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Art and Culture in Johannesburg

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South Africa
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Apartheid Museum
The Apartheid Museum is the story of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity and oppression. Beginning in 1948, the white elected National Party government initiated a process that turned more than 20 million people into 2nd class citizens, damning them to a life of servitude, humiliation and abuse. Their liberation in 1994 was the climax of a nation’s resistance, courage and fortitude. The path through the museum leads you on a journey beginning with segregation, the cornerstone of apartheid. It takes you back through the history of the myriad cultures converging during the pre-apartheid era, through the years of race classification, the 150 acts of apartheid, detentions and the oppression of the nationalist regime. You will examine the rise of black consciousness and the armed struggle, and finally witness the release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years of imprisonment which led to the negotiations for peace.
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Afronova Gallery
AFRONOVA GALLERY, based in Africa’s powerhouse, Johannesburg, is the brainchild of the dynamic duo Emilie Demon and Henri Vergon who are developing and consolidating an innovative model of gallery together with some of the most progressive and influential artists in South Africa and the Southern Hemisphere. In recent years, AFRONOVA GALLERY showcased artists from the continent in prestigious international platforms like The Armory Show, Art Paris, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New York and London. The gallery enjoys collaborations with important institutions like the PAC Milan, Iziko South African National Gallery, The Studio Museum, The Smithsonian Institution, Mass Mocca, as well as foundations like Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, Prada Fondazione in Milan, Fondation des Galeries Lafayette in Paris, JP Morgan Chase in New York, La Maison Rouge in Paris.
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Nirox Park
It is located on 15 hectares of landscaped gardens and waterways within an extensive private nature reserve in the heart of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. NIROX Sculpture Park is 45 minutes from the centers of Johannesburg and Tshwane.
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African Art Centre
The Durban African Art Centre Association provides thousands of unemployed artists and craftspeople with opportunities of self-employment and economic upliftment and the ability to earn a sustainable living.
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Bulawayo National Art Gallery
Housed in one of the country’s finest monuments, the National Gallery in Bulawayo is a unique facility, which holds invigorating and challenging exhibitions. Douslin House where the Gallery is housed in more than 100 years today. Its architectural splendor makes evident the gallery’s own goal of aesthetic appreciation and artistic aim. As custodians of a growing Zimbabwean heritage, Art Gallery is tasked with the creative and intellectual discipline to select, to nurture and commend outstanding works of visual art, to select and display pivotal works, to generate and improve upon existing talent, to train and develop artistic skills, to educate, to empower, to mediate, and mostly to celebrate. Freed from some of the influences and concerns, which dominate other provinces in Zimbabwe, the unique thrust of the National Gallery in Bulawayo is its desire to dissolve barriers between art and its audience, to establish a consistent dialogue and intimacy. The personality of this gallery is embodied in its transparent windows in the Lower Gallery, which allow passers-by to view current exhibitions while going on about their daily business.
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GFI Art Gallery
This Art Gallery is unique in South Africa and possibly the world, as a corporate collection being devoted to the science of aviation. It houses the complete collection of 150 paintings and sketches as published in his book of 1989 "A Portrait of Military Aviation in South Africa".
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Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) is a public not-for-profit contemporary art museum that collects, preserves, researches and exhibits 21st-century art from Africa and its diaspora; hosts international exhibitions; develops supporting educational and enrichment programmes; encourages intercultural understanding, and guarantees access for all. The galleries, spread over several floors, are dedicated to a large cutting-edge collection gallery; exhibition galleries; and Centres for Art Education, Curatorial Training, Performative Practice, Photography, and the Moving Image.
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Zafimaniry Art
The Zafimaniry occupy a mountainous area to the southeast of Ambositra and have developed an exceptional architectural art across the ages. Doors and windows are elaborated in wood and sculpted in the form of geometric figures representing the Zafimaniry universe. Registered as a UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site, this incredible art will impress you. The Zafimaniry use 20 different species of endemic trees, each one is adapted to a specific type of construction or decorative function. The geometric motifs which decorate the shutters and windows of these wooden houses are reminiscences of magic signs designed to protect the community and to testify to its links with its environment. This is the peculiarity of their art: in the ties that the Zafimaniry weave between themselves and with nature.
