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Patrick Bureau

The Museum Island   
The Museum Island in Berlin (Museuminsel) is a complete work of art, an outstanding ensemble of five world-renowned museums, exhibiting the most famous examples of ancient Egyptian and Byzantine culture.

Located in the heart of the city, the five museums, built between 1824 and 1930 by renowned Prussian architects, form a unique complex. It is a remarkable example of urban and architectural achievement with rare consistency. In 1999, the Museum Island complex was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

According to UNESCO, "The Berlin Museumsinsel is one of the largest and most impressive complexes in the world. The architectural and urban values of the Museumsinsel are inseparable from the important collections housed in the five museums as evidence of the evolution of civilization. It is a very direct link, since the architectural spaces of each museum have been conceived in organic relation with the exhibited collections, whether they are an integral part of the interior architecture or they are presented and interpreted."

 Photo: The Bode Museum

The Neues Museum (New Museum)

Designed by the architect Friedrich August Stüler, the building itself caused a sensation when it was created. Begun in 1841, the construction used not only prefabricated cast iron and wrought iron structural elements, but steam was the main source of energy on the site. During the Second World War, the museum was severely damaged and remained in ruins until 1999. The reconstruction and renovation of the museum lasted ten years. Since its spectacular reopening in 2009, it has exhibited a selection of exceptional pieces from the Museum of Egypt, the papyrus collection, the Museum of Prehistory and Primitive History and the Collection of Classical Antiquities.

A few must-sees: the remains of Troy, a Neanderthal skeleton, the golden cone of Berlin, and do not forget the famous bust of the ancient Queen of Egypt, Nefertiti, which is the centerpiece of the New Museum. It is impossible to resist her smile! Which James Simon had obviously not been able to do. He was a Berlin Jewish citizen and passionate art collector, who, after acquiring it,¬¬¬ donated it to the museum. James Simon was also the most important patron of the Museum Island with donations of important collections.

The Bode Museum

Designed in the Neo-Baroque style by Ernst von Ihne and erected between 1897 and 1903, the museum has undergone a general renovation, which was completed in 2005. Today, in all of its new splendor, like a lookout in the north of the island, it hosts the Numismatic Collection, which contains some of the oldest pieces in the world and a collection of sculptures including works by Donatello, Bernini and Canova.

The Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery)

This impressively overlooks Museum Island. Unsurprisingly, the architect Friedrich August Stüler was inspired by the Acropolis in Athens for his design. The building stands on a high podium that is reached by a double staircase. After about ten years of work, the gallery was opened in 1876 and presents not only paintings and sculptures from the neoclassical era, up to the Romanticism and the Biedermeier period (1815-1848), but also the Impressionists and the beginnings of modern art. The collection includes works by such renowned artists as Caspar David Friedrich, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Auguste Renoir, Max Liebermann, Karl Blechen and Karl Friedrich Schinkel.

The Altes Museum (Old Museum)

Designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the Altes Museum was opened in 1830. At that time, the impressive neo-classical facade structured by 18 ionic columns, its vast foyer and its rotunda were quite exceptional for a public building. Today, after its renovation, the museum hosts a permanent exhibition presenting the art and sculpture of classical antiquity, from ancient Greece to the Roman Empire, including busts of Caesar and Cleopatra. The collection of Etruscan art, the largest outside Italy, is particularly interesting.
It’s also essential to admire the Lustgarten, a charming garden stretching out in front of the museum and originally used for growing vegetables and medicinal plants. Restored in 1998-1999 according to the original drawings of the landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenné, it gives the impression of having transcended time.

The Pergamonmuseum (Pergamon Museum)

This is the most visited museum in Berlin. Designed by the architect Alfred Messel at the beginning of the 1900s, it houses an exceptional collection of monumental architectural treasures including the great altar of Pergamum dedicated to Zeus (which is unfortunately inaccessible until 2023 due to renovations), the Ishtar Gate with the Processional Way of Babylon and the Roman Miletus Market Gate.

The Pergamon Museum is gradually being restored as part of a major Berlin-led renovation project, the "Masterplan Museumsinsel", which plans to link the museums together so that visitors can walk through all of the archaeological collections.

Christiane Théberge



The Neues Museum

The Alte Nationalgalerie

The Altes Museum 

The Permamonmuseum   












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