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Museum Island in Berlin Offers Something for Everyone

December 5, 2011 - 2:24am
Museum Island in Berlin Offers Something for Everyone
Berlin's Museum Island (Museumsinsel) not only contains thousands of artifacts, but the site itself is a marvel as well. Five different museums - The Pergamon, Bode, Altes (Old), Neues (New) and Old National Gallery - were built on the northern end of a small island on Berlin's Spree River. The project began in 1830, with the completion of the Altes, and the fifth museum was finished in 1930.

The Altes Museum was the first to be built, and is Germany's oldest museum. Next came the Neues Museum, which contains a display of ancient Egyptian artifacts and other prehistoric collections. The Old National Gallery was the third to be constructed, and this museum is dedicated to showcasing 19th century paintings. Visitors can see the work of famous artists, including Monet, Manet and Renoir, at the Old National Gallery. Fourth on the list is the Bode Museum, which is home to a number of Baroque art collections and the Museum of Byzantine Art.

Perhaps the best-known gallery on Museum Island is the Pergamon. This building was erected in 1930 to serve as additional storage and display space for the artifacts of Priam's treasure that were uncovered in Pergamon and Asia Minor, including the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate. Priam was the king of Troy during the infamous Trojan War in ancient times. The museum that houses artifacts from these ancient times also hosts more than 1 million visitors every year, who come from all over the world to see pieces of history that go hand in hand with Homer's Iliad.


The museums were largely destroyed during World War II, but years of restoration projects have finally allowed all five buildings to open their doors to the public once again. The restoration of the Neues Museum was the last to be completed, and it reopened to the public in 2009.

When tourists come to Berlin, the Museum Island makes a worthwhile destination because it offers something for history buffs and art fans alike. There are works of art from the 18th and 19th centuries and artifacts that date all the way back to the Byzantine Empire and ancient Egypt. These museums have been around for more than 80 years, and give visitors a chance to glimpse artifacts from one of the most famous eras in history.