Berlin’s Museumsinsel (Museum Island) is a unique area in the central Mitte district, that is home to five of Germany's top museums, each dedicated to a completely different subject matter but all equally brilliant. The small island on which all the museums are based, was built on the Spree River between 1824 and 1930, and was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Museum Islands provides the perfect setting for a day of cultural cramming and is a must do when in the historical melting pot of Berlin. A day ticket to the area is your best bet, as this allows you full access to all the museums and is the most cost-effective option if you're keen to do it all. The Neues Museum and Pergamon are widely regarded as the most important of the group, but we thought we'd give you a snapshot of each of them to help you make your own mind up.
The Altes Museum
The oldest museum of them all, the Altes Museum was built between 1823 and 1830 and was designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. It is one of the most important works of Neoclassical architecture and is home to the Collection of Classical Antiquities, or in layman's terms, artefacts from the ancient Greek and Roman worlds.
The Neues Museum
The Neues Museum, commonly known as the ‘New Museum’, was finished in 1859 but destroyed in World War II, leading to its reconstruction and re-opening in 2009. This museum is home to the Egyptian bust of Nefertiti and the spectacular, and also boasts both material culture and written sources tracing the development of Old World cultures from prehistory and early history, from the Near East to the Atlantic, and North Africa. It sounds like quite a mouthful but this museum is really interesting and if nothing else, guarantees you the chance to see some mummies - everyone loves a mummy.
The Alte Nationalgalerie
The Alte Nataionalgalerie, or Old National Galerie, boasts a large collection of Neoclassical, Romantic, Biedermeier, Impressionist and early Modernist artwork and is part of the Berlin National Gallery. The gallery houses works by the famous Claude Monet, Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Adolph von Menzel, so it's definitely worth checking out if you're an art enthusiast!
The Bode Museum
Located on the islands northern tip, The Bode Museum is home to a huge collection of sculptures (of the Middle Ages, the Italian Gothic and the early Renaissance), ceramics and glass, Byzantine art, coins and medals.
The Pergamon Museum
The Pergamon Museum is one of the world’s major archaeological museums and is home to incredible structures including a partial recreation of the Pergamon Altar (170-159 BC), and the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, dating from the reign of King Nebuchahnezzar (605 - 563 BC). The museum also showcases a large collection of Islamic Art and the largest Numismatic Collection of its kind (coins, coins and more coins).
Aside from the collections in which the museums house, the architecture of the buildings each have their own historical significance and are so also worth learning about upon a visit. Take a picnic lunch along with you, admire the striking architecture and learn about art, history and culture, all in the one place. To find out more about Berlin's amazing museums visit; www.smb.museum/smb/home/index.php