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Dar National Museum
The Dar es Salaam National Museum is a site that showcases the history of Tanzania and is located at the centre of Dar es Salaam's CBD - Tanzania. It is the oldest in the country and has three large buildings. The museum was first established in 1934 by then governor of Tanganyika Harold MacMichael [1] but was not opened to the public until 1940. Since then two more buildings have been added, with the last one being the culture wing in 2011. Find out more about the history of Tanzania from as early as the 6th century or even earlier if you consider the displays about the origin of mankind; However, most of the actual information is on stories and not in the actual pictures. There are no video or audio explanations, thus a lot of reading is required to gain any information, unless of course if you got a guided tour. There also are two libraries near the entrance, one for children and one for adults. Each of these is equipped with tablets from which to browse the library's archives.
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Village Museum
Kijiji cha Makumbusho - No one interested in the local culture should miss out on this museum. Open-air display of traditional habitats and crafts. The Village Museum was established in 1996. This museum was established for the purpose of demonstrating and preservation of traditional cultures of Tanzania. Visiting the village museum is like visiting the whole of Tanzania ethnic groups. The museum displays traditional huts of about 16 different Tanzanian ethnic groups. The idea of a ‘village museum’ seems a curious paradox ­is it a village, or is it a museum? Perhaps it is neither in the conventional sense. It is certainly not a living village, but rather a collection of authentically furnished homesteads representing some of Tanzania’s many different rural cultures. Nor is it a museum in the traditional sense (there is not a glass case to be seen). All 16 houses can be entered, and there are plenty of objects to see and handle. The Kiswahili word ‘makumbusho’, ‘reminders’, is more apt here than the English ‘museum, with its classical muse associations. Herein lies not only the unique charm of the place but also the real importance of the site.
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Museu Nacional de Antropologia
Dedicated to educating people about the history and culture of Angola, the National Museum of Anthropology has a collection of over 6,000 objects and artefacts, ranging from arts, masks, musical instruments, tools, fabrics, jewelry and weaponry. There are also cultural exhibits on traditional religion, female societal rites, and other traditional ceremonies.
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Stone Town
It may not have a particularly romantic name, but Stone Town is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar, little changed in the last 200 years. It is a place of winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques and grand Arab houses whose original owners vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. Stone Town was recently and deservedly declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
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Ghana National Museum
It was officially opened by the Duchess of Kent during the Independence celebration in March, 1957. Located on Barnes Road, close to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, the National Museum is the repository of the country’s historical and cultural treasures, as well as artifacts from other ancient African Empires. The collections range from prehistoric, archaeological discoveries to colonial antiquities and exhibits of contemporary African Art.
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Sudan National Museum
Sudanese Museum is one of the main attractions of Sudan. The National Museum of Sudan is the largest museum in Sudan. Located on El Neel Avenue in Khartoum, the museum contains works from different epochs of Sudanese history.
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Khalifa House Museum
The museum is located near The Mahdi’s tomb in Omdurman. The house was built for the successor of the Mahdi. The museum was established in 1928 and contains antiquities of the Mahdist period.
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Musee Municipal d'Art Contemporai
The museum is an initiative of the city council of Cocody, which was started in November 1993. Featuring a permanent exhibition of modern and contemporary works by Ivorian and other African artistes, the museum’s collection has over 150 paintings, 40 sculptural pieces, 15 ceramics, 11 tapestries and 216 books.
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Musee National
A decent little museum located centrally in the Le Plateau region, with a special focus on Ivorian art. Exhibits include; beautiful human and animal statuettes made of terracotta, jewelry, pottery, indigenous musical instruments, wooden masks and other carvings from all parts of the country.
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Mummification Museum
Luxor Museum of Mummification is without question a real Must-See Luxor attraction that essentially showcases the ancient and fascinating art of mummification. The Luxor Museum of mummification is exactly what it says it is: a museum that is dedicated to the subject of mummification. Visitors arriving in Luxor can find the museum facing the Nile River on Luxor West Bank, just a short distance north of the infamous Luxor Temple. Many visitors to the city would agree that you haven’t really experienced ancient Egypt if you haven’t visited the remarkable and incredibly interesting Luxor museum of mummification. The museum occupies what was previously a modern visitor centre, and many visitors are surprised when they discover just how big the museum actually is. As it stands today, it covers an area of just over 2,000 square meters, and within that area, visitors will find the main artefacts room; a lecture hall, a video room and a cafeteria. The Luxor Museum of mummification has done a spectacular job at showcasing the ancient art of Egyptian mummification, and today visitors can see a large collection of mummification related items on display, along with several mummified animals and even the mummy of Masaherta that is believed to be more than three thousand years old.
