knights of St. John, with historic maps and paintings; Auberge d’Italie
  • Casa Rocca Piccola—a 16th century palazzo that is the family home of the 9th Marquis de Piro who currently lives there and allows visitors to see parts of his luxurious home and the family’s WWII air-raid shelters; 74 Triq ir-Repubblika
  • Malta Postal Museum—a small museum with a permanent exhibition that tells the story of the postal system of the Knights of St. John; 135 Triq-I-Arcisqof
  • Malta Contemporary Art—a space dedicated to photography, painting, mixed media, and other art exhibitions; Triq Felix
  • James’ Cavalier—a 16th century fortification transformed into an arts center with galleries, theater, and a cinema; Castille Place
  • Sacra Infermeria—located in the former 16th century hospital run by the Order of St. John, this museum has an exhibition about medieval medicine; Triq-it-Tramuntana
  • Prospettiva—an installation designed by a Maltese architect to celebrate Valletta’s distinction as the 2018 European City of Culture that merges the city’s five gates into a two-dimensional structure disassembled into planes; Glormu Cassar Avenue
  • Siege Bell Memorial—a memorial erected in 1992 that commemorates those who lost their lives during the war convoys between 1940 and 1943; St. Christopher Bastion
  • Toy Museum—a doll-sized museum with a large private collection of model toys such as tin cars from 1950s Japan, tin toys from 1912 Germany, Matchbox cars, farmyard animals, train sets, and dolls; 222 Triq-ir-Repubblika
  • Triton Fountain—a grand fountain sculpted by Maltese sculptor Vincent Apap in 1959 restored and reopened early in 2018
  • National Library—a library with a classical façade erected by the Knights of St. John with book-lined shelves and occasional temporary exhibitions
  • Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial—a monument to the 2,298 members of the Commonwealth Air Force who died in World War II with no known graves
  • War Memorial—a monument to the 600 Maltese and almost one million British servicemen who died in World War I

Sights in Skopje, Macedonia

Skopje is the capital of Macedonia and an old and very historic city with unique museums, churches, art galleries, and interesting neighborhoods to explore.

  • Church of St. Panteleimon—a church with beautiful 12th century frescoes including a Pieta similar to Giotto’s Pieta; Nerezi Village
  • Carsija—the old town neighborhood of Skopje with winding lanes filled with teahouses, mosques, craftsmen’s stores, nightlife, historic structures, and museums
  • Archaeological Museum of Macedonia—a modern museum made of Italianate-styled marble with three floors that display findings from Macedonian archaeological excavations including Byzantine treasures, 3-D reconstructions of early Macedonian faces, a replica of an early Christian basilica showing the phases of mosaic conservation, and a Phoenician royal necropolis; Bul Goce Delcev
  • Tvrdina Kale Fortress—a 6th century Byzantine and Ottoman fortress with an interior that features two miniature museums that house archaeological finds from Neolithic to Ottoman times; Samoilova
  • National Gallery of Macedonia—Skopje’s national art gallery with seven restored rooms from the former Turkish baths featuring modern Macedonian art and sculpture; Krusevska 1a
  • Museum of the Macedonian Struggle for Statehood and Independence—a museum that serves as a memorial to Macedonia’s historic occupation, land struggles, and revolutionary heroes with graphic oil paintings and physical reconstructions; Iljo Vojvodo
  • Memorial House of Mother Teresa—a futuristic-looking memorial to Mother Teresa who was born in Skopje in 1910 that includes memorabilia related to her and on the second floor a chapel with glass walls in filigree with silhouettes of doves carved into the filigree to symbolize peace; ul Makedonija 9
  • Sveti Spas Church—a partially submerged church two meters underground that dates back to the 14th century and is the most historically significant church in Skopje with a bell tower, a restored iconostasis (a wooden screen that separates the nave of the church from the altar area at the back) built in the early 19th century, and tiered carvings; Makarije Frckoski 8
  • Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia—a moving museum with displays that commemorate the Sephardic Jewish culture of Macedonia through photos, English wall texts, maps, and video with an exhibition that documents the Jewish community’s history in the Balkans ending in World War II when 98% of Macedonian Jews died in the Holocaust; Iljo Vojvoda
  • Museum of the City of Skopje—this museum is located in the old train station building where Skopje’s horrific earthquake struck on July 27, 1963, killing 1,070 people and is now an art gallery for rotating exhibitions with one area focused on the events of the earthquake through video footage and photos; St. Kiril and Methodius
  • Museum of Contemporary Art—a museum created in the aftermath of the 1963 earthquake with artists and art collections donating pieces by artists such as Picasso, Hockney, Leger, Meret Oppenheim, and Bridget Riley that is housed in a contemporary building with floor-to-ceiling windows; Samoilova 17

Sights in Luxembourg City

Luxembourg City is the capital of the small country of Luxembourg and has a beautiful old church, several museums, and art galleries to explore.

