Museum Island, Berlin History of Museum Island The five museums that comprise Berlin’s famous Museum Island are located between the Spree River and the Kupfergraben. The idea for this ornate and enticing group of museums originated with King Friedrich Wilhelm III with the construction of the Old Museum in 1830, built to allow the general public to view the royal art treasures of Germany. Technically, however, the idea for the island wasn’t devised until around 1841, when Friedrich August Stüler proposed the idea, which was lauded by all. In 1859, the New Museum was complete. The year 1876 saw the completion of the Old National Gallery. The Kaiser-Friedrich Museum (today the Bode Museum) was added in 1904 and the final museum, the Pergamon, was completed in 1930. Sadly, nearly 70% of the buildings were destroyed during World War II and, after the war, the collections were split up between East and West Berlin. A reconstruction and re-modernization program, designed to restore the five museums, is still underway with hopes that the magnificent collections of 19th century art and artifacts will once again be reunited on Museum Island for German citizens and visitors to admire and enjoy. The Museums The Old National Gallery (Alte Nationalgalerie) re-opened in 2001 with much fanfare. It owns one of the largest collections of 19th century sculpture and paintings in Germany. Visitors will find numerous works by well-known German artists of that century here as well as an excellent display of French Impressionist pieces. Restored and reopened in 1966, the Old Museum (Altes Museum) now houses ancient Greek and Roman artifacts though it was originally built to display the treasures of the royal family. Built by the city’s greatest architect, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the building resembles a Greek Corinthian Temple. Don’t miss the bust of Queen Nefertiti! turkeyarena.com Both the Bode and New Museums remain closed for renovations, but guests may visit the Pergamon Museum, where you’ll a collection of Greek and Roman antiquities as well as the impressive Ishtar Gate of Babylon.