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.
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!
Join the fastest growing community of professional tour guides.
Use our easy to integrate toolset to include Tours & Attractions in your customer journey.