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
A marvellous example of Baroque architecture, the old Berlin Armoury is now Germany's official national history museum.
Pergamon Museum
Designed by Alfred Messel, it welcomes about one million visitors a year, making it the most visited museum in Berlin.
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.
Caliph's Palace of Mshatta
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 Museum, with five-in-one entrance ticket
Explore the artefacts of Berlin's Museum Square, enjoy a five-in-one entrance ticket to Museum Island; enjoy spectacular architecture and art, and learn about past civilisations. 

  • Enjoy a three-hour, private guided tour created for history and art lovers.
  • Visit The Pergamon Museum: Famed for its outstanding collection of archaeological monuments.
  • Travel back to lost civilisations of the Middle East, ancient Greece, and Mighty Rome.
  • Explore the serenity and beauty of Museumsinsel – an island oasis in the city.
  • Retrace the history and architecture on the island. Hear of its partition after WWII. 
  • See the Berlin Cathedral, find spectacular cityscapes, monuments and riverside gardens
  • 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 Museum, with an additional examination of Museum Island. Accompany an expert-in-the-field and delve into each museum's rich history and architecture. Enjoy the beautiful gardens, fountains and fabulous public spaces that surround them. Take centre stage with your guide. On this tour there are no other groups or noise to drown out the experience.

The Pergamon is often described as three museums in one - easily navigate the three major collections, piercing the heart of each. 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. From recovered temples to towering 14 meter tall structures. 
Afterwards you are more than welcome to enter the remaining museums, armed with your extensive knowledge.


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