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Germany > Berlin > Pergamon Museum
Pergamon Museum
Pergamon Museum

Berlin (Germany)
Am Kupfergraben 5 10117
The Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities) contains Greek and Roman works including not only architectural remains, sculptures and vases, inscriptions and mosaics but also bronzes and jewellery. It is on display in two locations: the Pergamon Museum and the main floor of the Altes Museum.
   Pergamon Museum : Virtual tour   6 sections and 33 items
Pergamon Museum : Greek Antiquities (3)

Pergamon Altar (3)
between 180 and 159 B.C.
Resting on a huge foundation with an encircling frieze 113 meters long, and a 20 meters wide staircase cut into the western side, a colonnade encloses the courtyard with the actual altar for burnt offerings.

Battle of the Giants (4)
Great Frieze
between 180 and 159 B.C.
In the museum, only the west side (D) of the altar is reconstructed in its original dimensions. Four steps rising from the nearly square foundation (36 meters wide, 34 meters deep) support a monumental pedestal, whose sides are decorated by a 2.3 meters high relief frieze, crowned by a great projecting cornice.

The Telephos Frieze (26)
approx. between 165 and 159 B.C.
The Telephos Frieze depicts the life story of the hero Telephos, the legendary founder of Pergamon and the mythical ancestor of the royal house. It was mounted on the inner court walls of the Pergamon Altar and was preserved noticeably worse than the Giant Frieze.
Pergamon Museum : Oriental Antiquities (3)

Ishtar Gate
near 575 B.C.
The Ishtar Gate (Assyrian : Darwaza D'Ishtar) was the eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon. It was constructed in about 575 BC by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II on the north side of the city. Dedicated to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, the Gate was constructed of blue glazed tiles with alternating rows of bas-relief sirrush (dragons) and aurochs.

Procession Street of Babylon
575 B.C.
The Procession Street of Babylon which served as the northern entrance way into the city, and during the new Year Festival as a cultic route, ran through the Ishtar gate leading through the inner city to the Madurak sanctuary and ending at the bridge across the Euphrates.

The Throne-Room
near 575 B.C.
The throne-room was situated in the third courtyard complex of the royal palace. Its 56 meters facade was decorated with colored glazed bricks. A tentative reconstruction shows the composition of the upper part of the facade, including stylized palms and patterned registers.
Pergamon Museum : Hours   

Nocturne friday and saturday
from 09:00 to 18:00 (22:00 Friday and Saturday),

Pergamon Museum : Visit Guide   
Transport :
- U6 (Friedrichstraße)
- S1, S2, S25 (Friedrichstraße)
- S5, S7, S75, S9 (Hackescher Markt)
- M1, 12 (Am Kupfergraben)
- M4, M5, M6 (Hackescher Markt)
- TXL (Staatsoper)
- 100, 200 (Lustgarten)
- 147 (Friedrichstraße)
Pergamon Museum : Description   
Collection of Classical Antiquities
With an annual figure of 1.000.000 visitors the Pergamon Museum ranks among the most popular buildings of the state museums. Its main attraction is the Pergamon Altar (2nd century BC). The frieze depicting the battle between the Gods and Giants is regarded as a masterpiece of Hellenistic art. The next room to the south contains the market Gate of Miletus, an outstanding example of Roman architecture. From there visitors can proceed to the Museum of the Ancient Near East.

Examples of Greek architecture are presented in the hall of Hellenistic architecture adjoining the great hall to the north. The northern wing of the Pergamon Museum contains classical sculptures from the Archaic age to the Hellenistic period, ancient copies of Greek originals as well as Roman art.

Greek and Roman art and sculptures can be found in the Altes Museum. The main highlights, the art of the Etruscans, will go on show when major restoration work on the building has been completed. Until then an exhibition of Greek works of art is open to the public on the newly designed main floor of the building. This thematically arranged exhibition includes stone sculptures, clay and bronze figures, friezes, vases, gold jewellery and silverware. Three information displays provide details on additional topics such as Greek myths, ancient city culture and the archaeological sites investigated by the Berlin museums.

Roman art is represented by relatively few pieces such as portraits of Caesar and Cleopatra, sarcophagi, mosaics, frescos and Roman-Egyptian mummy portraits offering a taste of the final presentation.

