Altes Museum

Home to the city’s main collection of ancient art, sculptures and a gold treasury.

TravelCurious Tip

Also on Museum Island is the Pergamom Museum. It houses the other half of Berlin’s antiquity collection, so a trip there complements the Altes museum perfectly

A Classical Heritage

On Museum Island, the Altes Museum houses half of the antiquities collection of the Berlin State Museums. Designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel in the neoclassical style, it was built between 1823 and 1830. It is monumental, with eighteen Ionic fluted columns, a yawning atrium and a staircase that scoops visitors up to its rotunda. Antique sculptures line the rotunda, echoing the layout of Rome’s Pantheon.

Schinkel incorporated the museum into an ensemble of buildings to celebrate the Prussian state and spirit. Four buildings surround the Berliner Lustgarden, the pleasure garden. To the south is the Stadtschloss, a symbol of worldly power. To the west, the Zeughaus represented military might. In the east the Berliner Dom was the embodiment of divine authority. In this scheme, the Altes Museum, build in the north, stood as a symbol for science, art and the education of the people.

Star-crossed lovers

The museum’s permanent collection covers the art and culture of the classical world: the Greeks, Etruscans and Romans. The main floor houses stone sculptures, clay and bronze figures, friezes and the gold and silverware from Greek antiquity. Upstairs in the Roman art collection are portraits of those famous lovers Caesar and Cleopatra, as well as sarcophagi, mosaics, frescos and fascinating Roman-Egyptian mummy portraits.

Penny for your thoughts

The museum is also home to a numismatic collection of more than one thousand coins from the seventh century BC to the third century AD. Not far away, there is also an ‘erotic cabinet’, a collection of sexually explicit paintings, reliefs and sculptures which is found behind closed doors. You have to be over 18 to enter!

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Berlin
Neues Museum
It houses the Papyrus Collection, the Classical Antiquities Collection and the priceless bust of Nefertiti.
Alte Nationalgalerie
It is a treasure-trove of 19th century German and European paintings from such greats as Monet and Caspar David Friedrich.
Berlin Cathedral
Located on Museum Island, it is a main work of Historicist architecture of the "Kaiserzeit."
Ishtar Gate
A millennia-old vibrant blue gate recovered from the mystical City of Babylon in 1902.
Mshatta Façade
The imposing, architectural façade of an ancient Jordanian Desert Castle.
Market Gate of Miletus
A Roman marble monument, built in the 2nd century, but later destroyed in an earthquake.

Related Tours

Private Walking Tour of Pergamon and Neues Museums, with five-in-one entrance ticket
Explore the artefacts of Berlin's Museum Square, and enjoy a five-in-one entrance ticket to Museum Island with a guided tour of the Pergamon Museum and the Neues Museum. On your private tour you will: 

  • Enjoy the attention and knowledge of a private guide inside the Pergamon Museum, famed for its outstanding collection of archaeological monuments, art and architecture, and the Neues Museum.
  • Travel back to lost civilisations of the Middle Eastancient Greece, and Mighty Rome.
  • Explore the serenity and beauty of Museumsinsel with your guide– an island oasis in the city.
  • See the imposing Roman Market Gate of Miletus, and Ishtar Gate, which was recovered from the City of Babylon in 1902. 
  • Retrace the history and architecture on the island. Hear of its partition after WWII. 
  • Receive expert advice from your guide on the best museums to visit with the rest of your day. 
  • Tour the remaining museums at your leisure and learn about their importance to preserving culture. 
This tour is perfect for those seeking an expert-led tour of the world-famous Pergamon and Neueu Museums, with tickets to the rest of the museums located on Museum Island. Delve into the rich history and architecture which make up the island. 

The Pergamon is often described as three museums in one, and your guide while helping you easily navigate the three major collections. Travel back to lost ancient civilisations, from Ancient Greece, Babylonia to The Persian Empire. See remnants and striking artefacts of each: pottery, weaponry, statues, artwork, and marvel at the world-famous collection of imposing archaeological discoveries. After your three-hour tour of the museums and the island, your guide will give you a ticket, which will give you access to the island’s other museums. Please note: the ticket is only valid for the day of the tour.


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