The Neues Museum re-establishes itself as one of the premier ancient world destination in Europe–and the world really– after being closed since 1939. The collection combined with the restored/re-imagined building delivers an experience that every real ancient world explorer needs to embrace.
You need to get straight to the Main Stairs to start your exploration of the Neues. Feel the vibrations of history from the not so old Soviet bullet holes that still pepper the structural walls nearest the windows to the romanesque columns and classical castings from the Parthenon. Use the modern stairs to transport yourself across time and history at the Neues.
I made a fast blast through the museum this week and here is my short list of 10 items not to miss when you make your visit. Ilisted them in a sort of random tour as well. It jumps you across the Museum, perhaps not in the most efficient manner, but if you are in a rush, well plan a better day out and take your time to breathe it all in. (Don’t worry I will also share more photos and comments about more of the collection as well).
The Nefertiti Bust
1351 BC – Amarna, Egypt (Room 210)
Certainly the most famous and iconic of all the pieces in the Neues Collection, Nefertiti is the reigning Queen of Berlin’s Museum Island. I suppose she has gained a most unexpected afterlife.
The presentation of this artefact is stunning and impacts us to link the ancient with the modern world. I would go straight to this piece, via the main staircase, when first visiting the Neues and then come back again before you leave.
136AD – Lycopolis, Egypt (Room 2003)
Facing Nefertiti from the furtherest end of the Neues to the other is the roman statue of Helios discovered at Lycopolis, theGraeco-Roman name for the modern day city of Asyut.
Isuppose it is some sense of humor to have Nefertiti, the wife of Akhenaten–the Sun God/King, facing the Sun God.
The House Alatar
Take a loop across the 2nd Floor and come all the back around to see this incredible family scene of Akhenaten and Nefertiti with their children. The scene is rich in meaning as well as being incredily sharp and well preserved.
The Golden Hat
5th to 8th Century BC, Discovery Site Unknown (Room 305)
Leap up and way across the 3rd floor to see the weird, shimmering Gold Hat. You can imagine how the archaeologists that discovered this artefact must have been thinking at first “what is this thing?”
700,000 Years Old Biface
700,000 years old (Room 302)
Let your mind loose to consider the ocean of time that we are swimming in. Early man carved tools, such as this neolithic biface, to hunt and cut things. Have we really changed that much?
Schlieman’s Troy Treasures
Ithink understanding Schlieman will also help understand the somewhat eccentric feel of the Neues Museum. Here are some of his great discoveries from Troy in his adventures to discover the heroes from Homer’s legends of the Illiad and Odyssey.
You can also note the comments about how some much of the German collections were sacked by the Soviets and still are in Russia to this day.
3rd Century AD – Rome, Italy (Room 012)
The way the Lions curl away from this sarcophagus is extraordinary. They are the fierce guardains of the spirit of the dead.
2nd half 1st Century BC – Rome (Room 004)
The statue of Dionysus is a very elegant and well presented sculpture.
King Amenemhat III
1840 BC – Memphis, Egypt (Room 110)
The walk down the hall to see the statue of Amenemhat III is perhaps the highlight of the entire Neues Museum–you are meant to start your visit here I think, but Iwould put it in the end of a tour as it makes you see the entire collection fresh.
The mix of ancient, streamlined sculptures and the shabby-chic wall decorations are inspiring.
Valley of the Kings, Egypt (Room 110)
A section from probably the most gorgeous tomb ever discovered. The discovery of Seti I’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings was the greatest find prior to King Tut.
Now the tomb is closed, so seeing this great column section in Neues is a spectacular treat. The colors and detail are awesome.
There are of course many, many more things to see at the Neues. At least the Top 10 items above will give you a flavour of what is awaiting every ancient world explorer at the newest part of Berlin’s Museum Island.