Berlin's Neues Museum reopening to public after 70 years





BERLIN — Berlin's Neues Museum, boasting ancient treasures such as a famous bust of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti and a magnificent Bronze Age golden hat, is finally reopening to the public after standing for decades as a bomb-damaged shell.

The museum is being inaugurated Friday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and opens its doors to the public Saturday. That will mark the first time since World War II that the whole of Berlin's neoclassical Museum Island complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been open.

"It is a special day ... 70 years after it was closed, this building can be handed over to the public again," Hermann Parzinger, the head of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which oversees Berlin's museums, said Thursday. "It is, in a way, the end of the postwar era for the Museum Island."

The museum's best-known exhibit is the limestone-and-stucco bust of Nefertiti, which dates back to about 1340 B.C.. The graceful, delicately detailed piece was found by German archeologists in 1912 and went on display at the Neues Museum in 1924.



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