The Altes Museum is situated on an island in the river Spree, in the center of Berlin. This area is called Museum Island because of the many museums located there.
The Altes Museum is the oldest museum in Berlin. Construction began in 1823 and it took approximately seven years to complete. During the Second World War, it was very badly damaged with hardly any of the original building left intact. It underwent extensive renovations in 1966.
The architecture is predominately classical, based along Greek lines. One of the most striking features of the front façade is the 18 towering Greek inspired columns. They support the 87 meters high roof, at the entrance to the museum.
Another architectural feature is the rotunda dome with its beautiful detail. The original dome took its design from a dome of the Roman Pantheon. The museum precinct incorporates well presented gardens and the Berlin Cathedral.
On the ground floor it houses the Collection of Classical Antiquities. The Ancient Greek and Roman collections contain a wide range of artifacts and are beautifully displayed. Most of the displays are spaced out, which is an advantage, as the rooms are often filled with large groups of tourists.
The highlight for many visitors is the Egyptian Museum located on the second floor. It has a comprehensive collection of Egyptian antiquities. Queen Nefertiti's bust is one of the most popular displays. Other displays are equally impressive such as the Papyrus collection, mummies and everyday items such as jewelry.
An admission fee is charged but this includes an audio guide that is available in several languages. There is a check-in counter where you are required to hand in your coats or jackets. No flash photography is allowed.
Depending on your historical interest, leave about 2-3 hours to view the museum.
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