Top 5 Lesser Known Cultural Destinations
Think of culture and people automatically think about destinations such as Vienna and London. But there is an amazing array of cultural experiences available in other lesser known destinations around the world.
Moscow is Russia's capital and the largest city in Europe. For this reason alone it is one of Europe's biggest cultural centres.
Moscow is home to the internationally acclaimed Tretyakov Gallery, founded by Pavel Tretyakov. The Gallery is split into two sections - the Old Gallery, which houses the works of the classic Russian tradition and the New Gallery, which contains the works of Soviet artists.
Moscow is also home to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. The Museum's halls are a cross-section of artifacts from world civilisations.
The State Historical Museum documents Russian history with exhibitions ranging from ancient relics to priceless artworks acquired by the Romanov dynasty.
Moscow is the epicentre of Russian performing arts, boasting 93 theatres, 132 cinemas and 24 concert-halls. Among Moscow's many theatres is the famous Bolshoi Theatre.
2. Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City is one of the most vibrant cultural centres in the world. Due to its colourful history Mexico City is a city rich in artistic expression.
Mexico City is the birthplace of the muralism movement. Many works of muralists like: Josť Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Diego Rivera are displayed in buildings throughout the city. Renowned artist Frida Kahlo's house is now a museum.
Mexico City is home to many contemporary art museums, which is ideal for luxury tours. The Museo de Arte Moderno is a repository of Mexican artists from the 20th century. In southern Mexico City, the Museo Carrillo Gil showcases avant-garde artists.
Mexico City is steeped in tradition. From mid-October through to November, markets and shops all over Mexico are replete with decorations for the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival.
Families construct colourful altars at home in honour of deceased relatives. The spirits of the dead are expected to visit on this special holiday.
3. Berlin, Germany
Berlin is the capital city of Germany. With a population of 3.4 million, Berlin is the country's largest city. At the forefront of luxury travel, Berlin is noted for its cultural institutions of international repute.
Berlin has one of the most vibrant nightlife scenes in Europe. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, many buildings in Mitte were renovated. Illegally occupied by young people, they became a fertile ground for all sorts of underground gatherings.
Berlin's Museum Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As early as 1841 it was designated a "district dedicated to art and antiquities" by a royal decree. Subsequently, the Altes Museum, Neues Museum and Alte Nationalgalerie were built there.
The Jewish Museum has a standing exhibition on 2,000 years of German-Jewish history. The Museum fur Naturkunde has the largest mounted dinosaur in the world.
Berlin has three major opera houses, of which the Berlin State Opera on Unter den Linden is the oldest; it opened in 1742.
4. Shanghai, China
Shanghai is considered to be the birthplace of Chinese modernity. It was in Shanghai that the first motor car was driven and the first train tracks were laid. Shanghai is synonymous with luxury travel.
Shanghai was also the birthplace of Chinese cinema and theater. China's first short film, The Difficult Couple and the country's first fictional feature film, Orphan Rescues Grandfather were both produced in Shanghai. These films established Shanghai as the home of Chinese film.
Shanghai boasts several museums of national importance. The Shanghai Museum of Art and History has one of the best collections of Chinese historical artifacts in the world. The Shanghai Natural History Museum documents the history of China and its flora and fauna.
The Shanghai School was an important school of traditional arts during the Qing Dynasty. During this era traditional Chinese art reached a climax that resulted in the emergence of a distinctive new style of Chinese painting.
Shanghai is also the home of the cheongsam -- a modernization of the traditional Chinese qipao. When it first emerged the cheongsam depicted a unique East Asian modernity.
5. New York City, USA
New York City is a city shaped by centuries of immigration. Many major American cultural movements first emerged in New York. The city is home to more than 2,000 arts organizations and more than 500 art galleries.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world's largest art museums. It comprises a building complex known as The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park which features medieval art.
The Jewish Museum of New York was first established in 1904.The museum boasts a collection 28,000 objects including paintings, sculpture and artifacts.
There are also many smaller museums, from the Cooper-Hewitt to the International Center of Photography.
The early twentieth century saw the emergence of modern dance in New York. Break-dance became an influential street dance style that emerged in African-American communities in Bronx in the 1970s. Speculation suggests that break dancing began as a method for rival gangs to settle territorial disputes
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen Cooke is a professional consultant with Travel Associates, an exclusive Australian travel agency catering to the premium travel market. More helpful travel tips and suggestions are available at http://www.travel-associates.com.au.