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Luxor Museum
The Luxor Museum is nowhere near as big as the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, but it was never meant to be, choosing instead to display quality rather than quantity. The Museum of Luxor is located more or less right in the centre of Luxor, overlooking the Luxor west bank of the Nile River. Visitors who intend to visit the museum in shouldn’t expect to see anything along the lines of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo because the two places are quite literally worlds apart. While the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo is host to the world’s largest collection of Egyptian antiquities, Luxor Museum only has a relatively small collection, but it’s definitely worth visiting. When the museum was originally opened in 1975 there were no plans to house a massive collection of artefacts. Instead, the museum has a sort of “quality before quantity” policy.
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National Museum
One of the top attractions in the Maldives is the National Museum in Malé. Located in the Sultan Park, which was once a part of the site of the 17th century Maldivian Royal Palace compound, the three-story museum was established in the early 1950s with the purpose of preserving the culture and history of the country and instilling patriotism among the people of the Maldives. The museum is home to an extensive collection of historical artifacts that depict the history and rich cultural heritage of the country, ranging from ancient stone objects to fragments of royal antiquities dating back to the Buddhist era and the rule of Islamic monarchs. The National Museum complex is comprised of two large buildings separated by Sultan’s Park in the old palace grounds across from the gold-domed Islamic Centre on Medhu Ziyaarai Magu, also known as Grand Friday Mosque. The National Museum houses a collection of incredible artifacts and relics from the foregone pre-Islamic period era, including ceremonial robes, headgear, thrones, palanquins, royal sunshades and furniture used by Sultans. The museum also exhibits the first printing press used in the country, the rifle used by Mohamed Thakurufaanu in his fight against the Portuguese in the 16th century, and other figures dating from 11th century, excavated from former temples. There is also an impressive display of age-old cannons, broken pieces of Buddhist and Hindu idols, images of political events, stunning lacquer work boxes, and a replica of the pen that was used to sign the ‘Declaration of Independence’ from the British Empire.
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National Handicraft Centre
National Handicraft Centre, opened on 10th of September 2007, aim to promote and sell quality Maldivian produced handicrafts. The centre acts as a purchaser and reseller of local handicraft to give these products a better chance of competing with imported goods.
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Sultan Park & National Museum
Visit The National Museum, located inside Sultan Park, which is on the island of Male. The park is situated where the Royal Palace once stood. The museum is housed in the only remaining building of the Royal Palace. A comprehensive collection of royal artifacts is on display: among the noteworthy pieces are several thrones, ceremonial parasols, sedan chairs and some boxes with intricate lacquer designs. There are many statues and other pieces gathered from around the country: statues of monkeys, Buddha heads, Bohomala sculptures, divine figurines, etc. The museum building also houses the National Library and an exhibition space that is regularly used to display Maldivian art. Sultan Park is also a symbol of Maldivian history. It once played an integral role in the lives of the local people as a popular leisure park. The scenic lawns featured tropical plants, ponds with lilies and large shady trees but are rarely visited by locals today. Two imposing iron gates grant entrance to the park, opposite the Islamic Centre on Medhuziyaaraiy Magu.
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Male National Art Gallery
The National Art Gallery of the Maldives is located in the heart of Malé and is the only exhibition space of its kind in the Maldives. Established by the Government of Maldives in 1999 to showcase regular displays of Maldivian and international artworks to preserve the history and instill patriotism among the people of the Maldives, the small the gallery has regular exhibitions, showcasing a variety of artworks from photography to paintings and conceptual works, by local and regional artists. The National Art Gallery showcases solo exhibitions that represent some of the nation’s fledgling art scene, as well as hosts the biennial contemporary exhibition, which highlights the myriad art forms originating from the area, ranging from arts and crafts, conceptual works, and photography.
