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David Chipperfield's reconstruction of the bombed-out Neues Museum is now the residence of Queen Nefertiti, the showstopper of the Egyptian Museum, which also features mummies, sculptures and sarcophagi. Pride of place at the Museum of Pre- and Early History (in the same building) goes to Trojan antiquities, a Neanderthal skull and the 3000-year-old 'Berliner Goldhut', a golden conical hat. Skip the queue by buying your timed ticket online.
Nefertiti's bust was part of the treasure trove unearthed by a Berlin expedition of archaeologists around 1912 while sifting through the sands of Armana, the royal city built by Nefertiti’s husband, Akhenaten (r 1353–1336 BC). A key item from the Late Egyptian Period (around 400 BC), which shows Greek influence, is the sculpture of a priest's head carved from smooth green stone and hence called ‘Berlin Green Head’. Until the opening of the Humboldt Forum cultural centre, which is under construction nearby, the galleries will also be temporary host of selected highlights from the Museum of Asian Art and the Museum of Ethnology.
Competing with the exhibits is the building itself. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle, Chipperfield's design incorporates every original shard, scrap and brick he could find into this dynamic space, which juxtaposes massive stairwells, intimate domed rooms, mural walls and airy, high-ceilinged halls.