The Boston Quiz: Here or Europe?

Now for something completely different. I thought it would be fun to create a quiz that tests how well you know Boston. Are you an expert, a resident, or a tourist? This quiz does not include ordinary, everyday things like Dunkin, Fenway Park, Swan Boats, lobstah rolls, or Gawd help us, baked beans. Nope, it’s tougher than that.

In fact, everything in this quiz is kind of obscure. To make things more interesting, I cropped some of the photos to eliminate clues. Sometimes I blanked out a sign that would give you a hint. This does not mean the photo is located in one place or another. Nope. A hint is a hint.

Are You Observant?

Quiz, Boston Quiz, Online QuizHow well you do on the quiz depends on how observant you are as you move around the city. Do you look up, down and all around you or do you pay more attention to your phone? If the latter, this quiz will be wicked hahd.

No Longer Puritan Plain

In my blog posts, I sometimes mention how little ornamentation Boston has than, say, any city in Europe. But that doesn’t mean the Hub remains either Puritan plain or modern mundane.

We do have statues, fountains, decorations, gardens, and ornamentation. Some of it was created as public art while other ornaments gave visual interest to private buildings. Today’s post compares two locations—one in a European city and one in Boston.

You choose which one is which and mark your choice on the grid below. Cheating by using Google is not allowed. You either know these places or you don’t. Besides, Cotton Mather is watching. There is no pattern on which side the Boston photo appears, so don’t even try to game the quiz.

How to Score the Boston Quiz

The questions appear below with photos. The quiz itself appears below that. Just click on either A or B and find out if you got it right. You get one point for choosing the right location: either Boston or Europe. There are 10 sets of pictures. Therefore, the maximum score you can get is 1 points for each category if you get everything right. That gives you a maximum total of 10 points for the whole quiz. Add up your total and learn your status.

  • 8 – 10 points: Expert: Congratulations, you know Boston very well.
  • 4 – 8 points: Resident: Good job! You must live in Boston. But, really, pay more attention to the city around you.
  • 1 – 3 points: Tourist: You need to spend more time in Boston. Put away your phone and look around. Don’t forget to look up.

To find out the correct cities or places, just keep reading. Eventually, I will get good enough at this Formidable Forms software to make all of this simpler — for all of us. It’s a work in progress for me. But if you enjoy the quiz and would like to see another one, please add a comment.


It seems appropriate to start things off by opening doors. Here are two doors of approximately the same size. Both are beautifully designed with elaborate decoration. I took both of them and one has better quality than the other. This means nothing, except that one day was brighter than the other. Boston, Quiz, Doors2. FOUNTAINS

Both of these fountains feature children and birds. You can find only one in Boston, though. I took both pictures in summer when those kids would, at least, be warm.

Fountains, Boston Quiz3. RHINOCEROSES

We don’t often associate Boston—or any European city—with African wildlife. Yet, here they are. In fact, the Boston rhino can be found in two locations, one of which is just outside the city. Rhinoceroses, Boston Quiz


The Jewish communities of big cities often worship in beautiful, historical synagogues. These rose windows, each of which features a star of David in the design, look out onto different cities. But which ones?

Boston Quiz, Synagogue, Rose window, Star of David5. CHANDELIERS

To see these, you have to look up. (I warned you!) A lot of people have trouble with that. But if you can’t look up, you are likely to miss some amazing things. These two chandeliers couldn’t be more different. They were made in different centuries and reside in different cities, but each is distinctive in its own way.

Chandeliers, Boston Quiz, Louis Comfort Tiffany


Boston has a lot of sports teams but none of them are called the Dragons. Still, you can find a dragon or two lurking about the city. Here are two winged dragons, one free-standing and the other a bas-relief. Neither has a golden hoard. Which one can you find breathing fire here in the Hub?

Dragons, Boston Quiz


Barrel-vaulted ceilings are not unusual, although they can come in different sizes. These are particularly interesting for their contrast. One is heavily ornamented and the other is more commercial. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
Barrel-vaulted ceilings, Boston Quiz


Beautiful churches often have gorgeous stained-glass windows. Some form a pattern while others tell a story. European windows featured Bible scenes to illustrate stories for those who could not read. That trend continued here in Boston. These windows are eloquent — and colorful.

Stained-glass windows, churches, Bible stories


What’s a city’s high-end shopping district without a Chanel store? They are ubiquitous in major cities around the world. Boston is a major city, so we have one, too. But which store is it?

Chanel, Boston, Paris10. ALLEYS

Narrow alleys remind us of when cities were older and more crowded with narrow thoroughfares. But not all alleys are old and sometimes they’re not crowded, either. Have you walked through one of these alleys?

Alleys, Boston Quiz, Lucerne, North End. Charter Street ParkTHE END

That’s it: all 10 questions. Now take the quiz:

Boston Photo Quiz #1

Boston Photo Quiz #1



How did you do?  If you’re curious about specific locations in either Boston or Europe, here are the details:

A: Nuremberg, Germany — city offices
B: The Christian Science Center

A: Salzburg, Austria
B: The Public Garden

A: School of the Museum of Fine Arts
B. Paris — The Musee D’Orsay

A:  Budapest, Austria — The Great Synagogue on Dohany Street
B: Vilna Shul on Beacon Hill

A: Church of the Covenant in the Back Bay
B: Budapest, Hungary — St. Mathias Church

A: Budapest, Hungary — The Fisherman’s Bastion
B: International Trust Company Building

A; John Adams Courthouse on Pemberton Square
B: Paris, France — Musee D’Orsay

A: Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End
B: Bordeaux, France — Church of St. Louis de France

A: 6 Newbury Street
B: Paris, France — 31 Rue Cambon

A: Lucerne, Switzerland
B: Charter Street to Commercial Street

I hope you had as much fun taking the first Boston quiz as I had putting it together and I look forward to seeing the results. I will summarize them at the end of February in my monthly roundup of the posts.