The desire to collect beautiful things of personal or historic relevance goes far and deep in humankind's past. And museums worldwide have made it their mission not only to display these objects, but to safeguard and preserve them for generations of the future to treasure. Today, these museums have become top destinations themselves, where many travellers can easily spend hours getting lost in great works of art and admiring pieces of lost history.
1. Musee du Louvre in Paris, FranceOne of the most popular museums in the world, as well as the most visited, The Louvre was opened in 1793. It was part of the Louvre Palace, a fortified abode for the kings of France. Presently, it is home to a collection of objects from medieval Europe, ancient Egypt, and classical Rome and Greece. However, the museum's most famous exhibit is the Venus de Milo and Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.
2. Musee d'Orsay in Paris, FranceThis former train station built in the 1900s is now the base for some 2,300 19th and 20th century paintings, as well as 1,500 sculptures and a thousand other objects. Here, under the museum's dramatic glass roof, you can enjoy Van Gogh's famous "Starry Night" and other works from masters of Impressionism Manet, Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Cezanne.
3. Tate Modern in London, EnglandEnjoy the eclectic collection of modern art inside a former power station on the banks of the River Thames. Here, you'll find galleries devoted to Expressionism, Abstraction, Cubism, Pop Art, Minimalism, and Futurism as well as masterpieces from Kapoor, Monet, Matisse, Rodin, Picasso, and Rodin.
4. Uffizi Gallery in Florence, ItalyThis museum is one of the oldest in the world. It features a superb collection of Renaissance sculptures and paintings from the masters Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Rembrandt. It's most famous piece is Botticelli's Birth of Venus.
5. Museo Nacional de Antropologia in MexicoFor those who love archaeology, this museum is nothing short of heaven. Its collection of pre-Columbian artefacts, such as the Sacred Cenote from Chichen Itza and the giant stone heads from the Olmec, is a must see. Don't miss out on the Stone of the Sun, the museum's most popular item.
6. Egyptian Museum in Cairo, EgyptThis museum in Cairo is home to more than 120,000 items of ancient artefacts from Egypt's rich history. Aside from a prolific collection of coins and papyrus texts, the museum is also the resting place of the Tomb of Tutankhamen.
7. Vatican Museum in Vatican City, RomeCovering nearly 9 miles of expansive space, the Vatican Museum features a collection of artefacts considered as one of the most magnificent in the world. It is estimated that every year more than 4 million visitors come here to view the works of da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Bernini.
8. The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, RussiaFounded by Catherine the Great in 1764, this museum houses over 3 million works from all around the globe. Inside its beautiful and imposing facade lie the masterpieces of Reubens, da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo.
9. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, USAThe Met, located at the eastern end of Central Park, is a massive art museum inside an impressive gothic building. It holds more than 2 million works of art from Greek sculptures to European paintings inside 2 floors and more than a hundred rooms.
10. The Prado Museum in Madrid, SpainLocated in Madrid, The Prado Museum exhibits some of the best ensemble of European art from around the 12th century up to the early 19th century. Its most famous displays include the Majas of Goya and the Las Meninas of Velazquez.
11. The National Palace Museum in Taipei, TaiwanThis museum has the largest accumulation of ancient Chinese objects and arts in the world. Most of the artefacts are high quality pieces from China's emperors from the Neolithic age to the Qing Dynasty.
12. Tokyo National Museum in Tokyo, JapanThe Tokyo National Museum is Japan's largest and oldest museum. It was established in 1872 and houses a collection of ancient Japanese and Asian arts, as well as Greco-Buddhist art.