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Mulee Aage Palace
Built-in the year 1906 by Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddeen III, the Mulee’aage Palace is the official residence of the President of the Maldives. Located in front of the Old Friday Mosque in the ward of Henveiru in the historic center of Malé, the shimmering white palace still shines in the same old glory of its earliest years. Construction of the Mulee’aage (meaning the ‘new house of Muli’) was commissioned by Sultan Muhammad Shamsuddeen III for his son and heir Prince Hassan Izzuddin and began in 1914. Erected on the site of Mulee’ge, the ancestral home of Shamsuddeen, the building was constructed in a bungalow-style, a trend that was in fashion during the colonial era in Ceylon. The palace was completed in preparation for the return of Prince Hassan Izzuddin to Male’ in 1920 after he finished his studies at the Royal College of Colombo. Medhu Ziyaaryai (literally translated as ‘Central Tomb’) was a part of the original Mulee’aage building, and today, it is separate from the building and an enclave of Mulee’aage. It houses the tomb of Moroccan scholar Abul Barakat Yousef Al-Berberi, who is believed to have introduced Islam to the nation in 1153
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Sand City Hurghada
One and only Open air and Sand Sculptures Museum in Africa and Middle East, Sand City Hurghada, made of 42 sculptures and 17 relief by artist from different countries who left a peace of hart and soul in their work.
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Mada
Mada’en Saleh, also known as Al Hijr, is a series sandstone outcrop of various sizes and heights surrounded by a ring sand mountains. It is a pre-Islamic archaeological site located in the Al-Ula sector, within the Al Madinah Region of Saudi Arabia.
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Pyramid of Djoser
Built as a tomb for the pharaoh Djoser (or Zoser), the Djoser Pyramid was constructed between 2630 BC and 2611 BC in Saqqara, Egypt. Although it is considered the world’s oldest intact large-scale stone monument, the ancient structure is often overshadowed by Egypt’s most famous pyramids. The Djoser Pyramid stands 197 feet high and was built using 11.6 million cubic feet of stone and clay. Imhotep—a doctor, priest, and sculptor, among other titles and talents—is widely attributed as the pyramid’s architect. Initially, the structure was designed as a traditional, flat-roofed tomb called a mastaba, but Djoser wanted something bigger, something grander. The pyramid was part of a larger 40-acre complex containing a courtyard, temples, and chapels, all enclosed inside a 30-foot wall. The entrance to the complex, as well as 13 fake doors, is built into the wall. The complex also includes a number of building facades, all of which served ritual purposes. The pharaoh’s burial chambers are located deep within the pyramid, along with those of his 11 daughters. The burial chamber is part of the pyramid’s winding, maze-like series of tunnels, which researchers think may have been designed to prevent theft (although the pyramid was eventually looted).
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Souq Waqif
A stroll down the bustling alleys of Souq Waqif provides an authentic taste of traditional commerce, architecture and culture. The maze of small shops offer a dazzling array of Middle Eastern merchandise from spices and seasonal delicacies to perfumes, jewellery, clothing, handicrafts and a treasure trove of souvenir bargains.
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The Great Pyramids of Giza
There are three major pyramids in the pyramids necropolis in Giza. If you do not fear small spaces, take the opportunity to step inside the small cavity of the Great Pyramid (for a negotiable tip or fee) to experience the pyramid’s rather daunting descending staircase as well as the king’s and queen’s respective burial chambers. The Great Pyramid of Khufu is believed to have been built over a twenty-year period and completed around the year 2560 B.C. For centuries, the Pyramid held the record as the tallest man-made structure in the world. Besides the many theories and symbolism that it embodies, the Pyramid is one of the most breathtaking monuments of Ancient Egypt; take a trip to gaze at its peak and see for yourself. Although not as magnificently large as the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafra has a more complex interior and a large number of statues dedicated to Khafra, son of Khufu, including the Sphinx. The smallest of the three, the Pyramid of Menkara rarely gets the same attention as its two larger neighbours; as it lacks the size of Khufu and the Sphinx of Khafra. Menkara’s one advantage may be its material: the two predecessors used limestone, whereas Menkara used the more valuable and pricier granite in his burial chambers.
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Museum of Islamic Art
xperience 14 centuries of great art in a few hours. The MIA’s magnificent and imaginatively presented displays of the finest art and artefacts from across the Islamic world have earned it recognition among the world’s top cultural institutions.
