Top 5 Cultural Centers of Eastern Europe
Age may not be the only determinant of a city’s inclusion on this list, but Sofia’s near-2500 years of existence have provided it with all the character one would hope to experience on any European exploration. The amount of museums, art galleries, and historical buildings seems limitless. Highlights are the National Museum of Military History, Ivan Vazov National Threatre, and Boyana Church. Western Bulgaria is full of mountainous views and adventurers should leave the city to experience them with a hike if the weather permits.
Similar to Istanbul, Kiev’s geographic location has played a large part in its establishment and history in the region. Located on the Dnieper River, it was established around the 5th century and has sustained itself over the years as a commercial and cultural capital despite a coarse past. Kiev has aged well. While most of the buildings have been preserved, the city has prepared itself for tourists by cleaning up the city and focusing on future growth. Stop by St. Sophia’s Cathedral or Motherland Statue during the day and head to Khreshchatyk Street at night for a more familiar nightlife experience. Kiev is a city poised to rise in demand from tourists all over the world.
A history of influencers would read like a history of the entire region of Eastern Europe. Instead of embracing the details of the influencers, embrace the product of their influence. Budapest is Romania’s capital in every sense of the word and a model of preserved beauty. The city’s temperate climate made the city an ideal host to so many in the past and to about 2 million people today. Sites such as the Hungarian National Theatre, the Museum of Fine Arts, The Great Synagogue, and Saint Stephen’s Basilica display just a fraction of the culture that the city has to offer.
Istanbul not only connects Europe and Asia geographically, the Turkish capital has been a cultural bridge since the days it was known as Constantinople under Constantine the Great’s rule. Known less as a travel destination to North American travelers than other regions, Istanbul has more to offer than hotels and ancient landmarks. The cuisine of Turkey embraces the best of the regions that surround it with lamb highlighting menus of any price range. From street food to a Michelin-starred restaurant—gastronomically, Istanbul has it all. A trip to Turkey would not be complete without a visit to a Turkish bath! Referred to as hamams, travelers can receive a massage treatment and trip to the sauna which officially make any trip a vacation.
Prague’s location has attributed to its cultural prowess over the years but it also makes for quick travel to other destinations. The country borders Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria making it the beating heart of the region and a quick train ride to kick off a new adventure. The city of Prague is one of the few, fortunate European cities to not be afflicted by war’s destruction over its history, with Prague Castle still standing from the 9th century. The castle is Prague’s most popular tourist attraction and now plays host to the country’s president. Understatedly charming, Prague should be the first of your stops throughout Eastern Europe.
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