Have the winter doldrums hit yet? We have the remedy! Let’s take a break from holiday preparations and focus on YOU. Have you thought about your 2020 New Year’s resolution?
Overwhelmingly, people choose an actual experience for their goal. One of the most popular? Travel! A vacation is a great way to check off several healthier changes of habit. Exercise, stress reduction, education and socializing are part of every trip!
Speaking of stress reduction – We did the research on the top travel destinations in 2020. Each of our cities was chosen for not only its interesting location but also its outstanding mosaic art. We guarantee that you’re about to start planning your holiday by the bottom of this page!
1. Barcelona, Spain
This seaside city is filled with culture, fabulous cuisine offerings, and iconic architecture. It has a history of inspiring artists such as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro (both of whom have museums dedicated to their work).
La Sagrada Familia is still unfinished, believe it or not. Even so, it’s an incredible multi-sensory experience, meant to uplift visitors and embrace light and nature. The spires, crowned with mosaic patterns, reach above the city. The cathedral welcomes more than 4.5 million annual visitors. After 130 years of work, it’s scheduled for completion in 2026.
Park Güell – Gaudi’s own home for 20 years, is a surrealistic, gorgeous open-air destination. It’s guarded by a popular mosaic dragon at the entrance. If you fall in love with the congenial reptile, known locally as “El Drac”, one may purchase a replica to take home – he’s that popular.
The park covers a hillside and provides incredible views of the Barcelona skyline. Relax on the mosaic-tiled benches, enjoy the subtle details of landscape architecture, and plan the rest of your day.
New York City
The city that never sleeps needs little introduction. However, the sheer number of mosaic art gems dotting the metropolis makes it a special destination.
Some of these outstanding mosaic pieces are easy to visit as you travel around the city. The NYC Subway system has installations at stations everywhere. These aren’t just any old decorations – they’re pieces of mosaic wall art, created by highly acclaimed modern artists. One could plan a whole trip around just these locations. (Visit nyc.subway.org for a comprehensive list.)
New York City also offers visitors a chance to learn about Hildreth Meière, an artist who worked with the architects of structures such as the Saint Louis Cathedral and The Temple Emanu-El. As a woman artist, Meière battled conventional prejudice but produced soaring glass mosaic wall art that still awes.
The scale of Meière’s work is at home in a city where everything is bigger, taller, and brighter. She normally worked at an enormous 17 x 24-foot easel to create her studies for these installations.
Today, her Art-Deco influenced pieces are revered. Any trip to the city should include St. Bartholomew’s Church, the Temple Emanu-El with its 8-story tall main arch, and a quick peek at the Red Banking Room at One Wall Street. (The latter is not completely open to the public as the building is renovated.)
Across the Atlantic, London is another perfect destination for history, cosmopolitan delights, and mosaic art. We’ve found some mosaic art pieces with both old and new creation dates for you to enjoy during your visit.
The Cosmati Pavement may not have the name recognition of some other masterpieces, but it should be a part of any holiday in London. Located at Westminster Abbey, this is an extraordinary example of mosaic pattern. Incredibly, it was laid down at the High Altar in 1268, at the request of Henry III.
The 24-foot square pavement combines abstract designs in stone and glass mosaic, all laid on a bed of dark limestone marble. It’s complex! You’ll spend a long time puzzling over the intricate geometrical patterns. They combine gemstones, numerology, religious symbols, and mysticism – along with some cryptic inscriptions about the end of the world.
For a more modern type of mosaic art, look for the installations at the Shepherdess Walk Park in Hackney. Artist Tessa Hunkin oversaw the creation of these joyful pieces of community art.
This is a lovely destination, and the variety of art is delightful for all ages. Over time, themes have explored local history, wildlife, and even circus acrobats and their dogs.
For a bold take on self-expression, don’t miss the flamboyant exuberance of artist Carrie Reichardt’s home in Chiswick. It’s been a work in progress since the 1990s. Located in an otherwise conventional residential area in West London, it’s free to visit at any time.
It’s a spot to spend some time investigating. The mosaic designs are intricate and include several references to current events and pop culture. Alice in Wonderland and the Simpsons peek out, as well as more serious tributes to American prisoners who passed away on Death Row. (The owner campaigns against the death penalty through his art.)
Located in central Jordan, Madaba is a friendly destination for tourists, and a great central base for exploring other attractions in the area, such as the Dead Sea and the King’s Highway.
But, let’s talk about its mosaic art, which is what the city is really famous for. First on the list: The Madaba Map. In an otherwise normal Greek Orthodox church, one can visit the world’s oldest map of the Holy Land.
When the church builders began construction in 1884, they discovered the site was atop the ruins of an ancient Byzantine church. Miraculously, the mosaic floor had survived in the rubble since the year 560. Although not all the individual tiles remain, it’s stunning.
Also in Madaba: incredible mosaic art resources. The Jordanian government set up the Institute for Mosaic Art and Restoration in 1992 to train artists in restoration and production techniques. You can see some of the results in the Archaeological Park and other locations. They also offer workshop visits.
The Church of the Apostles, Virgin Mary Church, and Hippolytus Hall are additional locations with extraordinary examples of Byzantine art.
Oh, the places you’ll go!
So, make your 2020 New Year’s resolution, and start contemplating just where you’ll go! Travel feeds the soul, and art is a part of life that should be nurtured.
Mosaic art is everywhere – it’s liable to pop up when you’re least expecting it. We think it’s a wonderful way to encourage exploration on any vacation.
Feel free to explore our previous blogs on mosaic art around the world for more ideas. From Morocco to Nebraska to St. Petersburg mosaics, we’ve found must-see examples. So, what will you choose? Which of our global destinations is the most intriguing? Let us know in the comments!