  • Casemates de la Petrusse (Military Tunnels)—a former fortress that was hollowed out to form a maze of passages running for almost 15 miles below the town with ten gates controlling admittance to the walls, this was also a storage facility and place of refuge that now has two sections of the passages containing former barracks, slaughterhouses, bakeries, and a deep well open for visitors; Pl. de la Constitution
  • Cathedrale Notre-Dame—a late Gothic style cathedral with a portal sculpted by Daniel Muller of Freiburg and a beautiful Baroque organ gallery as well as a crypt that contains the tomb of the 14th century King of Bohemia and Count of Luxembourg, John the Blind, and the tombs of the grand-ducal dynasty; Rue Notre-Dame
  • Centre Culturel de Rencontre Abbaye de Neumunster (Neumunster Abbey Cultural Center)—the former place of worship for the Benedictines of Neumunster Abbey who were expelled when the French Revolution hit Luxembourg that served for most of the 20th century as a men’s prison but is now a major cultural center with temporary exhibitions and a Baroque church that has treasures such as a Black Madonna; 28 Rue Munster
  • Le Bock—a cliff that served as the main approach to the town dating back to Celtic and Roman times until bridges were erected with great views of the Plateau du Rham across the way, Duke Wencelas’s fortifications, barracks that are now used as a hospice for the elderly, Neumunster Abbey, and the Casemates du Bock; Montee de Clausen
  • Monument National de la Solidarite (National Monument of Unity)—this memorial to Luxembourg’s soldiers who died in World War II and those who died in the Holocaust is a stern granite and steel monument with the walls of the small chapel containing a symbolic tombstone made entirely of stained glass; Bd. FD Roosevelt at Citadelle du St-Esprit
  • Musee National D’ Histoire Naturelle (National Museum of Natural History)—this museum situated within a former women’s prison has interactive exhibits and dioramas that convey an environmental message; Rue Munster 23
  • Musee National D’ Histoire Et D’Art (National Museum of History and Art)—an art museum with great paintings by expressionist Joseph Kutter, Luxembourg’s most famous artist, and an art gallery with pieces by Cranach and Turner as well as a wonderful collection of 15th to 19th century art by artists such as Bruegel, Rembrandt, and Canaletto; Marche-aux-Poissons
  • Musee D’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean—an architectural landmark designed by I.M. Pei with an edifice made of limestone and glass with the glass shaped into pyramids, the interior has changing exhibitions by contemporary artists; Park Drai Eechelen 3
  • Musee D’ Histoire De la Ville De Luxembourg (Luxembourg City Historical Museum)—a multimedia interactive museum opened in 1996 that illustrates the development of Luxembourg City over the course of 1,000 years; Rue du St-Esprit
  • Palais Grand-Ducal (Grand-Ducal Palace)—the finest building in the city that dates back to the 16th century and has a façade inspired by the Spanish and Moorish while inside business and entertainment functions occur and a large art collection is displayed; Rue du Marche-aux-Herbes
  • Porte des Trois Tour (Gate of the Three Towers)—three turrets that are remains of the fortress with the oldest of the towers built around 1050 and during the French Revolution was the site of the guillotine; Rue Wiltheim at bd. J. Ulveling
  • Vallee de la Petrusse (Petrusse Valley)—a broad park located in the canyon of the Petrusse river with the Chapelle Saint-Quirin built into the rocks and a cave said to have been carved by Celts; between Rue de la Semois and rue St-Quirin
  • Villa Vauban—also known as the City of Luxembourg Art Gallery, this mansion is surrounded by well-tended gardens and is the home of Luxembourg City’s collection of old master paintings by artists such as Canaletto and Van Dyck; Avenue Emile Reuter 18

 

Shopping in Vilnius

Vilnius has some unique shops, markets, book stores, and museum shops to browse and shop at with many craft stores in particular.

