Berlin’s Museums

Berlin’s museums are one of the city’s main cultural attractions .Many are located on Museum Island, a piece of land previously part of East Berlin . Since re unification, many have been  redesigned or renovated.

If you are interested in antiquities a visit to  three Berlin museums provides the art lover the opportunity to view some of the planet’s the best collections of art and sculpture from the classical and ancient world.

In the 19th century German archaeologists spread out across the Middle and Near East  after archaeologist ,Heinrich Schliemann, made headlines following his excavation of the ancient Mycenean site in the Greek Peleponnese and the ancient site of Troy in western Turkey.

German explorer archaeologists then traveled to Pergamon, Miletus, Babylon, Uruk, Assur and Egypt. The Ottoman Empire granted generous conditions for the sharing of excavated discoveries, and important architectural monuments, sculptures and small treasures were exported to Berlin.

The Neus Museum, redesigned by British architect , David Chipperfield, and the Pergamum museum next door still hold many of these treasures.

A highlight at the Pergamon Museum is the Gate of Iscar, excavated in Iraq. It dates from the the 6th century BC Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadrezzar II. Known as Nebuchadnezzar the Great, he is typically regarded as the empire’s greatest king.

Another highlight is the giant Roman  market gate of Miletus , dating from the early 2nd century AD ,excavated from Turkey and wholly reconstructed here.

At the Neus next door, the prized possession is one of ancient Egypt’s most recognisable pieces.

With its almond-shaped eyes and its vivid colors, a 3,500-year-old limestone bust of Queen Nefertiti is considered one of the most important artifacts to come out of ancient Egypt.

The sculpture was removed from Egypt in 1913 after being found during a German archeological dig.

Nefertiti reigned during what was arguably the wealthiest period of ancient Egypt. Some scholars believe just before the ascension of Tutankhamun,

For over a century and particularly in  the past decade, Egypt has ramped up its efforts to have  the Berlin Museums return the bust and other treasures ,claiming they entered Germany illegally

Nearby on Museum Islsnd the  Altes Museum is housed in a classic building constructed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. He was Germany’s  finest architect of the 19th century and Museum is one Germany’s most iconic buildings of the Neoclassical era.

Completed in 1830, the monumental pillars, expansive atrium and rotunda lined with antique sculptures resemble the Pantheon in Rome.

The building is a UNESCO world heritage site and houses a huge variety of Greek  and Roman  sculpture- the finest in the country.

Other museums worth visiting in Berlin includes  the moving Jewish Historical Museum , the German History Museum and  the Stasi Museum , which documents the insidious spy and espionage activities of the old East German secret police. The Topgraphie of Terrors documents the sinister activities of the Gestspo and SS before and during the Second World War.