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Berlin - part 2, Museums

GERMANY | Sunday, 11 May 2014 | Views [561]

From my travels to other parts of the world I've known Berlin to hold some of the oldest and best archeological treasures in it's extensive museum collections, so our mission for our last day here was to explore some of them.  The major museums are all conveniently located near each other on Museum Island, a tract of land between two arms of the Spree River, and only about a 15 minute walk down the road :)
 
They don't open til 10am on a Saturday so after passing the magnificent Berliner Dom, we had a leisurely wait in the ticket line that grew and grew until the doors opened. Pergamon Museum is the most visited out the lot because it has imposing reconstructions of archeological ensembles - the Pergamon Altar and the Gate of Ishtar with the Processional Way from Babylon - among others. It was the Ancient Near East and Classical Antiquities Collections that interested me in this building, and the Egyptian and Papyrus Collection that was held in the Neues Mesuem next door.
 
The sheer scale of the reconstructions are mind-blowing! Like having a life-sized buildings inside the museum building. I've been fascinated by the Sumerian, Mesopotamian and Babylon cultures for years, and the displays of some of the most ancient artefacts known to humanity kept us walking from room to room without feeling the growing pain in our legs until two hours had passed and our stomachs started craving our attention.
 
There always seems to be something going on here. This time it was an art and craft market that we strolled through on the way to lunch. Lots of interesting stuff, none of which would fit in the backpack! After resting the legs a while and filling our stomachs, we tackled the Neues Museum's Egyptian Collection, the highlight of which is the world-renowned bust of Nefertiti. But although we were free to photograph in every other room, the Nefertiti room was barred from taking photos! Bummer!
 
We tossed up the idea of more sightseeing via the hop-on hop-off bus later in the afternoon, but by now our legs were only heading one direction, back to the hotel. I still had some souvenir shopping to attend to so we dawdled back through a little park, and back through the festivities happening at Alexanderplatz. A lone violinist, a uni-cycling rope-skipping clown, a group of 'Jesus Saves' evangelists, fans of two opposing football teams, some kind of gathering of firefighters, the chalk artist again, as well as the usual souvenir hawkers and food vendors. I'm starting to think this is normal and must occur at every major square in the city!
 
So thanks Berlin! You didn't disappoint! You're a rich, colourful city with so much to offer, if only we had more time! :) 

Tags: museums, sightseeing

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