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Museum Island

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Quick Info
Museumsinsel, Berlin
M4 Tram M5 Tram M48 Bus TXL Bus to Spandauer Str./Marienkirche (384yds)
M1 Tram Tram 12 to Am Kupfergraben (439yds)

Museum Island is situated near the center of Berlin on land which is surrounded by the river Spree.

It is called Museum Island due to the large number of world renowned museums which are found here. The planning for the island was the brainchild of the Prussian king, Friedrich William IV, who envisaged an area completely dedicated to art, science and learning.

The oldest is the Altes Museum built in 1830 and has the honor of being the first German museum accessible to the public. It houses an extensive collection of art and sculptures from Greece and Rome.

The most recently built museum is the Pergamon that was constructed in the early 1930s and contains some massive ancient antiquity structures such as the Pergamon Altar from the royal temple of Bergama.

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Other noteworthy museums include the Old National Gallery, which showcases some of Germany's 19th century art, the Bode Museum containing Byzantine art, and Neues Museum with exhibits depicting human history. Most of the museums are located in the northern part of the island and are within walking distance of each other. In 1990 the museums were listed as World Heritage sites by UNESCO.

In World War II, many of the buildings were badly damaged or destroyed and the restoration process is still taking place. Restoration work will hopefully finish in 2010.

During the war and in the following years of the Cold War, many significant artifacts were taken and efforts are continuing to return these items to their original museums.

Other historical buildings such as the Berliner Dom, which has been compared to St Peters Basilica in Rome, and the ruins of the Royal Palace, are also located on Museum Island.

The island also boasts some beautifully maintained gardens where the visitor can relax after a long day of sightseeing.


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