Museum Island (Berlin - Germany)

...I met Nefertiti...

Just like how London has Thames, Paris has Siene, Amsterdam has Amstel, there is a river flowing bang in the middle of Berlin called Spree. And bang in the middle of the city, in the middle of Spree, is a tiny little island on top of which are 5 Museums & 1 Church. 
The 5 museums here are Bode Museum, Pergamonmuseum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie and Altes Museum. With the time I had I could visit only Neues Museum and it was there that I got to meet Nefertiti!!! 
Anyone who has learnt the basics of Art History would very much know who is Nefertiti. She was an Egyptian Queen and the wife of King Akhnetan. She was extremely beautiful woman and infact I used to call one of my friends, who looked like her, lean with long face, high cheeks, sharp nose and elongated eyes, as Nefertiti!!! 
Pic Courtesy: Philip Pikart via Wikimedia Commons

And how do we know she was beautiful? Well, a sculpture of her bust from her sarcophagus still survives. And ever since my uni days, I drooled over the beauty of Nefertiti. And honestly, when I set off to Berlin, I did not know Nefertiti was there!!! And to see her with my own eyes, I was just in Cloud 9!!! Unfortunately photography wasn't allowed there. Errr... I did try to click her from the next room with my tele-lens but a guard was sure to stand right in front of my camera!!!

The section was filled with Egyptian Civilization awesomeness. One more of my favourites was the relief of Akhnetan and Nefertiti seated with their children and blessed by Ra (Sun God). Another interesting sculpture was a free standing little sculpture of either Akhnetan or Tutunkhamen. 

The topmost floor has the pre-historic accounts of Berlin incl the items recovered during various excavations. Along with it was The Golden Hat, excavated in Berlin. Such pre-historic Golden Hats have been found in various places across Europe. The origin of this particular golden hat may have been from somewhere in Alps. This is a masterpiece of the Bronze Age (c. 2000 BCE)! 
See the several circular pattern on the hat, its not just decorative or random, but denotes the 19 yr cycle of sun & moon. The hat being a tall and valuable one, should have been worn by a priest or ruler. There's a star atop to depict sun. There are sickle & eye patterns to denote moon & venus. To realize that our forefathers 4000 years earlier, knew leap year and used it to synchronize sun & moon year (which has a difference of 11 days) is plain crazy!! Calculations depict 12 lunar cycles a year and addition of 7 lunar months every 19 years to sync the cycles... It was an astronomer's or scientist's or mere sky watcher's heaven!!!

I honestly did not understand why photography was allowed near the Golden Hat when it wasn't allowed near Nefertiti, or rather why wasn't photography allowed near Nefertiti. Strange.... Ideally an entire day isn't enough to see the 5 museums in Museum Island. But if you don't have time, just don't miss Nefertiti... 

The first museum here in the island was Altes Museum which opened in 1830s. It was in 1930, that its latest museum being Pergamon Museum. In 1830s, it was a social revolution to make art accessible for general public! For this, for being a standing example of the Age of Enlightenment and evolution of museum design & urban architecture in 19th C, the whole island with its 5 museums, came under the wings of UNESCO in 1999.


To Get There:
Nearest bus stop: Lustgarden
Nearest Metro station: Hackescher Markt
Entry fee: €10 (free with 72h Welcome Card + Museumsinsel)
The Museum has a free coat/bag storage facility. 

P.S: I was invited by Visit Berlin - Welcome Card to experience the city for review purposehowever the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Dedicated to Venkat

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

42 comments:

  1. I think there would hardly ever be a student of art history who is not fascinated by Egyptian art and culture. I remember reading "Nefertiti - by nick drake" to know more about her. When I was in Met I vowed to stay and take photos in the Egyptian section until the guard threw me out

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  2. We spent a whole day at the Museum Mile and it was such an enriching experience. My favourite was the Pergamon...it was like a trip into the past, across the entire world. Nefertiti fascinates me too, and I suppose photography is prohibited because flash may damage delicate pieces.

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  3. I can't believe it... I was in Berlin in November and I had no clue about this! I would love to see the island and the museums. I guess I'll have to keep this in mind for a future trip :)

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  4. So innovative. particularly the circular patterns on the hat to tell the time. How amazing. Reminded me of Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, India. Have you been there?

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  5. First of all, museum island is the greatest idea! I love Germany, but had no idea this existed. I agree, one day would not be enough to visit all 5 museums. These look incredible.

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  6. I have never been to Berlin but all that exquisite Egyptian Art brings back many good memories for me. I actually lived in a place called El Minia (in 1989) on the Nile that had lots of links to Nefertiti. Great Post. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. I never knew the river flowing through Berlin was called the Spree. I had never heard of Nefertiti, I'm sure she was beautiful though being Egyptian, she looks good in her bust. It's good they have places like this to show all the items that have been excavated.

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  8. I really wish we had have visited Nefertiti at Museum Island when we visited Berlin last year. Thanks for sharing this!

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  9. I've been to Berlin but never knew that this island existed. I'm fascinated with Egyptian art so would love to see the sculptures and of course, Nefertiti.

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  10. I love the history you learn about in these types of museums. I remember visiting one in Cairo and it having so much to learn about the Egyptians. It was so big that you couldn't see everything and it was a long time ago. I feel the Neues Museum is something I would really.
    As for Berlin, I really love this city. Thanks fr sharing.

