Berlin (Euro Trip 3)

Day three in Berlin took us to Museum Island for a day of art and ancient monuments.

We started in the Alte Nationalgallerie, which had an interesting collection of mostly 19th century art, including Monet and Cezanne, as well as many German painters who were mostly unfamiliar to me – Max Lieberman being the best. Overall, it wouldn’t rate as essential, though.

Lunch was a buffet meal at a nearby restaurant. Decent enough but they ran out of both main meats and took a long time to replace them.

After lunch we returned to Museum Island and visited the Pergamon. This was one of the highlights of the trip so far. It’s similar to the British Museum, but with a narrower focus. The museum opens with a room dedicated to the Pergamon Altar.  At first glance this appears to be  a large room dedicated to various Greek sculptures and so on, until one realises that the entire room is the exhibit, and that it represents only a third of the original Altar. Freizes showing the battle of the Gods with the Giants are placed all around the wall of the room.

Also impressive is the Ishtar Gate, taken from ancient Babylon, painted in bright blue with bas-relief animals adorning its sides. The rest of the Middle East collection was reasonably impressive, being quite similar to the British Museum collection in the same area (indeed, including casts of two of the main British Musuem exhibits).

Better, though, was the Islamic Art section, a truly wonderful collection of art from the 8th to the 19th century, ranging from plates and bowls to the facade of an unfinished palace, and taking in prayer alcoves and decorative roofs. Probably the highlight of the day for me, impressive as the Pergamon Altar was.

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About simonchamberlain

New Zealand librarian and music fan, living in London.
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