Berlin opening new addition to its museum home to Babylon’s Ishtar Gate , Egyptian Nefertiti

In this Monday, July 1, 2019 photo, architect David Chipperfield poses outside of the James-Simon-Galerie at the Museumsinsel, Museums Island, in Berlin, Germany. The building, designed by David Chipperfield, is the new central entrance building for the museums at the Museumsinsel of the German capital. (AP)
Updated 10 July 2019
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Berlin opening new addition to its museum home to Babylon’s Ishtar Gate , Egyptian Nefertiti

  • The building includes exhibition space but is meant largely to make the museums more user-friendly

BERLIN: Berlin is opening a new addition to its Museum Island complex, a stylish entrance building described by officials as a milestone in a long-term effort to renovate the neoclassical ensemble that is home to treasures such as Babylon’s Ishtar Gate and a famous bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.
Designed by British architect David Chipperfield, the James Simon Gallery was presented to reporters Wednesday and opens to the public Saturday. Built on a narrow riverside site with a colonnade stretching along the bank, it provides an imposing entrance to the five-museum UNESCO world heritage site.
The building includes exhibition space but is meant largely to make the museums more user-friendly, providing facilities such as a cafe, shop and auditorium that are lacking in buildings such as the Pergamon Museum and Neues Museum.
The new 134 million-euro ($150 million) building is a key part of a “master plan” drawn up 20 years ago to renovate the Museum Island, which was built between 1830 and 1930.
Parts of it were badly damaged during World War II, and cash-strapped communist East Germany never fully restored it. Work on three museums has now been completed — including the Neues Museum, home to Nefertiti, which was half-ruined before being restored by Chipperfield. Renovation is underway at the Pergamon Museum, home to the Ishtar Gate and the Pergamon Altar, the latter currently closed to visitors.
“Even if we still have a long road before us to complete the Museum Island, the opening of this building is still a historic moment” as it is the only new addition, said Hermann Parzinger, the head of the foundation that oversees Berlin’s public museums.
The building is named after Jewish collector and benefactor James Simon, who died in 1932 and donated some 10,000 objects to Berlin museums over the years, including the Nefertiti bust.
Officials said the museums wouldn’t be what they are without Simon, and Parzinger said the name is also a tribute to “the many other, mostly Jewish, patrons of the late kaiser era and the Weimar era who did an infinite amount for culture in (...) Germany, in Berlin.”


Rapper 50 cent embraces Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah World Fest with playful name change tweet

The ‘Power’ star joked about changing his name to “50 HALALA.” (AFP)
Updated 19 July 2019
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Rapper 50 cent embraces Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah World Fest with playful name change tweet

DUBAI:  US rapper 50 Cent took Twitter by surprise as he teased fans with a joke about a potential name change.

The ‘Power’ star joked about changing his name to “50 HALALA.”

This was after the rapper was added to Jeddah World Fest’s line-up in Saudi Arabia.

Tweeps took to the cheeky tweet by storm, replying with warm messages like “welcome to Saudi 50 HALALA.”

Another Saudi fan wrote, “many thanks 50 Halala.”

The music sensation told his 10 million followers, “I been around the world a few times there’s no place [like] JEDDAH.”

He also shared his experience at the festival with excited fans and wrote, “I had a ball at Jeddah fest, kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

The music festival is part of the Jeddah Season of activities which falls under the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage’s (SCTH) ambitious program of seasonal entertainment for the Kingdom.