The Louvre, Paris, is a 12th century palace, converted into a museum in 1692. It is among the most visited museums in the world, with 380,000 historical and pre-historical objects on display. It is the most frequented museum of arts and among the largest ones in the world. It was built as a palace under the reign of Philip II and converted into museum under Louis XIV.
Around 380,000 objects and 35000 pieces of art have been arranged in eight different departments. Various archaeological finds, sculptures and paintings are housed in it. On an average, 15000 people visit this place everyday, making it world’s most visited museum. It even featured in a fiction novel named ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and later, in a movie of the same title.
The Louvre has got collections from all over the world. Antiquities from Egypt, Asia, Greece, Rome and other pieces are present here. Apart from these, world renowned paintings like the original Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo da Vinci are placed here. Here is an overview of what is in the store here for the visitors.
Artifacts belonging to the Nile Civilization and dating back to 4000 BC to the 4th Century AD are housed in this department. The Egyptian life during different instances of history, including Ancient Egypt, Middle Ages and the life during Byzantine, Roman and Ptolemaic Kingdoms. The collection spans around 20 rooms in the museum and is quite rich one with over 20000 pieces.
One may be able to find numerous popular artifacts. Some of these include ‘The Large Sphinx’, which is dated back to 2000 BC, ‘Gebel-el Arak’ knife of around 3400 BC and other prehistoric mummies, clothing, jewelry, tools, weapons and music instruments etc.
Near Eastern antiquities
This department focuses on West Asian lands including Levant, Persia and Mesopotamia, modern day Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq. Quite interestingly, the collections in this department are focused on the period around 2,450 BC, when Islam did not arrive in these regions. The collection is mainly to the credit of a French scientist named Paul-Émile Botta, who traveled extensively in the region from 1790 to 1849.
The items on display include exhibits from ancient cities like Akkad, Sumer and from Zagros Mountains. The highlight of this collection is a 2.25 meter Code of Hammurabi, which depicts Babylonian Laws. A number of pieces from ancient Persia are also housed in there.
Around 6000 paintings from artists all over the Europe and other places grace the paintings department of The Louvre. Paintings from masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo and others are housed here in different departments. Around 12 curators take care of these paintings, some of which are as old as over 800 years!
The Louvre is located in center of the city of Paris. It can be reached conveniently from anywhere in Paris. In addition to the numerous tourist buses, one can reach here by the Louvre-Rivoli station or Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre Métro.