11/20/2013 10:45 EST | Updated 02/07/2014 02:59 EST

Geneva's Magical History Tour


Switzerland: that tiny European country both seemingly plated in gold and chocolate also bears the ideas of surviving total war with institutions and histories like the Red Cross and the Geneva Convention. The people, places, and information about Switzerland are, if anything, incredibly varied.

Geneva, a city of almost 200,000 people, is a wondrous microcosm of Switzerland’s cultural and historical significance. Though not the capital, Geneva holds many of the scientific, historical, notable, and cultural sights the country is most famous for.

Photo gallery Geneva's Magical History Tour See Gallery

National Monument

Located in the Jardin Anglais, the National Monument embodies Geneva’s unification with Switzerland in 1814. The sculpture features two women -- representations of the Republics of Geneva and Helvetias -- almost braided together in a signifier of unity.

A Globe of Science and Innovation (CERN)

Maybe you know of CERN because you’re a physics ace, or maybe you’re finally admitting to yourself (and everyone else) about reading a certain Dan Brown book that was made into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Tom Hanks.

In any case, CERN is a marvel of science and technology. It’s a massive circular structure with a number of exhibits, one of which includes taking us back to the beginning with particles and that elusive Big Bang. It is also probably full of super secret science projects that hopefully include Tom Hanks, because why not?

Archaeological Site of St Peter's Cathedral

Because Geneva is in Switzerland and Switzerland is in Europe, chances are extremely high that there will be ancient historical wonders peppering the amazing mountainous landscape. With the Archaeological Site of St Peter’s Cathedral one can see the development of Christianity in the region, as well as evidence of pre-Christian cultural uses, like the Celtic Allobroge tribe.

Musée d'art et d'histoire

Geneva’s multifaceted Museum of Art and History offers an integrative look at Western civilization. Established in 1910, this museum offers over 6,000 pieces of art, 1,200 sculptures, an impressive library, and so much more.

Musée international de la Réforme

The Reformation was kind of a tough time for everyone in 16th century Europe: who would they turn to for religious doctrine and solace? And really, what did it all mean? Five-hundred years later, the Musée international de la Réforme has got the timeline and context covered. Housed in the former St Peter’s cloister, the space is a historical relic in itself: Geneva sided with Reformation in 1536.

A Symbol for Peace: The Broken Chair

One of the more modern, yet duly important additions in Geneva is that of The Broken Chair. Noted as a depiction of peace, The Broken Chair -- a giant wooden chair with part of its left front leg missing -- is also recognized as a symbol against landmines.

Grand Théâtre

The Grand Théâtre is a magnificent sight of musical history and architecture. With the structure’s roots as far back as 1766, it holds a key to the decadence of Europe’s past. The opera house is world renowned and has been home to performances of some of the most famous classical music pieces in Western history.