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Jul 3, 2010 - Berlin    No Comments

Pergamon Museum (Berlin, Germany)

Pergamon Museum, Berlin GermanyHours of Operation: The Pergamon Museum is open daily from 10:00 – 18:00, except Thursdays when the museum remains open until 22:00.

Admission: €8 for adults (€4 for students with valid ID).  However, if you’re really on a budget, the museum is free for all visitors after 18:00 on Thursday nights.

Get There: The Pergamon Museum can be reached using the S-Bahn, taking routes S3, S5, S7, or S75 and exiting at Hackescher Markt, or via S1, S2, S3, S5, S7, or S75, from Friedreichstraße.  Visitors can also take the U-Bahn – U2 – and exit at either Märkisches Museum or Stadmitte Station.

The new, larger Pergamon Museum was conceived as a “Dreiflügelanlage”. Today, it accommodates three separate museums: the Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities), occupying the architectural halls and the sculpture wing, the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Museum of the Ancient Near East) and the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum of Islamic Art). The monumental reconstruction of archaeological building ensembles – such as the Pergamon Altar, the Market Gate of Miletus and the Ishtar Gate including the Processional Way of Babylon and the Mshatta Façade – has made the Pergamon museum world-famous.

Jul 3, 2010 - Berlin    1 Comment

Brandenburger Gate (Berlin, Germany)

Brandenburger Gate, Berlin GermanyHours of Operation: People are able to visit Brandenburger Gate, 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Admission: There is no admission charge.

Get There: Brandenburger Gate is easily reached from the Brandenburger Tor metro stop, accessible via both the U and S Bahn lines.  Take the S1,S2,S25, or U55 routes.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburger Gate has become the symbol of a reunified Berlin.  The Brandenburger Gate is situated at the end of Unter den Linden, a grand boulevard in Berlin. It was originally part of a wall surrounding Berlin and was the main entrance to the city. It is the only gate that remains of this former city wall.

Jul 3, 2010 - Berlin    No Comments

Reichstag (Berlin, Germany)

Reichstag, Berlin Germany

Hours of Operation: Reichstag is open to visitors from 08:00 – 24:00, daily. Note however that no one is allowed to enter Reichstag after 22:00.

Admission: Free

Get There: Reichstag can be reached by both the S and U Bahn lines.  Take either the S1,S2,S25 or U55 routes and exit at Brandenburger Gate.

The Reichstag, the seat of the German Parliament, is one of Berlin’s most historical landmarks. It is close to the Brandenburger Gate and before the unification, it was located right next to the wall.

Jul 3, 2010 - Berlin    No Comments

Holocaust Memorial (Berlin, Germany)

Holocaust Memorial, Berlin GermanyHours of Operation: The Holocaust Memorial is outside and therefore can be visited at any time, any day of the week. However, there is an information centre on the south east side of the memorial that has site information and is also a small museum. The information centre is open daily from 10:00 – 20:00 April – September, and 10:00 – 19:00 October – March.

Admission: Free

Get There: To reach the Holocaust Memorial, take the S1, S2, S25, or U55, and exit at Brandenburger Tor station.

Holocaust Memorial is a memorial in Berlin to the Jewish victims and other victims of the Holocaust, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000 square meter (4.7 acre) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or “stelae”, one for each page of the Talmud arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field.

Jul 3, 2010 - Berlin    No Comments

East Side Gallery (Berlin, Germany)

East Side Gallery, Berlin WallHours of Operation: 24 Hours, Daily

Admission: Free

Get There: The East Side Gallery can be reached via both the S and U Bahn lines.  Take one of the following routes (S3, S75, S7, S5, U1 ) and exit at Warschauer Straße station.

The East Side Gallery is the longest remaining piece of the Berlin Wall and today acts as a memorial to freedom the world over.  The wall in the East Side Gallery is almost a mile long (1.3 kilometers) and consists of 106 paintings, all painted on the east side of the wall which was , before its collapse, completely empty.  Work started on the paintings shortly after the destruction of the wall in 1989 and has continued up until today.  The paintings on the wall revolve around the theme of international freedom, rather than focusing on the Berlin Wall itself.

(S/U-Bahn: Warschauer Straße; S3,S75,S7,S5,U1)
Jun 16, 2010 - London    No Comments

Buckingham Palace (London, England)

Hours of Operation: Buckingham Palace is open to the public in the summer months only, from 09:45 – 18:00.  It is best to visit the Buckingham Palace website before you leave to ensure the Palace is accepting public visitors.

Admission: Admission to The State Rooms is £17 for adults (£15.50 for students with valid ID). A ‘Royal Day Out’ package is also available for visitors and includes The Staterooms, Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery.  £30.50 for adults (£27.50 for students).  Audio guides are included.

