The Louvre Museum in Paris

Europe, France, museums

Paris, without a doubt, is an enchanting and a very romantic city which any decent traveler, must visit.

There is so much beauty and history in the city that it literally sweeps you off your feet, during your very first glimpse.

Aside from its sheer elegance, Paris boasts of so much history and it is reflected in the city’s well-preserved buildings, sculptures and street art.

It is therefore not surprising that Paris is home to one of the most important museums in the world: The incomparable Louvre Museum.

From its beginnings as a fortress in the 12th century, it was transformed into a royal palace housing some of King Francis I’s most precious art collection in the 16th century. Since then, it has seen several expansions and now, it is considered as the preeminent art center in the world, attracting approximately six millions of visitors annually.

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The Italian Painting Section

The Louvre Museum is also one of the biggest museums in the world in terms of space, occupying a total of 60,600 square meters trust me, its huge!!!!).

It has been reported that the Louvre museums contains more than a million works of art but only a mere fraction of them are on display due to security and practical reasons. Among the most famous works of arts you will find here is THE one and only MONA LISA, Venus de Milo and the Nike of Samothrace.

There are three ways to enter the Louvre. There is the Louvre Pyramids (introduced in the 1980s), the Carrousel de Louvre or the Pontes de Lions (this is actually a secret entrance. No lines, people).

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Pontes des Lions

After passing the main entrances, you will have access to the museum’s three main sections: The Sully, Richielieu and Denon wings.

The arts displayed in the museum are also separated according to several classification such as Near Eastern Antiquities, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculptures, Decorative Arts, Paintings, and Prints and Drawings.

Because of its sheer size, it is really impossible to see everything. During my visit, I spent four hours walking around the museum and I still missed a lot of important artifacts and works of arts.

So in the interest of brevity, I will mention that most famous works of arts in the Louvre’s main wings.

The Sully Wing 

 The best thing in this section of the Louvre is the massive collection of Egyptian antiquities.
Sure, it’s nothing compared to the collections in Cairo (duh), but the Louvre’s stash of Egyptian artifacts is still impressive. I saw lots of statuettes by Isis, Osiris and Horus. But I think the highlight is the huge statue of Pharaoh Rameses II.
the Egyptian Antiquities

the Egyptian Antiquities

Rameses II

Rameses II

Aphrodite’s most famous sculpture “Venus de Milo” can also be found in the Sully Wing. It was discovered in 1820 in the island of Melos and has since been a beloved remnant of the ancient Greek civilization.
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Venus de Milo

The Richelieu Wing 
If you are into classical paintings, the Richelieu wing will definitely enthrall you. Here you will find masterpieces from true masters. My favorites in this wing are paintings by Rembrandt.
You can find here the intricately designed Napoleon III apartments, which is a throwback to the old glamour of the Louvre back when it was still being used as a palace.
The Denon Wing
Of course, this is completely subjective but I feel like the Denon Wing is the powerhouse area of the Louvre.
This is where you will find the most famous and most recognizable work of art in the world. You guessed it right. It’s THE MONA LISA. A painting my Senior Leonardo Da Vinci, the Mona Lisa is given a whole wall given the throngs of people who come to visit it.
I was surprised to find our that the Mona Lisa is actually a small painting,relative to its fame .
The Very popular Mona Lisa

The Very popular Mona Lisa

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Another highlight is the Consecration of Emperor Napoleon I by Jacques Louis David (I bought a copy to display on my desk).
Consecration of Napoleon I

Consecration of Napoleon I

The Denon Wing also boasts of the ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace, a 2nd century BC marble statue of Nike, the goddess of victory.It is considered as one of the best examples of Hellenistic sculpture largely because of the artful display of movement as displayed in the billowing clothes, and wings.
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Winged Victory of Samothrace

You can also find in the Denon Wing, Michael Angelo’s “The Dying Slave”
This section of the Louvre also features a collection of Roman and Etruscan antiquities as well as a collection of sculptures from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century. It also features artifacts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. Medieval sculptures from Europe are displayed on the lower ground floor of the Denon wing.
Visiting the Louvre
Under the Louvre Pyramid

Under the Louvre Pyramid

Visiting the Louvre is definitely one of the highlights of any visit to Paris and I recommend for everyone to come visit it at least once in their life.
The Louvre is open every day but Tuesday and the following holidays: Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and International Workers’ Day (May 1). The hours are: Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.
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Inside The Warsaw Uprising Museum

Europe, museums, Poland

Warsaw is one of nicest cities in Central Europe. The architecture is impressive and the locals are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.

But behind the city’s calm veneer, lies a tumultuous past that continue to shape the way locals live and interact with the rest of the world. One of the darkest and bloodiest moments in the city’s history is the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.

