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.

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