One of the world’s most iconic works of art can be found in the Neues Museum (New Museum) on Berlin’s Museum Island: the bust of Nefertiti.
Although she’s more than 3000 years old, she nonetheless conforms to our modern ideal of beauty, and did so from the moment she was put on public display in Berlin in 1924: her make up and jewellery quickly became all the rage.
The Neues Museum is worth a visit just for the architecture. Dating to the mid-19th century, the museum was badly damaged in World War II and restored in the early 2000s by the British architect David Chipperfield. He preserved what he could of the old building, while everything he added is clearly contemporary. The contrast between old and new is striking.
The bust of Nefertiti is not the museum’s only draw. The Egyptian collection as a whole is well worth a visit, and the museum also houses artefacts of prehistory and early history. A highlight is the “Berlin Gold Hat” of the late Bronze Age. It is one of only four such conical hats yet discovered – and it’s the best-preserved.
Not on display are the treasures Heinrich Schliemann, an amateur archaeologist, excavated at what is believed to be ancient Troy. “Priam’s Treasure,” as Schliemann dubbed the gold artefacts he found, are now at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, where they were taken after World War II.
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