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Sights in Geneva, Switzerland

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

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

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 Madrid, Spain

Madrid is the capital of Spain and has an impressive history and scenic parks, museums, and churches that are certainly worth exploring.

  • Basilica de San Francisco El Grande—a basilica built by Carlos III on the site of a Franciscan convent founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1217 with a large dome that is the largest in Spain, seven main doors made from American walnut, three chapels joining the circular church with one containing a famed Goya painting, and 16th century Gothic choir stalls; Pl. de San Francisco
  • Caixaforum—an arts complex designed by two Swiss architects that appears to float on the public plaza and has a vertical garden designed by a French botanist; inside are huge exhibition halls that display ancient and contemporary art; Paseo del Prado 36
  • Campo del Moro (Moors’ Field)—a park with shade trees, winding paths, and lawn that lead up to the Palacio Real and inside the gardens is the Museo de Carruajes (Carriage Museum) that has royal carriages and equestrian gear from the 16th to 20th centuries; Paseo Virgen del Puerto
  • Casa Museo Lope de Vega—the former home of famed Spanish playwright Fray Lope Felix de la Vega who wrote 1,800 plays and attained great success in his lifetime that now is a museum with whale-oil lamps, candles, bed-warming pans, poetry readings, and workshops; Calle Cervantes 11
  • Catedral de la Almudena—this cathedral adjacent to the Royal Palace had its first stone laid in 1883 by King Alfonso XII and its structure consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1993 and in a classical and Gothic style with a wooden statue of Madrid’s female patron saint, the Virgin of Almudena, who was discovered after the conquest of Madrid by Christians in 1085; Calle Bailen 10
  • Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Queen Sofia Art Center)—Spain’s national museum of contemporary art that has works by all of the major Spanish painters and sculptors such as Picasso, Miro, Goya, and Dali displayed in a manner that puts these works into their historical context with the highlight piece on the second floor, Picasso’s Guernica, that depicts the Nazi bombing of the ancient Basque town of Gernika in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War, and the fourth floor dedicated to art created post-World War II; Calle de Santa Isabel 52
  • Centro de Conde Duque—an imposing building that was used as a military academy and astronomical observatory in the 19th century that after a fire in 1869 was renovated and converted into a cultural and arts center with a modern art museum and temporary art exhibitions; Calle Conde Duque 9 and 11
  • Museo Arqueologico Nacional (Museum of Archaeology)—a large neoclassical building that is a museum with three floors with Spanish relics, artifacts, and treasures such as La Dama de Elche, a bust of a wealthy 5th century BC Iberian woman whose headwear is a precursor to traditional Spanish dress, Visigothic votive crowns discovered in 1859 that date back to the 7th century, and the ivory crucifix of Ferdinand and Sancha; Calle de Serrano 13
  • Museo Lazaro Galdiano—the former mansion of writer and editor Jose Lazaro Galdiano that has décor and paintings by Bosch, El Greco, Murillo, and Goya among others; Calle de Serrano 122
  • Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporaneo—a museum inside the Centro de Conde Duque that was founded in 2001 and has 200 modern art pieces by local artists; Centro de Conde Duque, Calle Conde Duque 9 and 11
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza—this museum opened in 1992 that is located within the 18th century Villahermosa Palace and has a collection of almost 1,000 paintings that depict the history of Western art from 13th century Italian Gothic to 20th century American pop art with highlights such as Hans Holbein’s Portrait of Henry VIII, an impressionist halls, and German expressionist works; Paseo del Prado 8
  • Museo de Historia de Madrid—a museum founded in 1929 in a former 17th century hospice that has paintings, drawings, pictures, ceramics, furniture, and other objects that illustrate Madrid’s history with exhibits divided into four major historic periods: Empire, Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, and Modern Times; Calle Fuencarral 78
  • Museo del Prado (Prado Museum)—one of the world’s most renowned art museums that was renovated in 2007 with an addition of a large new wing and building centered around the remains of the Cloister of the San Jeronimo el Real which features works by Zurbaran and Antonio de Pereda; highlights of the permanent collection are works by three renowned Spanish masters: Goya, Velasquez, and El Greco and pieces by Flemish, Dutch, German, French, and Italian artists; Paseo del Prado
  • Museo del Traje (Costume Museum)—a museum that depicts the evolution of Spanish dress from royal burial garments to the introduction of French fashion by Felipe V and 20th century couture by Balenciaga and Pertegaz; Av. Juan de Herrera 2
  • Palacio Real—this palace built on the land where Muslims built their defensive fortress in the 9th century was commissioned in the early 18th century by Felipe V with classical French design and inside are 2,800 rooms including King Carlos III’s private apartments; a grand throne room with the royal seats of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia; a banquet hall that seats 140 for state dinners; a music museum with the world’s largest collection of stringed instruments; a painting gallery with works by Spanish, Flemish, and Italian artists; the royal armory with historic suits of armor; and the royal pharmacy with vials and flasks used to mix the king’s medicines; Calle Bailen
  • Parque del Buen Retiro (The Retreat)—Madrid’s largest park with formal gardens, fountains, lakes, exhibition halls, children’s play areas, outdoor cafes, and a puppet theater; Puerta de Alcala
  • Plaza de Oriente—the plaza in front of the Palacio Real that is surrounded by stone statues of Spanish monarchs including one that is the first bronze equestrian cast with a rearing horse
  • Plaza de la Cibeles—a majestic plaza with a well-known fountain, Fuente de la Cibeles (Fountain of Cybele), that depicts the nature goddess driving a chariot drawn by lions
  • Plaza de la Paja—this plaza was the most important square in medieval Madrid with the focal point being the Capilla del Obispo (Bishop’s Chapel) built between 1520 and 1530 that was the site where peasants gave their tithes (1/10 of their crop)
  • Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (St. Ferdinand Royal Academy of Fine Arts)—a museum that displays 500 years of Spanish paintings from Jose Ribera and Bartolome Esteban Murillo to Joaquin Sorolla and Ignacio Zuloaga with a gallery that displays paintings up to the 18th century including some Goya paintings; Calle de Alcala 13
  • Real Jardin Botanico (Botanical Garden)—a garden with plants, flowers, and cacti from around the world; Pl. de Murillo 2
  • Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Royal Monastery of St. Lawrence of Escorial)—a granite monastery commissioned by Felipe II built from 1563 to 1584 with treasures from the Spanish empire; a pantheon with the tombs of every king but three since Carlos I and royal children; a colorful library with ceiling paintings by a follower of Michelangelo and 50,000 rare manuscripts, codices, and ancient texts; San Lorenzo de El Escorial
  • Zoo-Aquarium—a comprehensive zoological park with a large variety of animals including an albino tiger, dolphins, and wild birds; Casa de Campo

