What are the best museums in Asia

The 10 best museums and galleries

From the National Geographic book "The 10 Best of Everything"

1. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

The Smithsonian is the largest research and museum complex in the world. It includes 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and various research facilities. More than 137 million objects related to American history are kept here, so you can easily spend a whole week here. Anyone who resolved to look at each individual exhibition item for a minute without breaks and sleep would only have seen ten percent of the total stock after ten years. So it makes sense to set priorities. We recommend limiting yourself to one or two exhibitions in two or three museums.

Main attractions: Dorothy's ruby ​​red shoes from "The Wizard of Oz", the clothes of the First Ladies and the original Stars and Stripes, the very first flag of the United States, in the National Museum of American History, the Gem Hall (with the Hope diamond) in the National Museum of Natural History and the Wright Brothers airplane from 1903, the Spirit of St. Louis, and the Apollo 11 command module in the National Air and Space Museum.

2. Louvre, Paris

Before it was turned into a museum two centuries ago, the Louvre was a medieval fortress and residence of the French kings. The glass pyramid designed by I. M. Pei in the inner courtyard of the Louvre was found shocking by many when it opened in 1989 as the new main entrance. In fact, however, it is an excellent spatial link between the various building complexes of the palace. The museum houses a world-class collection that extends from antiquity to the first half of the 19th century. A good place to start is the Eastern Sully Wing, built on the foundations of Philippe Auguste's medieval fortress - it's the heart of the Louvre, loved by children, and leads straight into the Egyptian collections.

Main attractions: “Venus de Milo”, “Nike of Samothrace” and Leonardo da Vinci's “Mona Lisa”.

3. Acropolis Museum, Athens

Finds from the slopes of the Acropolis are presented in the breathtaking gallery on the ground floor. The impressive glass floor gives a view of the archaeological excavations. On the ascent to the Acropolis one encounters sanctuaries of the Athenians from different epochs. Smaller settlements have been excavated that provide insight into former life in Athens. In the archaic section, visitors can view the exhibits from all sides for the first time. They are presented in open spaces with changing natural light.

Main attractions: The Parthenon frieze is mounted on a supporting structure, the dimensions of which correspond to the cella of the Parthenon. Every detail of the representations can be admired unhindered.

4. Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Even if the distance between Russia and the cultural centers of Paris, Rome and London may seem considerable: The Hermitage in Saint Petersburg houses a spectacular collection of world art with more than three million objects from the Stone Age to the early 20th century. The museum is housed in a total of six buildings along the Neva River. The main building is the famous winter palace in the confectioner's style. The imposing baroque building, designed in blue and white, was completed in 1764 and served as the main residence of the Russian tsars in the centuries that followed. Catherine the Great founded the museum after buying 255 paintings from a Berlin art dealer. It is primarily dedicated to Western European art - 120 rooms in four buildings cover the period from the Middle Ages to the present day. Rembrandt, Rubens, Tiepolo, Tizian, da Vinci, Picasso, Gauguin, Cézanne, van Gogh and Goya are represented here. Detailed tours can be booked, for example, with the organizer “Glories of the Hermitage”.

Main attractions: The golden halls of the treasury show masterpieces of goldsmithing from Eurasia, the ancient Black Sea coast and the Orient. The museum houses objects from the private collection of Tsar Nicholas II, including paintings, drawings and medals made on the occasion of his coronation.

5. British Museum, London

The largest museum in Great Britain houses the country's archaeological and ethnographic collections: more than eight million objects from prehistoric bones to parts of the Athens Parthenon, from complete Assyrian palace rooms to exquisite gold jewelry.

Main attractions: The Egyptian Department has the world's second best collection of Egyptian antiquities outside of Egypt, including the Rosette Stone from 196 BC. Chr.

6. Prado, Madrid

The wealth of classic masterpieces in the Prado is thanks to the Spanish royal family. Over the centuries, queens and kings have acquired and commissioned numerous works of art with great passion and taste. In addition to the greats of Spanish painting such as Velázquez, Goya, Ribera and Zurbarán, the Prado houses large collections of Italian (including Titian and Raphael) and Flemish artists. Ferdinand VII released the collection to the public in 1819. Even then, it was housed in the neoclassical building that is still in use today and designed by Juan de Villanueva.

Main attraction: "The Three Graces" by Rubens.

7. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest museum in the Western Hemisphere. His collection with more than two million objects is not only broad - it covers all regions of the world from antiquity to the present - but also extensive. In many areas the collections are so large that they basically represent museums in their own right. The collection of European paintings is overwhelming. It contains works by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, Rodin and other geniuses. The Egyptian collection shows the tomb of Perneb (approx. 2440 BC) and the exquisite temple of Dendur (approx. 23-10 BC). The American wing is dedicated to arts and crafts from the United States, including an entire Prairie House-style room designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The list goes on and on.

Main attractions: "Adam and Eve", the famous copper engraving by Albrecht Dürer, is just one of the many impressive works that can be viewed in the "Met".

8. Vatican Museums, Vatican City

The Vatican Museums are home to 22 spectacular collections. Most famous are the Museo Pio-Clementino with its great classical sculptures, the Raphael Rooms, entire rooms painted by Raphael, the Vatican Pinacoteca (collection of paintings), which houses important works of the Renaissance and Baroque, and of course the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo. The ancient Egyptian collections of the Gregorian-Egyptian Museum and the Etruscan objects of the Gregorian-Etruscan Museum are also important. And that is just the beginning.

Main attractions: The famous Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms are a must.

9. Uffizi Gallery, Florence

“Grandios” is a somewhat worn word in Italy, where so many of the country's monuments and works of art deserve the highest praise. In the case of the “Galleria degli Uffizi”, however, this adjective is almost too weak for a gallery in which the most beautiful Renaissance paintings in the world are gathered. All the famous names of Italian art are represented here - not just the masters of the Renaissance, but also painters from the early Middle Ages and Baroque to Mannerism.

Main attraction: “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli is one of many.

10. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The Rijksmuseum has more than 900,000 objects, making it the largest Dutch art and history collection. Most famous are the paintings by 17th century Dutch masters such as Ruysdael, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt van Rijn. The Rijksmuseum was founded in 1800 to display the collections of the Dutch governors. Therefore, many works from the Middle Ages are shown. The main building was closed for renovation work until 2013. The highlights of the collections are shown in the Philips wing and in the Rijksmuseum Schiphol.

Main attraction: "The Night Watch" by Rembrandt.

Article published in English on September 20, 2012