Cultural Offerings Aplenty

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In the Baltic Sea Region, visitors will find refined city lifestyles and rural country charm. From opera and ballet in St. Petersburg to open-air museums presenting farm and peasant life, the Baltics spans the gamut of cultural offerings.

Famed director Ingmar Bergman began his career as a director at Malmo’s opera house in Sweden. Today, the opera house presents opera and musicals.

St. Petersburg is chock full of theaters, notably The Mariinsky Theater (formerly the Kirov Academic Opera and Ballet Theater), one of Russia’s largest and oldest music theaters, famous the world over for opera and ballet.

The world’s oldest theater exists in the Baltics: the Court Theater, at Stockholm’s Drottningholms Slott. Copenhagen’s new Opera House ranks among the world’s most modern.

Among the many attractions for culture seekers and sightseers are world-class museums, including the world’s oldest open-air museum (Stockholm’s Skansen) and the world’s largest naval museum (St. Petersburg’s Central Naval Museum, also Russia’s oldest museum, founded in 1709 and now featuring more than 500,000 exhibits).

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Even churches soar with superlatives: Visit Sweden’s largest wooden church (Admiralty Church in Karlskrona), Western Europe’s largest orthodox church (Helsinki’s Orthodox Cathedral), the Baltic region’s largest cathedral (Riga’s Dome Cathedral, also home to what was once the world’s largest organ), and the world’s tallest building until the late 1800s (St. Olav’s Church in Tallinn).

Cruise passengers will also see Scandinavia’s oldest remaining Renaissance castle (Malmo’s Malmohus Castle), the world’s largest preserved Viking Age silver collection (in Visby), Northern Europe’s most powerful cannon tower (used during the 16th century in Tallinn), the world’s best preserved Viking ships (Oslo’s Viking Ship Museum), the world’s longest pedestrian shopping street (Copenhagen’s Strøget), and Europe’s highest sand dunes (at Klaipeda’s Neringa Nature Preserve).

Viking history comes to life in many port destinations in the Baltic Cruising Region. At several sites, resurrected warships and museums retell the stories of a fierce life during the Viking Age. The Medieval Age lives on through well-preserved old towns and city walls and through castles and palaces that are still used today. Old church spires soar above city skylines.

Moving toward the modern, Scandinavian art and design is apparent in much of the architecture. Cruise passengers could do little more than visit art shops and galleries and feel as though they had had an enriching cruise experience. But there is so much more in this varied region of the world. Visit the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Parks and gardens are in full bloom during the cruising season, all part of the culture and attractions that await cruise passengers in the Baltics.

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