Sights in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the lively capital of the Netherlands and has a rich and vibrant history. It has many museums, interesting architecture, beautiful parks, and plenty more to explore.

  • Allard Pierson Museum—a former National Bank that is now home to a museum with archaeological treasures from the University of Amsterdam’s collection from the early development of Western civilization with Roman and Egyptian artifacts and Near Eastern cultures (Anatolia, Persia, and Palestine); Oude Turfmarkt 127
  • Amsterdam Museum—a museum housed in a rambling series of buildings with the Schuttersgalerij (Civil Guards Gallery) filled with portraits of city militias and 21st century versions of civil guards’ paintings; Kalverstraat 92 and Sint Luciensteeg 27
  • Amsterdam Pipe Museum—a museum that illustrates the history of tobacco trading and smoking in Amsterdam with a large collection of items such as prehistoric pipes, smoking gear from around the world, pipe making tools, tobacco wrappers, and vignettes; Prinsengracht 488
  • Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest)—a nearly 2,500-acre and 124 miles of foot, bike, and bridle paths crossed by 116 bridge crossings in Amsterdam’s largest park that has large recreational fields, a boating lake, the Olympic Bosbaan rowing course, playgrounds, and water-play areas as well as a goat farm; Bosbaanweg 5, Amstelveen
  • Anne Frank House—the home where Anne Frank and her family as well as the Van Pels family and a dentist moved into and hid in a maze of rooms in the back; Prinsengracht 263-267
  • Artis (Amsterdam Zoo)—a zoo founded in 1838 that has more than 900 species of animals, over 200 species of trees, a butterfly pavilion, and an insectarium as well as the Micropia, the world’s first museum devoted to microbes; Plantage Kerklaan 38-40
  • Beurs van Berlage (Berlage’s Stock Exchange)—Amsterdam’s first modern building and the country’s most significant piece of 20th century architecture that was once a stock exchange and now has room for conferences, collaborative workspaces, exhibitions, and events; Damrak 243
  • Bijbels Museum (Bible Museum)—a beautiful museum with a large collection of Bibles, exhibits on archaeological finds from the Middle East, and models of ancient temples; Herengracht 366-368
  • Centrale Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (Central Amsterdam Public Library)—the country’s largest public library with a large theater, seminar and conference rooms, an art space, and a large music library as well as an incredible international magazine selection, a restaurant on the 7th floor, and over 1000 desks available for study and going online; Oosterdokskade 143
  • Cobra Museum of Art—an art museum with hundreds of pieces by the avant-garde CoBra movement including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics as well as temporary modern art exhibitions; Sandbergplein 1, Amstelveen
  • Eye Film Institute Netherlands—a futuristic-looking waterfront structure that has film archives, four huge screening rooms that show classic and modern films, a permanent display with historical objects and interactive elements from cinema, and a public library; IJpromenade 1
  • Heineken Experience—a museum dedicated to the Heineken beer label that is an interactive visitor center with tours of the former brewery including its vast copper vats and multimedia exhibits and a 4D virtual reality ride that simulates the brewing and bottling process; Stadhouderskade 78
  • Het Scheepvaartmuseum (Maritime Museum)—this former arsenal for the Admiralty of Amsterdam became the home of the Maritime Museum in the 1970s with a glass and steel roof and an interior that has one-room exhibitions each with different themes and items such as maritime objects, paintings, a significant globe collection, nautical instruments, yacht models, and ship decorations and two family-oriented wings with interactive activities such as a sea voyage and an exhibition about whales; Kattenburgerplein 1
  • Homomonument—the world’s first monument to persecuted gays and lesbians that was designed by Karin Daan and unveiled in 1987 and features three huge pink granite triangles that represent the past, present, and future and the points of the triangles pointing to the Anne Frank House, the National Monument on Dam Square, and the COC Center (a gay and lesbian organization founded in 1946); Westermarkt
  • Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam—a botanical garden originally configured as a medicinal garden in 1638 by the Amsterdam City Council before the collection expanded to include exotic plants from the East India Company’s foreign expeditions with 4,000 species of plants in the ornamental gardens, a three-climate greenhouse, and a butterfly house as well as an orangery with a café terrace; Plantage Middenlaan 2a
  • Huis Marseille (Marseille House)—a contemporary photography museum located in a 17th century canal house and the neighboring house that was once owned by a wealthy merchant and now has 13 exhibition rooms that show various genres of photography and thousands of photography books in the library; Keizersgracht 401
  • Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge)—the most famous of Amsterdam’s drawbridges that provides wonderful views of the Amstel and surrounding area and is illuminated at night; between Kerkstraat and Nieuwe Kerkstraat
  • Museum Het Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt House Museum)—a grand home owned by Rembrandt until his bankruptcy in 1656 with a restored interior that has reception rooms filled with elegant furniture and artwork and a small etching studio with a printing press and a line hung with drying prints (the museum owns 260 of the 290 etchings Rembrandt made); Jodenbreestraat 4
  • Museum Van Loon—formerly the home of one of Rembrandt’s most successful students, Ferdinand Bol, this house and its neighbor were remodeled in the 18th century by Abraham van Hagan and his wife Caterina Trapp, and was occupied by the prominent Van Loon family from 1886 to 1960 before a major restoration returned it to its 18th century incarnation and turned it into a museum with elegant salons filled with Van Loon portraits and possessions; Keizersgracht 672
  • NEMO Science Center—a copper-clad building opened in 1997 that was designed by world-famous architect Renzo Piano in a curved shape resembling a ship’s bow rising out of the water and featuring a rooftop café and terrace with the major highlight being five floors of hands-on and high-tech scientific activities for children such as bubbles on the ground floor and experiments in the Wonder Lab; Oosterdok 2
  • Rijksmuseum—one of the world’s top art museums with works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Vermeer and 7,500 other works of art such as Delftware, detailed dollhouses, and the Asian Pavilion; Museumstraat 1
  • Van Gogh Museum—a museum that has the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh’s masterpieces and traces his life history with additional pieces by Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet, and Bernard; Museumplein 6
  • Hermitage Amsterdam—a branch of St. Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum that shows the relationship between Russia and the Netherlands with temporary exhibitions displaying works from the Hermitage’s collection and a portrait gallery of 17th century Dutch luminaries; Amstel 51
  • A’Dam Tower—a 22-story building with excellent panoramic rooftop views of the city, a four-person swing over the edge, a green-screen for photos, a bar, two nightclubs, a revolving restaurant, and a stylish hotel; Overhoeksplein 1
  • Royal Palace—originally a town hall, this building became a palace in the 19th century with marblework inside including a floor with maps of the world, 51 chandeliers, damasks, gilded clocks, and paintings by Ferdinand Bol and Jacob de Wit; Dam
  • Stedelijk Museum—a museum featuring the collection of its curator Willem Sandberg with a rotating selection of works by Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Van Gogh, Rothko, De Kooning, and Warhol with activities for children in the family zone; Museumplein 10
  • Museum Willet-Holthuysen—a canal house built in 1687 and remodeled in 1739 that is named after Louisa Willet-Holthuysen who inherited the home from her merchant father and lived there with her husband; she sold the house to the city in 1895 and inside are displays featuring part of the family’s 275-piece Meissen table service and a French-style garden; Herengracht 605
