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Museum Island, Berlin : a vault of cultural treasures

If you want to view the progression of European art from ancient times up to the modern age, you won’t regret visiting the Museum Island in Berlin.

"Museum Island" is the name of a group of museums originally built during the reign of Germany's Prussian monarchs. It's located on the northern part of the Spreeinsel, a small island in the Spree River, which is right in the heart of Berlin. It's revered for being the largest repository of European Art and artefacts in any one place in the region.

One of the museums here is the Old Museum (Altes Museum), built in 1830 in the Neoclassical style. It houses the antique collection of the Berlin State Museums. Another place to go to is the New Museum (Neues Museum) which was built in 1859. Partially damaged during WWII, it's currently being reconstructed. It will exhibit Egyptian, Pre-History, and Early History Collections.

Another majestic building is the Old National Gallery, built in 1876 and also heavily damaged during WWII. It has since been rebuilt to look like a Roman temple. Among its collections are masterpieces of Classicism and Romanticism, Impressionist paintings by Edouard Manet and Claude Monet, and some early modern works by Menzel, Liebermann, and Corinth. Among the important artefacts exhibited is sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow’s double statue of princesses Louise and Friederike of Prussia.

Another cultural bastion is Bode Museum, which was erected in 1904. It exhibits sculptures, particularly those done in the following styles: Christian Orient, Coptic Egypt, and Byzantine; others are from the Medieval, Italian Gothic, and early Renaissance periods. Also included are German Gothic works, the South German Renaissance, and Prussian Baroque art.

The last museum built is the Pergamon Museum, which contains huge, multiple, reconstructed replicas of historic artefacts, such as Pergamon Altar (a 113 m long sculptural frieze depicting the struggle of the gods and giants), and the Ishtar Gate of Babylon. Also within are sculptures from archaic to Hellenistic periods, including inscriptions, mosaics, bronzes, jewellery, and pottery from Greek and Roman Antiquity.

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