Visiting Israel is always a wonderful idea. You’ll want to see as many historic sites as you can while you are there, and specifically in the holy city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem packs a huge punch in the tourist department – from ancient architecture to modern structures. But the Jerusalem museums are don’t-miss outings. Here are my favorites.
There is no doubt that the Roman-German Museum in Cologne proves that the wonderful city was once under Roman rule. The modern museum itself stands on the land where the original marvelous mosaic of Dionysius was found. Thus, the Römisch-Germanisches Museum is, in itself, an archaeological site.
I have no doubt that Apollo Gallery is the most dazzling hall at Louvre Museum. Yes, if there’s one room at Louvre Museum that spells grandeur, it would be Galerie d’Apollon. This amazingly-decorated room is fit for a sun-god. From its walls to its ceiling Apollo Gallery shimmers in paintings, tapestries, jewels, gilded embellishments and statues. Its artistry is incredible and its craftsmanship is very detailed.
Apollo Gallery is the Most Dazzling Hall at Louvre Museum
Royal Gallery. As soon as you enter, there’s that feeling that you’re in one of the royal rooms of time’s past. In fact, this was the first royal gallery for King Louis XIV. Though small in size, this hall became the prototype of the Hall of Mirror at the Palace of Versailles.
The Vaulted Ceiling. You’ll find a lot of things here. Of course, you’ll see Apollo, the sun-god. You’ll marvel at the winged cherubs, royal emblems, muses and gods. The splendid stuccos are everywhere and they’re a delight to see. Above all, you’ll find the impressive visual representations of the zodiac signs. I did find mine – Aquarius. Can you find yours?
There’s an amazing world waiting for you inside the Chihuly Glass Museum (properly known as Chihuly Garden and Glass). This is a very unique museum that you’ve never ever seen anywhere in your travels. Who knew that glass can be such a wonderful medium to express human emotions and visions?
WHO IS CHIHULY? Honestly, I’ve never heard the name, Dale Chihuly, before – until I read a travel guide while I was on the train to Seattle from Vancouver. Dale Chihuly is a sculptor who makes life-size figures of everything made out of glass. Apparently, he’s the best in his field that his works are worth thousands of dollars, if not millions. Make sure to find the video room and watch the short clips about Dale and his art before you exit the museum.
TICKETS: First of all, your student card is useless in this museum. They won’t honor it. So, to save money in Seattle, I’d advise you to buy Seattle CityPass that includes Chihuly Garden and Glass. Click here for the price.
Oscar Wilde Tours offers gay history for gay travelers: Oscar Wilde Tours organizes group tours focused on gay history, culture, and art. From Socrates to Michelangelo, from Whitman to Wigstock: come discover the richness of the gay past and the importance of the gay contribution to world culture on our tours!
We visit Atlanta quite a bit since we have family in Georgia, and we’re always looking for new things to do with the kids. On this last trip, we finally got to visit a dinosaur museum: Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History. It was the perfect addition to a family trip to Atlanta.
After six or seven trips we’re always looking for something new, so it’s refreshing to find dinosaurs in Atlanta. The Fernbank Museum is more than dinosaurs though, and we loved it all!
Locale of the Fernbank Museum
There are actually a few really cool sites in the proximity of the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Between downtown Atlanta and the Fernbank there is the MLK National Historic Site and Sweet Auburn neighborhood, Piedmont Park, and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. There is also the Path, a long interurban trail for biking, running and walking, connecting the Druid Hills area to downtown.
Aya Sofia or Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is another must-visit attraction that would blow your mind away. It served as a Byzantine Cathedral from 537-1204; a Roman Cathedral until 1261; a Greek Orthodox Cathedral through 1453; an Ottoman mosque until 1931; and then, it became a museum which we enjoy until today.
I gasped when I visited the church turned mosque turned museum. It’s a mixture of historical and architectural wonders. It’s a wonderful blend of Roman, Ottoman, Islamic and Byzantine architectures – and I couldn’t help myself but gazed at every details of the interior that stood the test of history and war times. The towering dome is, in itself, a beauty that I’ve never seen anywhere – lightened up by its innumerable windows filtering the daylight.
Hagia Sophia is just across the famed Blue Mosque in Sultahnamet area of Istanbul. You can’t skip one in favour of the other. These two are inseparable tourists destinations that you must see – once in your lifetime!