Museum of the Ancient Near East
The Museum of the Ancient Near East ranks alongside the Louvre and the British Museum as one of the world's leading museums of ancient oriental treasures. Shown in an area covering 2,000 square metres the exhibits convey an impression of six thousand years of history, culture and art in the ancient Near East.

Fourteen rooms are devoted to this collection in the southern wing of the Pergamonmuseum. The collection contains many important examples of architecture, reliefs and smaller objects. Some are of great world significance and were once excavated by German archaeologists. They originate from the Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian and northern Syrian/eastern Anatolian regions which today include Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

Finds from Uruk offer insights into the beginnings of writing during the fourth millenium BC as well as into Sumerian art and culture. Clay tablets and seals provide evidence of the early use of writing throughout the whole of the ancient Near Eastern region.

One of the major attractions lies along the main axis of this section of the museum. Here visitors can walk through and wonder at the world-famous reconstructions of brilliantly coloured Babylonian monuments: the Processional Way, the Ishtar Gate and the facade of the throne hall of King Nebuchadnezzar II (604 - 562 BC). Sections of the buildings were re-created to approximately the original dimensions by meticulously re-assembling the many broken pieces of excavated glazed bricks. Along the walls depictions of lions, bulls and dragons symbolize the major gods of Babylon.

The main attractions in the Babylonian Hall include the model of the Tower of Babel which was dedicated to Marduk, the chief god of the city, and a copy of the famous stela bearing the laws of King Hammurabi.

Other outstanding works of ancient Near Eastern monumental architecture of the third and second millenium BC include reconstructed sections of temple facades from Uruk. One of the facades is decorated with coloured clay inlays while the other is characterized by its stunning brickwork reliefs.

The Assyrian palace reliefs from Kalchu, the one-time capital city, date from the ninth millenium BC. The entrance to the reconstructed Neo-Assyrian palace hall is dominated by replicas of the colossal gatekeeping statues of mythical beasts. The artistic and crafting skills of the Assyrians during the first and second century BC are illustrated by vases, jewellery, tools, clay and stone reliefs, tiles and small sculptures made from a variety of materials.
Pergamon Museum : History   
By the time the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum on Museum Island (today the Bodemuseum) had opened, it was clear that the museum was not large enough to host all of the art and archaeological treasures excavated under German supervision. Excavations were underway in Babylon, Uruk, Assur, Miletus, Priene and Egypt, and objects from these sites could not be properly displayed within the existing German museum system. As early as 1907, Wilhelm von Bode, the director of the Kaiser-Friedrich-Wilhelm-Museum had plans to build a new museum nearby to accommodate ancient architecture, German post-antiquity art, and Middle Eastern and Islamic art.

The Pergamonmuseum was built between 1910 and 1930 under the supervision of Ludwig Hoffmann, working according to designs by Alfred Messel. From 1901 to 1909, a smaller building had occupied the same spot. This building originally accommodated the important excavation finds of the Berlin Museums, such as the frieze of the Pergamon Altar which was recovered between 1878 and 1886. However, insufficient foundations soon led to damages in the building structure and the building had to be demolished even before the outbreak of the First World War.

The new, larger Pergamonmuseum was conceived as a "Dreiflügelanlage". Today, it accommodates three separate museums : the Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities), occupying the architectural halls and the sculpture wing, the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Museum of the Ancient Near East) and the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum of Islamic Art). The monumental reconstruction of archaeological building ensembles - such as the Pergamon Altar, the Market Gate of Miletus and the Ishtar Gate including the Processional Way of Babylon and the Mshatta Façade - has made the Pergamonmuseum world-famous.

The Pergamon Museum was severely damaged during the air attack on Berlin at the end of the Second World War. Many of the display objects were stored in safe places, and some of the large pieces were walled in for protection. In 1945, the Red Army collected all of the loose museum items, either as war booty or, ostensibly, to rescue them from looting and fires then raging in Berlin. Not until 1958 were most of the objects returned to East Germany. Significant parts of the collection remain in Russia. Some are currently stored in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg. The return of these items has been arranged in a treaty between Germany and Russia but, as of June 2003, is blocked by Russian restitution laws.
Pergamon Museum : More pictures   
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Pergamon Museum