  • Senuju Amatu Dirbtuves—this small shop displays the tools, materials, processes, and final products of traditional crafts such as weaving, paper-making, book-binding, leather-working, and metalworking and teaches these crafts as well; Saviciaus gatve 10
  • Gedimino 9—housed in a mid-Victorian building used by government, newspapers, and nightclubs over the years, this shopping complex has international brands such as H&M and the Body Shop; Gedimino prospektas 9
  • Vinny’s—a vintner that sells wine and spirits from across Europe and Lithuanian specialties such as mead, Samane moonshine, and Zalgris (a mead-based spirit); Vilniaus gatve 15
  • Dom Bow Ties—the only store in Lithuania devoted to hand-made bow ties; Stikliu gatve 6
  • Sauluva—a craft and toy store that sells handmade crafts made of amber, metal, ceramics, textiles, and other materials as well as unusual and educational toys; Literatu gatve 3
  • Lino Namai—a housewares store that sells linen from Siulas, the oldest flax mill in the country, that is known for high-quality table and bed linens; Vilnaius gatve 12
  • Lino Kopos—a designer’s shop that sells collections sewn exclusively from linen and accessories made from amber, wood, leather, and linen; Krokuvos gatve 6
  • Aukso Avis—a gallery established by a local fashion designer that sells bags, T-shirts, wall murals, and jewelry made from felt and wool; Pilies gatve 38
  • Lino ir Gintaro Studija—this studio sells gifts and souvenirs in linen, amber, precious metal, and other materials; Stikliu gatve 3
  • Zoraza—a fashion house that sells clothing and accessories in a variety of colors and textures such as suede, glitter, beads, felt, crystal, and leather; Stikliu gatve 9
  • Jonas Bugailiskis—a Lithuanian artist who designs unique items such as sculptures, ornate crosses, and musical instruments; Ausros Vartu gatve 17-10
  • Akropolis—a large shopping and entertainment complex with hundreds of stores, restaurants, a cinema, an ice-skating rink, and a children’s play area; Ozo gatve 25
  • Europa—a large shopping center across the Neris River with three floors of shops, restaurants, and cafes; Konstitucijos prospektas 7a
  • Kalvariju—a market that sells all sorts of goods including produce, livestock, and clothing; Kalvariju gatve 61
  • Ausros Vartu Meno Galerija—a souvenir shop with locally made souvenirs such as paintings, lace, and craft items; Ausros Vartu gatve 12
  • Akademine Knyga—an academic book store with fiction as well with some titles in English; Universiteto gatve 4
  • Ramune Piekautaite—a stylish boutique with locally designed business, casual, and bridal wear; Didzioji gatve 20
  • Humanitas—a bookstore stocked with art, design, architecture, and gift titles; Dominikonu gatve 5
  • Juozas Statkevicius—a prominent local clothing designer known for his modern fashion and costume designs; Pamenkalnio gatve 2-1

Sights in Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius is the capital city of Lithuania and has endured a turbulent history of occupation and violence and has many memorials to victims of the atrocities that occurred within the city and country.

