In 1999 Museum Island was augmented to UNESCO’s world heritage. However, the museums date as far back as 1830, when the Altes Museum first opened its doors. The Altes Museum was funded by Prussian leader Friedrich Wilhelm II and was designed in a neoclassical style by Prussia’s leading nineteenth-century architect, Karl Friedrich Schinkel.
The Island is made up of 5 world famous museums which were completed by the 1930s. Even though the museums were badly damaged during the Second World War, in 1999 the Board of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation came up with what they called a ‘master plan’ to restore all five museums.
The five museums include the Pergamonmuseum, Bode-Museum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie and Altes Museum. The museums are all located on a tiny island in the middle of Mitte and can be accessed by the many bridges stretching across the island from one area of Mitte to the next.
Alfred Messel was the architect behind Berlin’s most visited museum, the Pergamonmuseum. The steps leading up to the Pergamonmuseum are raised above the water to access the impressive museum in its great height and width. From across the water, you can enjoy the columns dividing each of the long set windows.
Inside the museum, you can explore the 52-foot-wide Pergamon Altar, the 95-foot-high Market Gate of Miletus, and 575 BC Babylonian Ishtar gate. Their collection includes artwork from the ancient Middle East, including countries like Egypt and Iran.
Located at the very tip of Museum Island is the neo-baroque building known as Bode-Museum, which can be accessed by the beautiful stone-bridge, Monbijoubrücke. Many photographs are taken from Monbijou Park with the dome of Bode-Museum furnishing their photograph. Inside the museum, you can visit the Sculpture Gallery, five courtyards and their impeccable Byzantine Art collection.
The formation of Museum Island began here with, arguably, one of Berlin’s most astounding buildings, the Altes Museum. While the museums on Museum Island showcase Neoclassical architecture at its finest, the Altes Museum is beyond impressive in style, and most certainly iconic in stature and grandeur. You can take a break on the lavish lawn spread out before the fantastic pillars and rotunda bedecked with unforgettable antique sculptures.
Just imagine, the building was originally erected to house the collection of the Prussian Royal family, which was then declared a sanctuary for art and science upon its completion. As soon as you’re finished absorbing the impressive architecture and design of the building you can tour through the museum’s collection of ancient artifacts from the Greek, Roman and Etruscan eras.
This neoclassical building was built by classicist architect Friedrich August Stuler in the 19th century and showcases artifacts found all around Europe and the Middle East that go all the way back from the early Stone Age to the Middle Ages.
The Alte Nationalgalerie, a neoclassical design, stands apart from the others, or better yet, above, like a holy ancient temple. This fantastic building is hard to miss and even harder not to admire from the outside in.
Before you enter the museum itself you can soak your feet in the mosaic-floored fountain while admiring the temple-like building from below. The impressive sculptures adorning the steps leading up to the building only add to this impressive site. Once inside, you can explore the great works from the Romantic Goethe period and Impressionist movement.
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