If you’re looking for museums in Berlin, your best starting point is Museumsinsel (Museums Island). And your best starting point on Museumsinsel is the Pergamonmuseum. Started in 1910 and completed in 1930, the Pergamonmuseum encompasses the history of Berlin from pre-World War I and the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, through the mass inflation, Weimar period, and into the first whispers of the Third Reich. It’s interesting to keep that in mind as you walk under a decidedly un-romantic entry gate into a museum of Olympiad proportions.
This sense of the Olympics isn’t just relegated to the outer facade, either. The Pergamon is home to Classical antiquities, artifacts from the ancient Near East, and Islamic Art. You’ll find plenty to entertain you in each of these connected museums, but two of the big draws are the Ishtar Gate from Babylon (Ancient Near East) and the Pergamon Altar (Classical Antiquities). For such a big city (considering it was once two cities), Berlin is a perfect setting for these two works of ancient art that re-define words including large, huge, and all-encompassing. You can walk under the Ishtar Gate and spend an entire afternoon looking at its detailings on the Pergamon walls. And when that gets to be all too much, have a sit on the steps of the Pergamon Altar. And with rumours that the Turkish Government (home to modern-day Pergamon, Bergama) now wants the altar back, no time like the present to see it now.
Museumsinsel has some perks for the price-conscious. All four museums on the island are 8 Euro (4 Euro concessions) for one entry, however you can see all in one day for a mere 12 Euro (6 Euro). That is, for you math majors, half the cost. However, all state museums–including those on the Island–are free entry on the first Sunday of each month. Which means you missed it this past weekend, but you have four weeks to get ready for the next day of freebies.
Am Kupfergraben, Museumsinsel
Metro: S-Bahn to Hackescher Markt