  • Joods Historisch Museum—a restored complex of four Ashkenazi synagogues from the 17th and 18th centuries with displays highlighting the growth of Jewish enterprise and how it contributed to the Dutch economy and the history of Jews in the Netherlands; Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1
  • Verzetsmuseum—a museum that illustrates German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II through letters, artifacts, and personal stories showing resistance and at times collaboration with Nazi forces with a section on what was then the Dutch East Indies and is now Indonesia; Plantage Kerklaan 61
  • Micropia—the world’s first microbe museum with hands-on exhibits and microscopes to look through with facts on living organisms and how they exist on everyday objects as well as information on viruses; Artisplein, Plantage Kerklaan 38-40
  • Tropenmuseum—a three story collection of artifacts from former colonies including Indonesian shadow puppets and dioramas of tropical life with a hands-on children’s section, a music section, a gift shop, and a café; Linnaeusstraat 2
  • Foam—a prominent photography gallery with spacious galleries featuring skylights and large windows showcasing major annual exhibitions; Keizersgracht 609
  • Nieuwe Kerk—a 15th century late-Gothic basilica with an interior featuring a grand carved oak chancel, a bronze choir screen, a large organ, and large stained-glass windows that is typically used for art exhibitions and concerts; Dam
  • Westergasfabriek—a late 19th century Dutch Renaissance complex that was the western gasworks for the city until 1967 before it was restored into a cultural and recreational park with spacious lawns, a wading pool, bike paths, and buildings housing creative businesses such as advertising agencies and TV production studios with regular festivals, events, dining, and entertainment; Pazzanistraat
  • Het Grachtenhuis—an interactive museum with multimedia exhibits that explore how the canals and houses that line the city’s Canal Ring were built; Herengracht 386
  • Hollandsche Schouwburg—a theater opened in 1892 that was a cultural hub until World War II when Germans turned it first into a theater solely for Jews and then a detention center for Jews scheduled for deportation to death camps; inside are glass panels engraved with the names of deported Jewish families and an exhibit hall with photos and artifacts of Jewish life before and during the war; Plantage Middenlaan 24
  • Amsterdam Tulip Museum—a small museum that provides an overview of the country’s favorite flower through exhibits, timelines, and English films about the history of tulips with a collection of tulip vases and a gift shop; Prinsengracht 116
  • Stadsarchief—a striped building dating back to 1923 that was a former bank and is now home to Amsterdam city archives with displays including the 1942 police report on the theft of Anne Frank’s bike and a letter from Charles Darwin to Artis Royal Zoo; Vijzelstraat 32
  • Huis Marseille—a curated photography museum with traveling shows with varying themes such as portraiture, nature, or regional photography and exhibitions over several floors; Keizersgracht 401
  • Amstelpark—a park created in 1972 for a flower show that occurs throughout the country every ten years with creative garden layouts featuring a variety of flower species, a petting zoo, miniature golf, and a playground; Europaboulevard
  • Hortus Botanicus—a botanical garden since 1638 that flourished as tropical seeds and plants were smuggled by Dutch trading ships and from there coffee, pineapple, cinnamon, and palm-oil plants were distributed; it now features 4,000 species of plants kept in a seed house and a three-climate greenhouse and a butterfly house; Plantage Middenlaan 2a
  • Geelvinck Pianola Museum—a museum featuring a collection of pianolas dating back to the early 1900s, 30,000 music rolls, and a player pipe organ; Westerstraat 106
  • Multatuli Museum—the former home of novelist Eduard Douwes Dekker who is best known for Max Havelaar, a novel about colonialists in the Dutch East Indies, that is now a museum that describes his life and work; Korsjespoortsteeg 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Shopping in Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn is home to some interesting markets, shopping complexes, galleries, and craft stores that appeal to all tastes and interests.

