The World-Class Museum
The Pergamon Museum truly is a world-class museum. It contains the gigantic 52-foot-wide Pergamon Altar, the 95-foot-high Market Gate of Miletus, and 575 BC Babylonian Ishtar gate. All were carefully reassembled and reconstructed for the display; the collection’s main focus is the Middle East,including Egypt and Iran.
As soon as you walk into the museum, you are facing the Pergamon Altar and entering in the altar of the ancient history. This 52-foot-wide Altar came from the 2nd century B.C. Greek city of Pergamon located in the west of coast of today’s Turkey:
In 1878, the German engineer Carl Humann began official excavations on the acropolis of Pergamon. The bits and pieces were brought to Berlin, reassembled and re-constructed on this replica of the temple. Italian restorers came to Berlin helped with the complex task; they comprised the frieze from the thousands of fragments that had been recovered:
The Market Gate of Miletus is 95 feet wide and 55 feet high :
This beautiful floor mosaic was made in 150 BC:
The gigantic Ishtar Gate was the eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon. It was constructed in about 575 BC. The Assyrian ruler created the Ishtar Gate to inspire awe and obedience in anyone who came to his Babylon. This was reconstructed using the original components:
This model gives detailing description of the majestic inner city of Babylon in the 600 BC:
The Mshatta Facade is a facade from the desert residential palace of Mshatta from the 8th century:
A closer look of the stone work:
“The Museum contains one of the most stunning collections of Islamic art outside the Islamic world. It brings together masterpieces of decorative art and archaeological artefacts from various Muslim people, and the Christian and Jewish groups living with them, ranging from the 8th to the 19th century.” — from the Pergamon Museum brochure
We purchased the museum pass (10 euro/per person) the day before. The next morning, we were there as early as it was about to open. From there on, I listened to the audio guide, read the handouts, and at the same time, tried to take pictures from room to room. I couldn’t help to think about the massive excavations, shipping, reconstruction, and preservation tasks that people did then. Because of their great effort, passion, and vision, ordinary people are able to walk through thousands of years history in a modern beautiful building and learn about it freely.
As we were walking toward the exit gate, I thought about the Saint Augustine’s quote:”The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
Every step I took in the museum was a humble learning experience as if I was just opening a chapter of the world book.