Museum Island - Museum Island information and pictures

Museum Island or Museumsinsel is a treasure trove of sculpture and art spread across four museums, together with the rebuilt New Museum. The island is found in the Spree River in the Mitte district of Berlin, with museums occupying its northern part.

Museumsinsel was created as a result of an 18th century fashion among the European royalties to open their collections to the public. The British Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris, the Glyptothek in Munich, and the Prado in Madrid all date back to this period. Friedrich Wilhelm III and his successors did not want to be outdone and created one of the world’s great museums. In 1999, the museums in Museumsinsel became part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. Among the reasons for this distinction to be achieved was an ambitious master plan to unite four of the museums into one complex covering six thousand years of human culture, art, and history.

The Altes Museum or Old Museum was built in 1830 on the orders of the Prussian city planner and architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Designed in a neoclassical style, the museum features the art collection of the Prussian royal family. The second floor of the museum showcases special exhibitions. Completed in 1859 by Friedrich August Stüler, the Neues Museum is situated to the north of the Old Museum. The neoclassical building features collections of prehistoric and early historic art, ancient Egyptian artifacts, plaster casts, engravings, and etchings. The Old National Gallery (Alte Narionalgalerie) in built in neoclassic and early neo-renaissance style and houses a collection of Romantic, Impressionist, Classical, Biedermeier, and early Modernist art. Featured artists are Caspar David Friedrich, Karl Blechen, Claude Monet, Max Liebermann, Adolf von Menzel, and Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Some of the most important exhibitions are Johann Gottfried Schadow’s Prinzessinnengrupp, Menzel’s Eisenwalzwerk, and Friedrich's Mönch am Meer. Designed by Ernst von Ihne, the Bode Museum features a collection of medals, coins, sculptures from Byzantium, Ravenna, and the Christian Orient, together with Byzantine art. The final museum in the complex, the Pergamon Museum, is designed by Ludwig Hoffman and Alfred Messel and subdivided into a Museum of Islamic Art, Middle East Museum, and antiquity collection. Visited by about 850 thousand tourists a year, the Pergamon Museum showcases colossal monuments such as the Mshatta façade, the Ishtar Gate, Market Gate of Miletus and the Pergamon Altar.

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