Tradition and Modernity

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The museums and exhibitions in Berlin offer a range of experiences at 360 °. From works of art of world culture such as the altar of Pergamon, precious objects of the figurative arts, glimpses of history as the Museum of the GDR but not only. In an eclectic city like Berlin all cultural aspects go on stage: music, food, the museum of Currywurst or chocolate, and the symbols of Ostalgie, nostalgia of the east, so popular among young people.


The island of the Spree, known as Museumsinsel (Museum Island), centres five museums which, because of its great cultural and architectural value, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. It collects works and exhibits that tell of six thousand years of art. Many come from the private collections of the Prussian royal Family and from 1918 are administered by the Foundation Stiftung Preusschiscer Kulturbesitz (the foundation responsible for the cultural heritage of the Hohenzollern). The oldest of the island’s museum is the Altes Museum (1830), which is also the oldest German museum, a neoclassical masterpiece by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. The plan for the large-scale renovation and modernization of the area, approved and started in 1999, intends today to transform the site into an avant-garde cultural location. In the Media Library of Pergamon Museum you can see the virtual Master Plan, called Museuminsel Berlin 2015, and better understand the vastness. The island is accessible from the left side of the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum), opposite the Staatsoper, in Unter den Linden, just past the Schlossbrücke (Palace Bridge). The Neues Museum, which houses the collection of the Egyptian papyri, the ancient library and a Nefertiti guarded by a glass case. The Alte Nationalgalerie, destined for the German and European paintings of the 19th century, was reopened in 2001 and now houses works by Monet, Manet, Renoir and Caspar David Friedrich. The Baroque Bode Museum, originally called Kaiser Friedrich-Museum and dedicated to Renaissance art, was named after its first director, Wilhelm von Bode, in 1956. Known for its collection of sculptures and Byzantine artwork, it was reopened in 2006, after a five-year renovation. The most well-known museum of the island remains the Pergamon Museum (1930) by Alfred Mussel, designed to meet the need for new exhibition spaces to host the works found by 19th century German archaeologists in Pergamon, Asia Minor, at the same time as wen Schliemann uncovered the treasure of Priam. Visitors from all over the world come here to admire the altar of Pergamon, the gate of Miletus and the Ishtar gate. Audio-guides are available in many foreign languages, the use of which is included in the price of the entrance fee.

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