A Cultural Visit to Chicago´s North Shore
By Heiko Obermoeller
There are many truly great places in and around exciting Chicago, and the North Shore area, just north of Chicago on the shore of Lake Michigan, is chock full of fascinating cultural landmarks. It should be a must-see on your next visit to Illinois.
Illinois Holocaust Museum
As I arrive at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in the evening, the outside of the building reflects one of the museum’s themes: a journey from darkness to light. The side of the building where you enter is painted in dark colors and is barely lit, whereas on the other side where you exit, the building is painted brightly and well illuminated. It’s a beautiful architectural theme designed by renowned architect Stanley Tigerman that is carried through to the exhibitions inside.
Among the many touching exhibits of pictures, paintings and videos that acknowledge the dark times of the Holocaust, you’ll also find dignified places where you can stop and reflect upon what you have seen, including the Hall of Reflections, nicely lit and full of atmosphere, and the Room of Remembrance. The colorful and interactive exhibit for children vividly displays the problem of bullying in society and shows a hopeful way forward. The museum was founded by Holocaust survivors who dedicated themselves to both honoring those who were lost and educating the public about combating hatred and prejudice.
The Impressive Baha´i House of Worship
The next morning, I was up early to drive along the scenic shore of Lake Michigan to another fascinating cultural site on Chicago´s North Shore: the Baha´i House of Worship in Wilmette. From afar, you can see the temple with its 138-foot-high dome covered in lace-like ornamentation. This house of prayer for the Baha‘i faith is the only one in the U.S. (there are only eight in the world) and the oldest in the world. It’s a place that symbolizes “Unity,” accepting all people from all places regardless of their beliefs.
Impressed by the beauty of the architecture, I stroll through the surrounding gardens and past elegant fountains. After that, I visit the visitors’ center inside the temple and peek into the big auditorium, which is also beautifully covered in delicate designs and can accommodate more than 1,000 people.
Chicago´s North Shore has piqued my interest with these great cultural sites. I´m already looking forward to my next visit!