  • Arkikatedra Bazilika—Vilnius’s main cathedral that has been a national icon for centuries and inside is the 17th century Chapel of St. Kazimieras; this cathedral was originally a temple to a pagan god before becoming a church in the 13th century when Lithuania converted from paganism to Christianity (the last European country to convert); Katedros 1
  • Ausros Vartai (Gates of Dawn)—the only remaining gate of Vilnius’s nine 16th century gates which has to the right of the gate a door leading to the Chapel of Our Lady of Vilnius, a room that has its walls covered with metal and silver hearts and an icon of the Virgin Mary known for its healing powers; Ausros Vartu 12
  • Vilnil Museum of Illusions—a fun museum that explores how different illusions work through interactive displays; Vokieciu g.6
  • Apastalu Petro ir Povilo Baznycia (Sts. Peter and Paul’s Church)—a Baroque style church with extensive white décor inside the church including sculptures and intricate stucco carvings; Antakalnio g. 1
  • Paneriai—a forested historic site that serves as a memorial to the many Lithuanian citizens who were killed in the Holocaust; Agrastu 17
  • Money Museum of the Bank of Lithuania—a museum that provides an overview of the monetary development of Lithuania such as the transition to a central bank; Totoriu g. 2/8
  • Anne’s Church—a Gothic church known for its impressive façade; Maironio g. 8
  • John’s Church—a beautiful church located on the campus of Vilnius’s university that was reconstructed in 1749 with a high altar and elaborate blue organ and is known for its adjoining bell tower which can be accessed via a modern glass lift elevator; Sv. Jono g. 12
  • Church of St. Theresa—an early Baroque-style church with ornate carvings and frescoes inside; Aushros Vartu g. 12
  • KGB Museum (Genocido Auku Muziejus)—a museum dedicated to the Russian KGB and its prisoners who had to survive unbearable conditions; Auku g. 2a
  • Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania—a fortified palace that has been remodeled, expanded, destroyed, and rebuilt over the years and is now shown in its restored version of a Baroque palace built for the grand dukes in the 17th century with a central courtyard and ceremonial halls; Katedros aikste 4
  • Antakalnis Cemetery—one of Eastern Europe’s most beautiful graveyards with the burial sites of those killed by Soviet special forces on January 13, 1991, and a memorial that honors Napoleonic soldiers who perished from starvation and injuries in Vilnius while retreating from the Russian army; off Kariu kapu gatve
  • Vilnius University—founded in 1579 during the Counter-Reformation, this university was run by Jesuits for 200 years before being closed by Russians in 1832 and not reopening until 1919, it has 23,000 students and is home to Lithuania’s oldest library with 5 million books including one of two original editions of The Catechism by Martynas Mazvydas (the first book published in Lithuanian); Universiteto gatve 3
  • Mindaugas—a landmark statue that depicts the early unifier of the Lithuanian tribes in the mid-13th century and Lithuania’s first king; Arsenalo gatve 1
  • Gediminas Castle and Museum—the last of a series of settlements and fortified buildings that have occupied the site since Neolithic times and is a brick structure built by Grand Duke Vytautas in the early 15th century with great views of Vilnius and an exhibition that traces the history of the castle over the years with some scale models; Gediminas Hill, Arsenalo gatve 5
  • Tolerance Centre—one of the three main branches of the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum that has served as a refuge, concert hall, and theatre over the years that displays Lithuanian Jewish art, cultural, and historic collections with a small permanent exhibit on the Jewish avant-garde movement in Vilnius; Naugarduko gatve 10/2
  • Presidential Palace—a classical edifice that is home to the president and chancellery with a ceremonial changing of the guard every day at 6 pm and the flag-hoisting ceremony on Sundays at noon, tours must be booked in advance; S. Daukanto gatve 3