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The Mosque of Muhammad Ali
Located on Rhoda Island in Cairo’s Manial district, the Prince Mohammed Ali Palace is unlike any historical site in the capital. Built by the uncle of King Farouk, Prince Mohammed Ali Tewfik, between 1899 and 1929, what makes the palace stand out – even next to anything you’ll find in Old Cairo, which sits a stone’s throw away across a branch of the Nile – is its unique fusion of Ottoman, Persian, art nouveau and late baroque inspirations. Divided into five distinctly conceived and designed buildings which sit in the middle of a stunning Persian garden, the palace was as much a home to Mohammed Ali’s grand collection of art, furniture, clothing and medieval manuscripts as it was for him. Lending itself to a museum blueprint, the palace was handed over to the Supreme Council of Antiquities – a former branch of the Ministry of Culture – in 1955 and quickly became one of the most striking reminders of the Mohammed Ali dynasty. The palace is also home to one of the world’s most lavish collections of Oriental carpets and rugs, while the walls silk embroideries and portraits of royals.
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St.Samaan Church
It’s become something of a cliché – a sad one at that – but we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there’s much more to Egypt than Ancient Egyptian antiquities. Granted, the Zabaleen area of Mokattam receives its fare share of attention for its sheer uniqueness, but one particular feature often goes unnoticed – St. Samaan Church. The church is named after Samaan Al Kharaz (Simon the Ranner), who, according to the tradition, performed a miracle in moving the mountain to help Abraam – Pope of the Egyptian Church – prove his faith to a Jewish grand vizier. The areas of the mountain around the church also feature a number of carvings. These carvings were done by a Polish artist in 1995 and was commissioned by the church’s founder, Samaan Ibrahim. In addition to the church itself – which can seat up to 1000 people – the monastery also include a library, children’s playground and a cafeteria.
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City of the Dead
Even Cairo, a bustling capital city of 21 million or so people, has its secrets and obscurities, not least the City of the Dead. Located below Mokattam Hills in the south east of the city, the area is essentially a necropolis; but over the centuries it has evolved into a living, breathing organism of its own that has managed to reach a certain degree of self-sufficiency. Though considered a slum – and it’d be hard to argue that – it also stands as one monument to Cairo’s colourful history. Running along the city from north to south, the strip is around 6.4km long. The City of the Dead dates back to the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 642 AD, when Amr Ibn Al ‘as established a family graveyard at the foot of Mokattam. Many of the residents are said to have moved there to be close to deceased relatives. It has been something of a touristic site for centuries, with the likes of Moroccan scholar, Ibn Batuta –widely considered to be one of the greatest travelers in history – having visited and written about it.
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The Egyptian Museum
It may not be the oldest museum exhibiting Egyptian antiquities, but the Egyptian Museum holds the most: over 150,000 pieces are on display, with an incredible 30,000 more stocked away. After an initial ID check at the Egyptian Museum’s entrance just off of Tahrir Square, there is a bag check at the main gates. Once you have acquired your ticket, there is yet another queue for ticket checks, before you enter through the museum doors, upon which you are subjected to another electronic sensor. Despite the museum’s website claims, you are not allowed to bring a camera in under any circumstances. Upon entering the museum, you will feel like a rogue archaeologist that has stumbled on a tomb of treasures. You are immediately confronted by three routes. Taking a left will start you off on the chronological route through Egyptian history. Once you’ve figured out the slightly confusing numbering, room fourteen is a secret little pleasure and a must-see. Guarded by statues on either side of its entrance, the room is built like a temple. Steles are used to cover the walls, as a huge, inscribed pillar seems to hold up the ceiling of the museum itself.
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Khan El Khalili
There’s absolutely nothing in Cairo like exploring the enormous shopping labyrinth of Khan El Khalili, the city’s largest souk that has preserved much of its original structure since its days as a famous medieval bazaar. Tourists and Egyptians alike arrive at this densely populated maze of streets and alleyways to find all sorts of gifts, including Egyptian antiques, fine handmade crafts, shishas and spices.
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Qasr Al Watan
Qasr Al Watan, the new cultural landmark in Abu Dhabi, opens its doors to the public in an invitation to discover the legacy of knowledge and tradition that have shaped the journey of the nation, boosting cultural understanding of the United Arab Emirates. More than a traditional palace, Qasr Al Watan is an exquisitely crafted tribute to the Arabian heritage and artistry, and its architecture and design echo the significance of the exhibits housed within its halls and the function of its most iconic rooms. Qasr Al Watan invites visitors to learn about the country’s governing traditions and values, and explore a well-preserved legacy of knowledge, thus boosting cultural understanding of the UAE.
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