I love checking out UNESCO World Heritage sites so there was no way in hell I’d miss visiting Berlin’s Museum Island. Now before you start thinking, “Ugh, it’s an island. It must be so hard to get to.” That’s where you’re mistaken. Museum Island isn’t an actual island but a museum complex comprised of five world-renowned museums, namely the Altes Museum, Pergamon Museum, Neues Museum, Bode Museum and Alte Nationalgalerie. Each were built during different times, spanning from 1824 to 1930, by highly-respected Prussian architects. What makes this cultural center so remarkable (aside from the extensive collections each museum displays) is that despite the age difference among the museums, Museum Island was able to maintain architectural consistency and continuity. It’s easy to get absorbed in this place because there are no eyesores. Everything just fits. I could’ve easily spent an entire day or two just wandering around Museum Island (which is just enough time for one to actually finish visiting all the museums), but as I’ve said, we had a jam-packed schedule with Goethe Institute so I was only able to squeeze a few hours in. I chose to spend my free time at Pergamon Museum, Berlin’s most visited museum. It houses Greek and Babylonian antiquities including the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and the enormous Pergamon Altar everyone seems to be talking about. Although I’ve already seen so many structures like these back when I visited Athens and Italy as a student, Pergamon Museum’s collection was still breathtaking.
Aside from the museums, another point of interest worth visiting at Museum Island is the Berlin Cathedral or Berliner Dom. It’s right in front of the Lustgarten or Pleasure Garden, where plenty of locals and tourists alike relax and have fun while taking in the sights of not only the Cathedral, but the Altes Museum as well. What’s special about the Berliner Dom is that visitors can enjoy the most heavenly view of Berlin by climbing 270 steps up to its dome. Everything from the Museum Island, the synagogue, Gendarmenmarkt, the Reichstag, the Rotes Rathaus and more can be seen from the dome’s walkway. You can just imagine how I felt when I saw all of this. I literally felt like I was on cloud nine. I don’t know if it was because I was taking them all in from a cathedral’s dome but I’ve never felt more serene than this. There was a sense of calm and comfort that came over me. It was beautiful, just beautiful.
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