  • Michael the Archangel Church—an early 17th century church built by the Sapiega family with a Gothic nave, colored marble high altar, and alabaster statuary that is a unique example of late-Renaissance architecture with an exhibition inside with religious art, liturgical vessels, rare manuscripts, and reliquaries from Vilnius Cathedral; Sv Mykolo gatve 9
  • Bernardine Church and Monastery—one of Vilnius’s most impressive churches which was extended and improved in the 17th and 19th centuries and converted to a warehouse by the Soviets before being regained by the Bernardine community once Lithuania gained its independence and is now back to its original state with trails to explore the complex; Maironio gatve 10
  • Museum of Applied Art—housed in the Old Arsenal which was built in the 16th century and restored in the 1980s, this museum features temporary exhibitions and a permanent collection of 15th to 19th century Lithuanian sacred art; Arsenalo gatve 3a
  • National Museum of Lithuania—this museum displays artifacts that show how Lithuanians lived from Neolithic times to the 202th century with special collections devoted to the country’s folk traditions such as numismatics with some of the very first Lithuanian coins and burial goods; Arsenalo gatve 1
  • TV Tower—a 326-meter high TV tower with a tall needle that is symbolic of Lithuania’s resilience and strength as 12 pro-independence protesters were killed by the Soviet army here on January 13, 1991, with memorials to the victims near the tower and a revolving restaurant and observation deck at 165 meters high; Sausio 13-osios gatve 10
  • Theatre, Music, and Cinema Museum—a museum with three centuries worth of musical instruments such as the pusline (a primitive Baltic string instrument made from animal bladders) and kankle (plucked fretted-string instruments) as well as memorabilia from Lithuanian and Soviet films and an extensive collection that documents the national theater; Vilniaus gatve 41
  • House of Signatories—the 18th century home where Lithuania’s Declaration of Independence was signed on February 16, 1918, and now has an exhibition of materials related to the National Movement and the signatories; Pilies gatve 26
  • Holocaust Museum—a museum that depicts the destruction of Lithuania’s Jewish community, the Litvaks, through photos, documentation, and firsthand accounts; Pamenkalnio gatve 12
  • Amber Museum-Gallery—a small museum that is dedicated to Baltic gold and what can be created from it with trinkets and jewelry upstairs and in the basement pieces of many-hued amber, kilns, and other archaeological finds; Sv. Mykolo gatve 8
  • Kazys Varnelis Museum—a museum that features the personal collection of Kazys Varnelis, an artist who became famous for his optical and 3D paintings, with the collection including paintings, furniture, sculptures, maps, and books; Didzioji gatve 26
  • Bernadinu sodas—gardens located between Gediminas Hill and the Bernardine Church with riverbanks, paths, trees, and flowerbeds; Maironio gatve
  • Contemporary Art Centre—the largest center for contemporary art in the Baltic region with 2400 square meters of photography, video, installations, exhibits, and events such as lectures, live music, and film screenings; Vokieciu gatve 2
  • Vilnius Picture Gallery—built in the 17th century with additions in the 19th century, this former palace features a permanent collection of Lithuanian art from the 16th to the 19th centuries as well as temporary exhibitions that showcase Lithuanian movements, artists, and mediums; Didzioji gatve 4
  • Energy and Technology Museum—Vilnius’s first power station that operated between 1903-2003, is now home to exhibitions on energy, technology, and their historical development with original machinery for power generation preserved; Rinktines gatve 2
  • Memorial Complex—located on the grounds of the Tuskulenai Manor is this memorial to the victims of violence during the 20th century in Lithuania; Zirmunu gatve 1F
  • Radvilos Palace—a 17th century palazzo that is home to the foreign fine-arts section of the Lithuanian Art Museum; Vilnaius gatve 24
  • Europa Tower—the highest skyscraper in the Baltic region; Konstitucijos Prospektas 7

