Having aged gracefully over more than 850 years, this magnificent cathedral lies nestled in Geneva's Old Town. Its interiors set alight by chandeliers, this cathedral boasts ornate chapels like the Chapel of Maccabee adorned with Gothic frescoes, and side aisles bearing tomb stones of various luminaries of the church. In addition, its majestic capitals draw influences from the Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture, and are some of the largest in the whole of Switzerland. Not only is this cathedral a solemn dedication to Saint Pierre, but it is also a stirring emblem of Roman Protestantism. A steep climb through a labyrinthine spiral staircase leads to two imposing towers which serve as an outstanding vantage point over the shimmering blue Geneva Lake, charming brown-roofed buildings and the iconic Jet d'Eau. North of this grand structure lies the extensive International Museum of Reformation, which is a stirring insight into theology, and what life looked like after reformation.
Located close to La Cathédrale St Pierre, on the ground floor of the Maison Mallet, Musée international de la Réforme is a must visit in Geneva. It houses paintings, manuscripts, unique objects, rare books and engravings regarding Geneva's reformation. You can also avail of the guided tours conducted by the museum. Temporary exhibitions take place occasionally as well. Call or visit their website for more details.
The Musée Ariana (Ariana Museum), also known as Musée Suisse de la Céramique et du Verre, is housed in an exquisite palace built between 1877 and 1884 and is well worth visiting in its own right. The museum has one of the richest and finest collections of ceramic and glassware in Europe and is the only museum of its kind in Switzerland. The collection's approximate 20,000 pottery, stoneware, earthenware and porcelain objects, as well as some glass objects span seven centuries, from the Middle Ages to the present day in Europe, the Near East and Asia. The museum also holds temporary exhibitions in its basement throughout the year.
The Maison Tavel is the oldest standing private house in Geneva. The house, which was burnt down in 1334 and rebuilt shortly afterwards, is listed as a historical monument. Visit the cellar and its archaeological ruins, then go up to the ground floor to discover Geneva from the Middle Ages to the Restoration. On the first floor paintings, engravings and photographs depict the evolution of the city, and in the main hall woodwork, locksmithing and ironwork by Genevan craftsmen of the 17th and 18th Centuries are exhibited.
With branches in various popular cities like Los Angeles, New York, London and Rome, Geneva could boast of its own Gagosian Gallery since 2010. A brainchild of art enthusiast, Larry Gagosian, this art gallery aims at giving impetus to contemporary art in the city, promoting it to a wider audience. Modern thought expressed through paintings, sculpture, photography and other art forms are well represented here. Gagosian Gallery also offers its platform to launch upcoming Genevan artists.
Founded in 1981, Andata Ritorno is a contemporary art gallery that has given its space to a number of emerging artistes since its inception. The center is dedicated to promoting fresh talent and has the workshops of several artists as well. Some of the artists to have displayed their art here include Gianni Motti, Yan Duyvendak, Guy Limone and Qui Jie.
In the loft of the old food market on Ile Rousseau, which in effect floats over the river Rhône, is a very different sort of bookshop/gallery: off-beat comic books, a coffee bar the size of a church organ, modern ("art nouveau") painting and print exhibitions and displays of original comic book plates, plus art books, colored writing paper and writing/artists materials, music CDs and posters. Cross the footbridge onto the island just off the bus terminal at Place Mollard, walk through the arcade towards the cafe at the prow, up the stairs and voilà, you've reached Papier Gras!
This beautiful old synagogue was built in 1859 when the Genevan government finally allowed minorities to build religious buildings within the city walls. Beth Yaakov or La Grande Synagogue, as it is popularly called, has been listed as a historical monument and was recently renovated according to its original design. Its style is Byzantine, it has a large dome and its facade is striped pale orange and white. Services are held according to Ashkenazi rituals.
Sponsored by Geneva's Department of Cultural Affairs, Halle Nord is a non-profit interactive arts space that seeks to promote contemporary local artists. Sandwiched between a gallery and an art center, the Halle is more of a laboratory, a place of experimentation and expression. In addition to frequent performances and community events, it hosts about fifteen temporary group and solo exhibits each year, all with the goal of facilitating important interactions between ground-breaking Swiss artists and its broader public.
Specializing in the exhibition of sculpture, painting and photography, Galerie Charlotte Moser is home to the works of contemporary Swiss, European and international artists, both upcoming and established. Artist galleries and a showroom are available for those interested in viewing or purchasing works.
Home to contemporary art of all genres, including fashion, new media, and virtual art, Analix Forever is an art gallery that makes it a point to showcase young artists, who they believe are capable of redefining the artistic landscape. The gallery is also host at any given time, to several artists-in-residence, which means that visitors have the opportunity to view work from around the world, as well as art that has been recently created at the gallery itself.