  • Katariina Kaik—a series of artisans’ studios with the works of 14 female designers with pieces such as ceramics, textiles, patchwork quilts, hats, jewelry, stained glass, and leather-bound books; off Vene 12
  • Masters’ Courtyard—a 13th century courtyard with a chocolatery/café, a guesthouse, and artisans’ stores that sell ceramics; glass; jewelry; knitwear; woodwork; and candles; Vene 6
  • Balti Jaama Turg—a market complex with niche food vendors in huts, a supermarket, food halls, green grocers, fashion retailers, and a gym; Kopli 1
  • Estonian Design House—a store with designs from over 100 Estonian designers selling shoes, lamps, furniture, ceramics, and sustainable clothing; Kalasdama 8
  • Kalev—a legendary sweet shop open since 1806 with chocolates and other confections; Roseni 7
  • Solaris Centre—a shopping complex with a supermarket, boutiques, a bookstore, restaurants, and cinemas; Estonia pst 9
  • Ivo Nikkolo—one of the first labels to come from independent Estonia that is known for its women’s clothing in casual and dresswear made with natural fabrics; Suur-Karja 14
  • Telliskivi Flea Market—a flea market with clothing, books, and household items; Telliskivi 60a
  • Nu Nordik—a boutique that sells unique household products, clothing, accessories, and jewelry with a Nordic aesthetic; Vabaduse valjak 8
  • Viru Keskus—a large shopping mall with over 100 stores including fashion boutiques, a bookstore, and a ticket agency; Viru valjak 4/6
  • Kaubamaja—an upscale clothing store with international and local labels such as Ivo Nikkolo, Bastion, and Monton; Gonsiori 2
  • Rae Antiik—an antique market with items such as samovars, military items, and Orthodox icons; Raekoja plats 11
  • Luhikese Jala Galerii—a small gallery with textiles, jewelry, glass art, and ceramics from local artists; Luhike jalg 6
  • Central Market—Tallinn’s largest market with vendors selling fresh produce and shops selling a variety of items including Soviet memorabilia; Keldrimae 9
  • Foorum Keskus—a high-end shopping avenue; Narva mnt 5
  • Zizi—a housewares store with Estonian-made linen napkins, place mats, tablecloths, and cushion covers; Vene 12

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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