The Louvre museum in Paris is the second most visited attraction after the Palace Museum in China. This museum has gained immense popularity given the fact that it holds a collection of over 35,000 priceless masterpieces and antiques. It houses some of the greatest paintings made in the history including Leonardo’s famous “Mona Lisa” and “The Death of The Virgin” by Caravaggio. On that note, here are 12 interesting facts we bet you didn't know about this museum.
1. It is the biggest museum in the world.
This museum is so big that it will take about 100 days to do a complete tour and cover each of the paintings. Touring the whole museum in just one day is next to impossible.
2. It was not a museum originally.
The Louvre was originally a fortress that was built in 1190. It was converted from a fortress into a palace during the 16th century. After the French Monarchy moved to the Palace of Versailles, the first Louvre museum was opened to public with only 537 paintings in it, during 1793.
3. During Napoleon's reign, this museum was renamed from Louvre to Musée Napoleon.
During this time, Napoleon expanded Louvre's collection by 5,000 pieces. However, the original pieces were returned to the original owners after Napoleon was defeated.
4. The famous Mona Lisa painting isn't as big as every one thinks it to be.
The actual dimension of the original painting is just 21 x 30 inches, which is just a little bit larger than an A2 piece of paper. The Mona Lisa painting is one of the most valuable pieces of art in the museum which is shielded with bullet proof glass and it has its own body guards. The Mona Lisa painting was stolen in 1911 and was returned back to the museum two years later.
5. About 66% of the paintings are made by French painters.
The museum has a massive collection of paintings from all around Europe. Right now, there are about 7,500 paintings on display in the galleries.
6. The Louvre was used as a storeroom during World War II.
This museum was used by the Nazis as a storeroom for stolen art.
7. This museum is believed to be haunted by a mummy called Belphegor.
Even the nearby Tulleries Gardens is said to be haunted by a man dressed in red but, nothing can be said for sure.
8. The Louvre’s glass pyramid is 21 metres high.
The glass pyramid was built in 1989 and it is made of glass and metal. The glass pyramid is actually one of four, because the three smaller glass pyramids surround it in the courtyard, Cour Napoleon.
9. This museum welcomes over 15,000 visitors each day.
The Louvre is the most popular museum in the world and about 70% of the tourists who visit this place are foreigners.
10. The Louvre is the nucleus of the Axe Historique, an architectural line of monuments that run through central Paris to the West.
This museum is known as the nucleus as it is located in the middle of Arc de Triomphe, the Grand Arche of La Defense and the obelisk of the Place de la Concorde.
11. There are two Louvre museums in the world.
The second museum, located in Abu Dhabi is also an art and civilization museum that was inaugurated on 8 November 2017 by French President Emmanuel Macron, United Arab Emirates Vice President Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
12. During Napoleon's rule, the Mona Lisa was hung in his private bedroom.
This was the first time the Mona Lisa was ever hung. The second time she was hung was when Jacqueline Kennedy arranged for the painting to tour museums in Washington DC and New York.