Get There: Buckingham Palace can be easily reached via Victoria, Green Park and Hyde Park Corner tube stations.

Buckingham Palace serves as both the office and London residence of Her Majesty The Queen, as well as the administrative headquarters of the Royal Household. It is one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today.

The Changing of the Guard

Changing the Guard takes place at 11:30 daily from May until the end of July and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting.  A board is placed outside the palace in the morning to say whether the Changing of the Guard ceremony will take place or not. There is no charge to view the Changing of the Guard – simply turn up and stand at the fence in front of the Palace, but it is worth getting there early to ensure a good view, particularly when the weather is fine.

Jun 9, 2010 - Cairo    1 Comment

Saints Serguis and Bacchus Church (Cairo, Egypt)

Hours of Operation: 0900 – 1630, daily.

Admission: Free

Get There: The Saints Serguis and Bacchus Church is located quite close to the Mar Girgis metro station in Coptic Cairo.

Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church, also known as Abu Serga, is one of the oldest Coptic churches in Egypt, dating back to the 4th century A.D.  The church is dedicated to Sergius and Bacchus, who were soldier-saints martyred during the 4th century in Syria by the Roman Emperor Maximian.

Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church is traditionally believed to have been built on the spot where the Holy Family, Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus Christ, rested at the end of their journey into Egypt. They may have lived here while Joseph worked at the fortress.

The church is of significant historical importance, and in fact, it is where many patriarchs of the Coptic Church were elected. The first to be elected here was Patriarch Isaac (681-692).

Jun 9, 2010 - Cairo    1 Comment

The Coptic Museum (Cairo, Egypt)

Hours of Operation: Open daily, 0900 – 1700.

Admission: 40 LE (20 LE for students with valid ID)

Get There: The Coptic Museum is located in Coptic Cairo, close to the Mar Girgis metro station.

Established in 1908 and recently restored to a high standard, the Coptic Museum houses Coptic art and artifacts from Late Antiquity and the Roman Empire through to the Islamic era and beyond.  Coptic monuments display a rich mixture of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman traditions, linking ancient and Islamic Egypt.  There is approximately 15,000 objects on display, organized into different mediums, such as stonework, woodwork, metalwork, textiles and manuscripts.

Jun 9, 2010 - Cairo    No Comments

Ben Ezra Synagogue (Cairo, Egypt)

Hours of Operation: Daily

Admission: Free

Get There: The Ben Ezra Synagogue is located close to the Mar Girgis metro station (behind the Hanging Church).

Egypt’s oldest surviving synagogue, dating to the 9th century and housed in a former church constructed in the 4th century. The synagogue was established in 1115, in what was previously a Coptic church, when the Copts were forced to sell it to raise funds to pay taxes to Ibn Tulun. The famed Geniza Documents, discovered in the synagogue basement, are of great interest to modern scholars of the medieval period in Egypt. According to local tradition, the Ben Ezra Synagogue is located on the site of where baby Moses was found.

Jun 9, 2010 - Cairo    1 Comment

The Gayer-Anderson Museum (Cairo, Egypt)

Hours of Operation: 0800 – 1700 daily

Admission: 35 KE (Concessions available – bring your student ID)

Get There: Like many sites in Egypt, the museum is most conveniently reached by taxi.  However, taking the metro is also a viable option to get to the Gayer-Anderson Museum.  The nearest station on the Cairo Metro, the Sayyida Zeinab station, is approximately 1 km to the west. The museum entrance can be reached through the main entrance to the mosque, or through a separate entrance toward the rear of the complex.

The Gayer-Anderson Museum is located in Cairo, Egypt, adjacent to the Mosque of Ahmad ibn Tulun in the Sayyida Zeinab neighborhood. The museum takes its name from Major R.G. Gayer-Anderson Pasha, who resided in the house between 1935 and 1942 with special permission from the Egyptian Government. It is noted for being one of the best preserved examples of 17th century domestic architecture left in Cairo, and also for Gayer-Anderson’s vast collection of furniture, carpets, curio, and other objects.  There are also a number of legends associated with the house.

Legends of the House

  • The house was built on the remnants of an ancient mountain called Gebel Yashkur, the “Hill of Thanksgiving.” It is believed that this is where Noah’s Ark came to rest after the Deluge described in both the Bible and Qur’an, and that the last of the floodwater was drained through the well in the courtyard of the house;
  • Moses was spoken to by God on this spot;
  • The house is protected by a shaykh, Haroun al-Husseini, who is buried under one of the corners of the house. He is said to have blinded three men who attempted to rob the house, who stumbled around the house for three days and nights until they were finally caught;
  • The well in the house is said to possess miraculous qualities – for example, a lover gazing into the water would see the face of his or her sweetheart instead of his/her own reflection.