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  11. These look like great museums, I would love to visit. I love Egyptian history and any history really. The outside of the museums look impressive too. Berlin looks like a great place to visit.

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  12. I love Museum Island in Berlin - so much amazing art and history in a tiny little block. Its a shame you can't take pictures of Nefertiti - but I suppose that means I'll have to go back to Berlin to see her beauty for myself!

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  13. Also being an art history student, Nefertiti was practically crammed into my head from Egyptian history. The significance of the piece can't be overstated and it's amazing that you were able to see it in person. Beyond the bust, the Neues Museum looks like it has a really impressive collection. Hopefully when I make it to Berlin, Nefertiti will still be there!

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  14. I have always wanted to go to Germany. Would love to visit these museums. You have very beautifully written about your experience and the pain of not being able to click a pic of Nefertiti. It is indeed crazy that our forefather knew about leap years, the difference between lunar and solar times. Pheww.

    A great write-up.

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  15. From the sculpture of Nefertiti's bust it looks like she was very beautiful women with sharp features! Though we have no idea in the field of art, we always make a point to visit at least one museum and its so interesting to go through the exhibits inside. The golden hat looks so huge, wonder whoever wore it how did he/she carried them around!

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  16. OH this is awesome we actually live 3 hour from Berlin and I had forgotten that they had such an amazing Egyptian art collection there. My kids would love to see this - and so would I. Thanks for the reminder we need to get there!

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  17. That's so funny that you have a friend that looks like Nefertiti, she must be beautiful! This looks like an awesome museum, thanks for putting this on my radar. I'll have to make sure I visit!

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  18. Museum island! Sounds awesome and reminds me of museum island in Amsterdam! I'm not really a museum goer but these do look fun!

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  19. I loved Museum Island when I was in Berlin. I saw the Neues Museum and the Pergamon. It took up quite a bit of time, but was definitely worth it. It was very annoying about not being allowed to take Nefertiti's picture! I just bought a postcard of her.

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  20. I am happy for you that you got to see the real stuff of Nefertiti. I love visiting museums, and I hope I'll be able to visit them all too.

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  21. Who would not love to visit an island wilh 5 museums on it? And you get to see legit stuff of Neferiti. The architecture as expected was again amazing beyond words!

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  22. Amazing amazing post. Because of this post, this island is really a must-visit for me if we visit Berlin someday. To see that bust of Nefertiti for real alone is a big reason to visit the place.

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  23. I spent almost an entire day visiting the Museum Island in Berlin and it was just amazing. Such a pity that you didn't get to visit Pergamonmuseum; the reconstructed buildings inside are incredible! Hopefully for next time, I'm sure you'll love it! :)

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  24. That's nice! The architecture of the museums resembles the Acropolis in Athens. I'm not a fan of big cities like London or Berlin, but I love archaeology and I'm a big fan of ancient civilization stories and London Museum of Natural History was my favorite site.

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  25. It is sad some museums don't allow photography. I can imagine the guard standing in front of your camera, faced a similar situation once before :P :) Great captures otherwise.

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  26. i love going to museum, it's my kind of thing. I like seeing amazing structure and history! very interesting post.


    -ELizabeth O

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  27. However if you're in BERLIN and short of time, I'd recommend a visit to the Museum of the BERLIN - GERMANY. Its amazing and historical. Me and my children really like this museum. goo.gl/e3MIua

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  28. There's so much heritage in Egyptian history. It's nice we see a lot of those items here.

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  29. I love visiting museums, and this one looks awesome. It is definitely going on my list!

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  30. This seems like a very interesting museum. I love Egyptian history and like to visit museums or read about it. I have never properly visited Berlin but it is on my list. I have heard so many good things about it.

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  31. Thats funny.. i have been in Berlin several times already and the name "Museumsinsel" is super familiar.. but I never really thought about it as an Museum (silly, I know) and I did not know neither that they are having this great Egyptian Exibition! It's definitely something I will keep in mind when being next time in Berlin!

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  32. I have an image just like your second one I found Berlin to be amazing. It was my first trip abroad by myself and I would love to go back to see Spree.

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  33. I'm not much of a history buff, but this architecture looks mind-blowing! :)

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  34. Museum island wow! Why have I never heard of this place! 5 days is not enough to appreciate the museums and really take everything in.

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  35. Berlin is such an awesome city, there are so much things to do and to see there. And Museum island is really amazing!

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  36. When we went to Berlin we stayed not too far from museum island. It's fantastic having so many museums close together. The architecture is amazing as well so it's an all around good time.

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  37. My cousin visited Berlin few years ago and she said it was a wonderful place. Reading your travelogue stirs my interest more. Nice coverage to the city. Lucky you got this lovely opportunity. :)

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  38. when we went to germany we wanted to go to berlin, but it was a shame we didn't get to it! This looks like you had such a fantastic time. Museum island looks so cool!

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  39. I've always had a deep interest in Egyptian history so i'll definitely be visiting this museum. Like you, I had no idea she was there!!

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  40. Wow, so cool! I have never been to Berlin but it is definitely on my list!!

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  41. I really love touring on a museum. I can stay there for hours and learn the country's history

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  42. Your post makes me feel like going back to reading about the Egyptian history! I thought Nefertiti reminded me a little of Tilda Swinton (The nun in Dr Strange!). what do you think?

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