Museum Island


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Berlin’s Museum Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site consisting of five museums built between 1824 and 1830 on an island in the river Spree, with a sixth scheduled to open later this year. The museums are significant in that each was designed to showcase the collection it held and they demonstrate the evolution of museum design over the 20th century.

On our third and final day in Berlin, we visited two museums on Museum Island. Our first stop was the Pergamon, with its collection of monumental architecture, often reconstructed from ruins, and the Neues Museum, featuring, Egyptian, Prehistory and Early History. That afternoon we took in the views 668 ft (203m) up at the Fernsehturm and also toured Berlin Cathedral.

Below are trip highlights from January 27th, 2020. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

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Pergamon Museum
The Pergamon Museum on Berlin’s Museum Island was completed in 1930 and houses monumental architecture, often reconstructed from ruins.
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Gate of Babylon
The Ishtar Gate of Babylon at the Pergamon Museum dates from 6th-century Iraq. During the early excavations of Babylon in the late 19th-century, archaeologists found thousands of fragments of broken blue-glazed bricks. Over 500 crates of broken bricks were transported to Berlin and painstakingly pieced together to recreate the gate and its accompanying Processional Way, with modern bricks substituted for missing ones.
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Miletus Gate
The Market Gate of Miletus was built in the ancient Greek city of Miletus in the 2nd century AD and destroyed in an earthquake in the 10th or 11th century. A German archaeological team excavated the ruins in the early 1900s and rebuilt the gate in Berlin with significant new material.
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Mshatta Facade
The Mshatta Facade from an 8th-century Jordanian residential palace. The facade was a gift from the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II to Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany.
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Aleppo Room
The intricately painted wood walls of the Aleppo Room were commissioned as a reception room for a Syrian merchant’s house. Dating from about 1600, they likely are the oldest surviving painted panelled rooms from the Ottoman Empire. The family that owned them considered the panelling out-of-style in 1912 and sold it a museum in Berlin.
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Das Panorama
Das Panorama is a temporary exhibit at the Pergamon Museum consisting of a four-flight viewing platform built in the middle of a panoramic 3d-like depiction of the ancient Roman city of Pergamon. With lights and sounds changing to mimic the cycle of day and night and the incredible detail of the imagery, it’s really quite immersive.
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Jolly
Dim Sum at Jolly near the Pergamon Museum. This was our second foray into ordering Chinese food in Germany, but fortunately the menu was available in English. Unlike most other parts of Germany that we’ve visited, English is quite prevalent in Berlin, as is the use of credit cards, whereas most of Germany is predominately cash-only.
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Neues Museum
The Neues Museum (“New Museum”) was completed in 1855. It was heavily damaged during the bombing of Berlin in World War II and left to decay in the Soviet-controlled part of the city during the Cold War. The eventual reconstruction kept portions of the original and the museum is a sort of window into the evolution of museum construction.
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Nefertiti
The prize of the Neues Museum is a painted bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti, believed to date from about 1345 BC. Photos aren’t allowed up close, but you can take one from an adjoining room.
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Gold Hat
The Berlin Gold Hat in the Neues Museum is a Late Bronze Age European artifact made of thin gold leaf believed to date from about 1,000 to 800 BC.
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Zeughaus
The Zeughaus is a 17th-century armory that now houses the German Historical Museum.
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Altes Museum
The Altes Museum (“Old Museum”) was built in the early 1800s to house the Prussian royal family’s art collection and now is home to the Berlin State Museum’s antiquities collection.
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Berlin Cathedral
Berlin Cathedral on Museum Island was built between 1894 and 1905.
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Neptune Fountain
The Neptune Fountain, built in 1891, is one of Berlin’s oldest and most beautiful fountains. The Roman god Neptune is at center and the four women around him represent the rivers of Prussia when the fountain was created: the Elbe, Rhine, Vistula and Oder. The fountain originally was located on Museum Island, and was moved to its current location in 1951.
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Fernsehturm
The East German government built the Fernsehturm (“TV Tower”) between 1965 and 1969 as a symbol of Communist power and of the city. Including the antenna, the 1,207ft (368 m) structure it the tallest in Germany and the fourth-tallest in Europe. The tower includes an observation deck at 668 ft (203m) and a revolving restaurant at 679 ft (207m).
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View East
The view southeast along the river Spree from the 668 ft (203m) observation deck of the Fernsehturm.
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View South
Looking south from the Fernsehturm observation deck. Berlin Cathedral is in the foreground at right, with the Reichstag Dome visible in the distance beyond at far right. The large green space is Tiergarten park and farther to the left is Potsdamer Platz.
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Bar 203
Enjoying a sunset drink at Bar 203 in the Fernsehturm observation deck. We picked our time slot to arrive about a half-hour before sunset so we could see the view in the daylight and then get some city lights views after sunset.
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View North
The city lights of former East Berlin looking northeast from the Fernsehturm observation deck. We really enjoyed the tower views, both during the day and after nightfall.
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Cathedral Interior
The spectacular interior of Berlin Cathedral. The dome collapsed due to World War II bombing and the church was reopened in 1993 after restoration. The 7000-pipe organ is one of the largest in Germany.
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Frederick William
The coffin of Frederick William, the ruler of Brandenburg-Prussia from 1640 until his death in 1688. Just visible on the right is the tomb of his wife, Sophie Dorothea.
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Frederick I
The coffin of Frederick I, the first King in Prussia from 1701 to 1713.
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Viewing Gallery
The view northeast towards the Fernsehturm from the Berlin Cathedral outdoor viewing gallery.
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Hohenzollern Crypt
The Hohenzollern Crypt in the basement of Berlin Cathedral includes 94 crypts spanning four centuries of the Hohenzollern dynasty from the 16th to the 20th centuries.
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Cathedral from North
The north side of Berlin Cathedral at night.
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Piazza Rossa
A delicious dinner at wonderfully-authentic Ristorante Piazza Rossa. All the staff spoke Italian and the restaurant had a fabulous selection of red wines.
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Trabant
A Trabant, produced by former East German manufacturer VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau between 1957 and 1990, was the most common car in East Germany. The vehicle became a symbol of the country, particularly when images flooded into the west of East Germans crossing the border into West Germany in Trabants loaded with all their possessions. They cars also were seen as a symbol of the failure of communism, as they were extremely cheaply built, unreliable, uncomfortable and a significant source of air pollution. But they could do 0-60 in a blistering 21 seconds.
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Alexanderplatz Station
At Alexanderplatz station for a train back to our hotel. During the Cold War, Alexanderplatz was one of several Berlin “ghost stations” where trains passed through but didn’t stop. Fully-renovated, it’s now one of the busiest transport hubs in the city, served by overground and underground trains, trams and buses.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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