Where else would you expect to see an Egyptian pharaoh)? Yes, that’s the bust of Nefertiti (stop sniggering at the back) on the Island of Museums in Berlin.
I’ve just been catching up with my old freundes from Deutschland who have been filling me in on among other things their Island of Museums in their capital.
Not what you would initially associate with Berlin.
But we’re talking a World Heritage site here in the historic Mitte on Spreeinsel (Spree Island).
It encompasses five large museums built under the Prussian rulers.
Here comes the Sun Queen
As well as a reception and exhibition building, the James Simon Gallery, opened in 2019.
The bust had arrived in Berlin in 1913.
Along with the other finds from Amarna unearthed during the excavations of 1911–13 and allotted to the German team.
It had entered the collection of James Simon, who had funded the excavations.
Simon initially displayed the bust in his villa on Tiergartenstrasse, where it was first presented to Emperor Wilhelm II.
Nefertiti who you’ll find in the Neues Museum is known as the Sun Queen.
And together with her husband Akhenaten paid homage to the new religion of the sun.
A gift of antiquities
The three-winged Pergamon Museum by Alfred Messel is the most visited museum in Berlin.
It displays the Collection of Classical Antiquities, the Museum of the Ancient Near East and the Museum of Islamic Art.
The Collection of Classical Antiquities is one of the most important collections of Greek and Roman art in the world.
The most famous work is the Roman Pergamon Altar, whose sculpted frieze depicts the battle between gods and giants.
This bodes well
The Bode Museum houses a unique collection of sculptures, showcasing exhibits from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, including works from Donatello, Bernini and Canova.
Since July 2019, visitors can once again visit the James Simon Cabinet in its original room.
It had been closed as a result of anti-Semitism under the Nazi dictatorship.
In summer, the riverbank opposite is a popular meeting place for Berliners.
The Alte Nationalgalerie is considered one of the most comprehensive collections of art from the period between the French Revolution and the First World War.
And it’s here you’ll find The Thinker by Auguste Rodin, as well as works by Manet, Monet and Renoir.
Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s magnus, the Altes Museum, designed in 1830 was the first museum building on the island.
And for the first time, the royal art collections were shown to the public in a specially designed antique-style building.
Today, under its expansive circular dome you’ll see sculpture, jewellery, vases and coins.
From Greek and Etruscan art, as well as from the Roman Empire.
Gold and silver jewellery is displayed under a blue ceiling in a special treasure chamber.
And so while, of course, you’ll visit the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall isle recommend too that you take in the Island of Museums too.
Five museums on 8.6 hectares compresses a world of history in a compact area just the way we like it.
And if you’re thinking here the intimacy of the proximity of the Topkapi Museum, the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, you’ll not be alone.
While it would be remiss not to mention the Smithsonians in Washington DC.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… those who forget their history will be condemned to repeat it.
And so span the generations and bust in on Nefertiti on the Island of Museums in Berlin.