 

Sights in Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Vaduz is the capital city of the small principality of Liechtenstein. It seems to be a pretty place to explore with some museums, a privately owned castle, a winery, and a history of visitors admiring Liechtenstein’s beautifully designed postal stamps.

  • Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein (Liechtenstein Museum of Art)—a modern art museum with regularly rotating exhibitions of modern art by artists such as Peter Fischli, David Weiss, Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, Bill Bollinger, and Gunter Fruhtrunk as well as a café and bookshop; Stadtle 32
  • Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum (National Museum)—situated within a former tavern and customshouse, this museum has a collection that describes the geology, history, and folklore of Liechtenstein; Stadtle 43
  • Postmuseum—a small postal museum that depicts the principality’s history as a creator of well-designed limited-edition postage stamps; Stadtle 37
  • Cathedral of St. Florin—a picturesque cathedral with stained glass, statues, and gargoyles
  • Hofkellerei (Wine Cellars) of the Prince of Liechtenstein—a winery with high-quality wines to sample and a wine trail where 12 signs describe the wine’s age through words and illustrations; Furstliche Domane

Shopping in Riga, Latvia

Riga has some unique shops, galleries, and shopping centers with a variety of stores that will appeal to any shopper. Here is just a sampling of the shops in Riga:

  • Central Market—a market hall with zeppelin hangars from World War I that has vendors selling produce, fruits, and vegetables; Negu iela 7
  • Art Nouveau Riga—an art nouveau souvenir and gift shop located in the midst of the art nouveau district; Strelnieku iela 9
  • Galerija Centrs—a modern shopping complex with stylish shops and restaurants; Audeju iela 16
  • Stockmann—a large department store spread out over four floors with men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and shoes as well as tableware, textiles, toys, appliances, cosmetics, a florist, grocery store, and deli; 13 Janvara Str. 8
  • Alfa Centrs—a Norwegian owned shopping mall that is the largest shopping center in Latvia with an H&M, a supermarket, and an Apple Store; Brivibas 372
  • Basteja Pasaza—a collection of European boutiques with high-quality and high-end clothing, shoes, and accessories stores; Valnu iela 12
  • Jana Rozes Gramatnica—named after and established by a famous Latvian publisher in the early 20th century who died in Siberia in 1942 and had his company nationalized until 1988 and in 1992 denationalized, this bookstore has Latvian books and books in English, German, French, Russian, Russian, and other languages; K. Barona 5
  • Ekovirtuve—an organic food store with locally produced food such as preservative-free organic produce and meats and a restaurant that serves organic, vegan, and vegetarian dishes; Rupniecibas iela 11
  • Proud 2B—a globally recognized brand with modern, comfortable, affordable, and basic clothing by designers; Dzirnavu iela 84
  • Apavi 40+–a women’s and men’s plus-size footwear store with shoes produced in Latvia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, the UK, and Finland; Kr. Valdemara street 38
  • Baltu Rotas (Baltic Jewelry)—owned by famed Latvian jewelers Inita and Vitauts Straupe, this gallery reproduces classic Baltic and Scandinavian designs as well as designs original pieces; Grecinieku iela 11-2
  • Bergs Bazaar—a shopping district with eclectic boutiques, furniture stores, an upscale hotel, an angling shop, and restaurants; Marijas iela 13/4
  • Globuss—a bookstore with English books, dictionaries, grammar texts, and English language literature; Dzirnavu iela 67
  • Domina—a shopping center with 110,000 square meters of clothing, footwear, and lifestyle apparel as well as a supermarket; Ieriku 3
  • Mols—an American-style mall with European chain stores and a food court; Krasta 46
  • Blow—a designer clothing store with names such as Alexander McQueen and Dolce and Gabbana at affordable prices; Barona iela 16
  • Medus Istaba—a small family-run business that sells honey, wax, and bee-related products; Peterbaznicas Str. 17
  • Hobbywool—a knitwear shop with knitted scarves, mittens, and garments; Maza Pils iela 6
  • Kalnciema Quarter Farmers Market—a farmer’s market with a variety of food stalls and craft vendors; Kalnciema iela 35
  • Robert’s Books—a secondhand English bookstore and café that hosts concerts, talks, and readings; Dzirnavu iela 51
  • Spice—a large mall with European brands such as H&M, Debenhams, and Zara, small stores, restaurants, and cafes; Lielirbes iela 29
  • Miesai—an independent design company from the Baltic region with simple everyday designs; Gertrudes iela 121
  • Glass Point—a glass art studio and shop that sells locally made artwork and designs; Pernavas Street 33
  • ETMO—a contemporary Latvian design shop with products for the home, clothing, and accessories; 4 Torna Street
  • RIIJA—a Latvian design boutique with a variety of products by Latvian designers such as bed linens, towels, clothing, furniture, tableware, and lighting fixtures; Terbatas iela 6/8
  • Manilla—a paper, stationery, and gift shop with home accessories, greeting cards, calligraphy items, toys, art supplies, and stationery; Terbatas iela 55
  • Chocolate No. 1—a chocolate café with chocolate products, hot chocolate, muffins, coffee, and a chocolatery; Blaumana iela 38/40
  • Cetras Zoles—a stylish discount clothing and shoe store; Terbatas iela 13
  • Dzenis Amber—an amber jeweler; Ratslaukums 7
  • Doma Antikvariats—an antique shop specializing in high-end antiques such as paintings, furniture, jewelry, icons, silver, porcelain, and antique medals; Smilsu iela 8
  • Love Riga—a Latvian souvenir shop with trinkets and other mementos; Audeju iela 5
  • Origo—a shopping center with name brands such as Nike and New Balance, clothing stores, bookstores, cafes, and restaurants; Stacijas laukums 2
  • EGLE Crafts Market—a crafts market with souvenirs, amber products, wooden goods, jewelry, wool, and leather goods; Kalku iela 1a
  • Page—a book store with a curated selection of books, magazines, writing tools, prints, and paper products; Miera iela 4
  • MusMaja (Our Home)—a souvenir shop with printed postcards and gift items; Kaleju Street 7
  • Boutique Maripol—a fur store with fur jackets, vests, and hats; Stabu iela 20

 

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