The Warsaw Uprising was a solid testament to the Polish people’s resistance to the Nazi regime. During the event, thousands died as they fought against the Nazi Germany’s occupation of Poland.

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As a memorial to those who gave their lives to the cause, the Warsaw Uprising Museum or Museum Powstania Warszawskiego was opened in 2004, as part of the 60th anniversary commemoration of the bloody event.

Occupying a former tram power station, the 2,000 square meter museum houses some of the most moving and important mementos of the uprising.

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There are about 1,00 exhibits and 1,500 photographs including pictures of the brave men and women of Warsaw who fought against the Nazi forces.

But what really moved me is the dedicated exhibit for the young Polish soldiers who despite their age, contributed greatly to the uprising. Some of the young Poles delivered important mails and communications under the nose of the Nazi’s. Others served as medics and healed the wounded

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A replica of the The Little Insurgent monument can also be found inside the museum. The actual monument is located inside the walls of Warsaw’s Old Town or Stare Miasto.

A Polish friend whom I visited during my visit to Warsaw insisted that I spend an hour or so inside the museum so I would have a better understanding of the city’s history and of its people psyche. He was absolutely right.

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A great deal of exhibits inside the Uprising Museum brought me close to tears and silenced me.

There is the Hall of Remembrance, a tribute to those who perished in the war. There also the black and white photos of Warsaw before and after the Nazis burned it to the ground as retaliation. Fact: The entire Old City was obliterated by the Nazi forces and the old city that now stands is merely a a faithful reconstruction of the original.

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A wall displaying the timeline of events is located right at the heart of the museum reminding visitors of the series of circumstances that led to Warsaw’s destruction.

You will also see a replica of the Warsaw sewers, which insurgents used to move around the city during the uprising.

One of the highlights of the museum is an exact replica of a B24 Allied plane used to drop supplies to the city.

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Before you exit the museum, spare a few minutes to watch “City of Ruins” a short video showing the depth of destruction Warsaw suffered during the city’s liberation in 1945.

Visiting the Uprising Museum was one of the highlights of my visit to Warsaw. It opened my eyes to the true pain and suffering the people of Warsaw felt during the occupation.

The museum is also a great reminder to visitors and to the outside world of the need to be vigilant against any form of oppression. A reminder that never again should we let our freedom be curtailed and our voices stifled.

Opening hours:
Mon., Wed., Fri. 10 am – 6 pm, Thu. 10 am – 8 pm, Sat.-Sun. 10 am – 6 pm

Admission:
regular – 18 PLN, reduced – 14 PLN, groups – 10 PLN/person

Revisiting the Aquino Museum in Tarlac

museums, philippines, tarlac
The facade of the Aquino Museum

In 2001, former Philippine Pres. Cory Aquino opened the Aquino Museum inside the sprawling Hacienta Luisita in Tarlac province.

This small structure, which served as an exhibition hall and a small museum was supposed to highlight the life and works for her husband, former senator and a national hero Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Sr.

As it turned out however, the soft-spoken woman, who roused an entire country from its dark Martial law era into the glorious days of democracy, would become an even larger and more influential figure in shaping the history of the Philippines and its people.

Her magic was so great that she was the first woman president in Asia and she led the first blood-less revolution in world history. She received accolades from here and abroad, putting the Philippines in the limelight for so many years.

Her death in 2009 was sudden and it awakened in millions of Filipino that sense of nationalism and Filipino pride that was missing for so long. Her ideals and leadership in humility, became once again an inspiration to many to aspire for a clean republic.

In the middle of such changing times, that small museum in Tarlac, was frozen, managing only to feature some parts of Cory’s lives, (mostly as the wife of Ninoy) and of her proclamation as president.

Cory’s achievements as president and the legacy she left behind even after her president was not captured by the museum.

Furthermore, the small museum, despite its importance to the history of this nation, is not as popular and impressive as other museums in the country.

The blood-stained cloth of Ninoy Aquino taken after his assasination on August 21, 1983

In fact, not so many people are aware of its existence.

Ten years after its inauguration, the Aquino Museum, through the efforts of the Lafarge Philippines and Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation, finally decided to revamp the museum, this time, showcasing Cory as an enigmatic leader during and after her presidency.

The changes are expected to be dramatic and the museum’s interiors are expected to be improved drastically. The move, is expected to attract more Filipinos to see it and hopefully appreciate the importance of the contributions of both Ninoy and Cory to achieving the democracy and freedom we now all enjoy.

Before the changes are reflected however, I decided to share with you some photos of the Aquino Museum.

The simple but famous yellow dress Cory wore during her presidential inauguration
The Aquino family circa 1950s
A replica of Ninoy’s detention cell in Fort Bonifacio

Who knew? Cory’s paintings made after her presidency (1997, 1998, 1999)

More paintings

Ninoy counting the days and nights of his imprisonment