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Old October 17th, 2006, 08:16 PM   #1
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A Cultural Jewel Reawakens in Berlin

A Cultural Jewel Reawakens in Berlin

By Joachim Kronsbein and Ulrike Knöfel

This week, Berlin adds a grand new highlight to its assortment of cultural attractions -- the newly renovated Bode Museum on the city's Museum Island. The opening serves as a reminder that Berlin has the potential to become Europe's cultural capital -- if it chooses to accept the challenge.

The most precious highlight of Germany's cultural history, a unique ensemble of artistic attractions, is located right in the middle of Berlin's Spree River. The Museuminsel (or Museum Island), a kind of Prussian arcadia, consists of five museums, and each of them is a temple to high culture -- a stone monument to the bourgeois utopia of a life dedicated to the cultivation of beauty, goodness and truth. Museum Island preserved the ideals of the educated bourgeoisie in the context of a warlike reality dominated by the military power of the state.

The Museum Island, where the five museums rise majestically skyward, is located in the city's historical center, but the temples of culture also stand apart as a kind of special district. The museums used to be within viewing distance of the residence of the royal Hohenzollern family. They still would be if Walter Ulbricht, the leader of the Communist Party of East Germany (SED), hadn't ordered the residence to be demolished in 1950. It was the kings of the Hohenzollern family, known for their interest in art, who ordered the splendid museums to be built.

The Museum Island has long been the most important asset of Berlin's tourism business, envied by other countries and admired by about 2 million visitors every year.

Prussia's prime exponent of neoclassical architecture, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, got things started 175 years ago by building the Altes Museum (Old Museum). Then the Neues Museum (New Museum) was built in 1855, followed by the Alte Nationalgallerie (Old National Gallery) in 1876 and the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in 1904. The Weimar Republic made a final addition in 1930, in the form of the Pergamon Museum.

The most impressive of the five treasure troves reopened on Tuesday after six years of construction work and renovation costs that totalled about €160 million ($200 million). The refurbished Bode Museum, formerly known as the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, is a kind of architectural steamboat on the northwestern bank of the island. With its reopening, visitors are finally able to admire its treasures again -- a collection of Byzantine art, sculpture, a coin cabinet and some 150 paintings owned by the German state.

The Museum Island won't be restored to its complete splendor until work on the Neues and Pergamon museums is completed. There are plans to connect the buildings with an underground promenade and to construct a new building as a reception area for the masses of visitors. The massive project is slated for completion at some point in 2014, but no one will risk predicting exactly when.

A tour boat passes under the Monbijou bridge near the Bode Museum. The bridge was reopened on Thursday after more than a year of renovations.

The Bode Museum on the Spree also makes a stately appearance at night. The museum reopens on Tuesday after five years of renovations.

A sneak peak into the Gobelin Hall. On display here are three paintings by the "great masters" of the period between the 14th and 18th centuries.

Inside the Bode Museum, visitors are greeted by statues of Frederick II of Prussia (also known as Frederick the Great) and his generals.

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Old October 19th, 2006, 06:36 PM   #2
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I remember there was a lot of construction on that part of the island when I visited last May, and the bridges were not accessible.
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Old October 19th, 2006, 09:24 PM   #3
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'Berlin's Louvre' opens to public

A Berlin museum whose wealth of treasures has seen it likened to Paris's Louvre is opening its doors after six years of restoration.

The Bode Museum was built in 1904 but its collection of more than 1,700 works was split between East and West Germany during the Cold War.

The 162m-euro (£109m) restoration work repaired damage that the neo-Baroque building sustained during World War II.

It is reopening to the public on Thursday, on the city's Museum Island.


The collections of coins and Byzantine art are some of the world's most impressive, and the Bode also houses outstanding examples of German and Italian gothic, renaissance and baroque art.

Arne Effenberger, director of the Bode's sculpture collection and museum of Byzantine art, told Reuters news agency that builders only realised how much damage the building had suffered when they began renovating it.

"This wonderful collection is now together again," he said.

Berlin's Museum Island is a Unesco world heritage site, home to the city's five major museums.

The island sits in the Spree river, in the heart of the former East Berlin.

Other sites in the complex include the ancient Greek and near Eastern collections of the Pergamon Museum and the Alte Nationalgalerie, which houses 19th Century European art.

The Alte Nationalgalerie was reopened in 2001 after a three-year restoration and the entire complex is in the midst of a 1.2bn euro renovation programme, scheduled to finish in 2015.


A model of the museum Island

The Bode Museum during the Festival of Lights (17. - 29. October 2006) http://www.festival-of-lights.de/

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Last edited by LuckyLuke; October 19th, 2006 at 09:48 PM.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 05:26 AM   #4
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Wowwwwwwwww I like Bode Museum.. so beautiful
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Old November 7th, 2006, 04:02 PM   #5
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Looks gorgeous. I think its about time I revisit Berlin.
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Old November 16th, 2006, 01:35 PM   #6
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Heres the ZDF weblink for the project with videos, reports, pics etc..

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