Located in the Piazza dei Miracoli (Miracle Square), on the west coast of Italy, the Baptistery of Pisa forms one of the four buildings. In fact, it comes second in the chronological order, neighboring the Duomo di Pisa, the cathedral, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
It is an ecclesiastical building, and throughout history, it has played a keen role in the religious scene in Pisa. This actually shows in the multiple architectural veils that it is draped in. The lower side has arches and pillars that hint towards the Romanesque style, but the upper levels show a stark Gothic style with pointed figures and closely spaced pillars.
The entrance to the edifice is covered with ornate pillars and reliefs, in which the upper one depicts the life of Saint John and the middle one shows Christ flanked by Saint John and Madonna and surrounded by several angels.
The Baptistery of Pisa – Where Galileo Was Baptized
This baptistery is famous for its architecture and also for the following things.
1. The Acoustics: Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni Pisano have done an outstanding job by designing the interior that it facilitates reverberations or acoustics. Anyone standing below the edge of the dome can have his voice echoed. Every 30 minutes, one of the employees would sing loud to demonstrate the power of its acoustics.
As we travel around the country we are always interested in visiting the different museums. This week we found one that is extremely interesting. THE GORDON PARKS MUSEUM in Fort Scott, Kansas was founded in 2004. Gordon Parks, the famous photographer, filmmaker, musician and writer was born in Fort Scott in 1912. His journey with his camera took him all over the world.
He was the first African-American staff photographer for LIFE magazine for 20 years and his remarkable photographs many times were on their cover. He was the first African- American to direct a film for a major studio and his credits includes, The Learning Tree, Shaft, Leadbelly and others.
He wrote 20 books and composed music as well. He was truly a Renaissance man in every sense of the word. President Ronald Reagan presented him the National Medal of Arts Award in 1988. He lived most of his adult life in New York City.
Executive Director Jill Warford has truly done a remarkable job in creating this memorial/museum to this great man. Under her guidance this museum has turned into a national treasure. In all of our travels from coast to coast she is the most professional, friendly and articulate Director of any museum we have ever toured, and we have toured over 100 museums!
She knows the history of Gordon Parks explicitly and is a great tour guide. After the death of Gordon Parks in 2006,his personal effects were given to the Museum including awards and medals that he was given throughout his life, personal paintings, clothing, cameras and photographs, etc. They have dozens of his original photographs on display. The museum was able to obtain his ‘writing desk’.
His works can be found at the National Film Registry, the National Archives in Washington, D. C., the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D. C., Wichita Kansas State University as well as Kansas State University in Manhattan, Ks. If you are not familiar with him, check him out online.
The museum is open daily and is located on the campus of the Fort Scott Community College at 2108 South Horton. Their website is: http://www.gordonparkscenter.org/ and you can call them for more details at 1.800.874.3722, Ext. 5850.
Their museum has the largest collection of his work in one place, where he was born and is now buried. Be SURE and read what he wrote about the town where he was born which is on his tombstone which he wrote 5 years before his death in 2006.
“This small town into which I was born has for me, grown into the largest and most important city in the Universe. Fort Scott is not as tall or hearlded as New York, Paris or London – or other places my feet have roamed, but it is home. Surely, I remember the harsh days, the sordid bigotry and segregated schools – and indeed the graveyard for Black people, (where my beloved Mother and Father still rest beneath Kansas earth). But recently, the bitterness, that hung around for so many years seems to have asked for silence, for escape from the weariness of the ugly days past. Thankfully hatred is suddenly remaining quiet, keeping it’s mouth shut! And I’m thankful for the contentment we lost along the way. My hope now is that each of us can find What GOD put us here to find – LOVE! Let us have no more truck with the devil.”
And a BIG thanks to Director Jill Warford on doing such an outstanding job with the museum!
TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).
Pieta Rondanini is Michelangelo’s unfinished marble statue. Since 1952, Milan is a host to the master’s work. Today, you can find it at Museo Pieta Rondanini inside the Castello Sforzesco. When Michelangelo died in 1564, they found the sculpture at the artist’s workshop in Rome. Afterwards, the unfinished statue was missing for more than 200 years and reappeared in 1807 at Palazzo Rondanini.
And that’s how it gained its monicker: Pieta Rondanini.
As you can see, Mary is standing, supporting her son, Jesus, after he was taken down from the cross. The famed Pieta inside St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican has Mary sitting while looking down at his son bathed in blood.