A Glimpse Back in Time at the Pergamon Museum

A Glimpse Back in Time at the Pergamon Museum

While I try to visit a museum or two wherever I travel, I definitely wouldn’t call myself a museum connoisseur. The way I see it, museums are just a great way to soak up a bunch of details about the history and/or culture of a place in one convenient location. When traveling, I tend to treat museums as a nice place to take a break between sightseeing and more active pursuits, and when backyard touristing (I made that word up – feel free to use it) here in L.A., I treat museum visits as a way to break up our usual dates at the beach, movie theatre, or restaurants.

There’ve only been a few museums in my lifelong museum-visiting career that have really made an impression on me: the interactive GRAMMY Museum here in L.A., the fascinating Britannia Mine Museum in Vancouver, and the unique architecture of the Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro are three that come to mind.

When I first heard about the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, I knew that I’d have to visit. For starters, I was curious about the fact that the museum is situated on Museum Island in the Spree River which runs through heart of the city, and when researching our trip, every image I found of Museum Island on Pinterest looked so picturesque. The island is home to five museums which all form part of the Berlin State Museums.

The Berlin Cathedral is also located on Museum Island
The Berlin Cathedral is also located on Museum Island
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(l) From Museum Island, you can see the Berlin TV Tower in the distance; (r) The Altes Museum, one of the other museums that make up the Berlin State Museums

Secondly, I was fascinated by the fact that the museum houses the beautiful lapis and gold-colored Ishtar Gate, inner Babylon’s eighth gate which was commissioned by King Nebuchadnezzar II around 575 BC. I tend to be really interested by Biblical history and destinations, so Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar definitely checked that box. Not to mention, the Ishtar Gate was part of the Walls of Babylon which was one of the original Seven Wonders of the World.

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So several weeks in advance of our trip, we bought our tickets online for a specified date and time of our choosing. When we arrived, after picking up our headsets, we set off exploring this massive museum which kept us engaged for a good 2.5 hours or so until we had to answer the call of our rumbling bellies.

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And guess what? In 2.5 hours, I feel like we barely scratched the surface of the Pergamon Museum! Like, barely. We just resolved to call it quits because there’s just way too much to see in a day.

The museum is full of original-sized remains of old monuments, exhibits, models, statues, mosaics, jewelry – you name it – so it’s no wonder why it’s Germany’s most visited. The Pergamon Museum is divided into three collections: the antiquity collection, the Middle East museum, and the museum of Islamic art.

As an aside, the prevailing thought that kept running through my mind as we entered room-after-room of all of these ancient archaeological wonders and artifacts was about the legal acquisition and/or treaty-negotiation process for claiming title to or a license to use and display these treasures excavated from foreign soil. How did all of this end up in museum in Germany? It’s made me curious to know more about museums’ acquisition processes in general.

Anyway, here are several pictures from our visit…

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The beautiful Ishtar Gate

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A replica of Ishtar Gate
A model of Ishtar Gate
Market Gate of Miletus which was built in a city in present-day Turkey
Market Gate of Miletus which was built in the 2nd century AD in Miletus, a city in present-day Turkey. The gate was most likely built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian and served as the entrance of the Southern Market, the city’s largest square.
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Beautiful mosaic exhibited in front of the Market Gate of Miletus
This massive altar features a frieze depicts a battle between the Giants and the Olympian gods
This massive altar features a frieze depicting a battle between the Giants and the Olympian gods

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I love jewelry like this
I love jewelry like this…headpieces, beads, big gold hoops! But this is actually burial jewelry…

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(l) Statue of the weather god Haddad found in Turkey; (r) One of few large sculptures reserved from the Near East
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Ruins of the palace of Mshatta (winter camp) located 30 km south of Amman, Jordan.

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For more details about the Pergamon Museum and to plan your visit, click here. I highly recommend purchasing your tickets online prior to your visit to avoid lines. 

PINNABLE

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Have you been to the Pergamon Museum or does it look like it’s worth a visit? In general, are you into museums?

  • Now that is a museum I would love to visit. I am as curious as you are about the acquisition of the artefacts, a lot of the stuff in the museum looks like it should never have left its country of origin.

    • Dana Carmel

      Right, Rachel?!

  • I have to say the Pergamon is my favorite museum out of all the ones l’ve been to. It is so in your face with all these artifacts . It is grand, and what a kick to see the Ishtar gate! Beautiful pictures, and it brings back lovely memories… :-). It was fun..

    • Dana Carmel

      Glad to help you walk back down memory lane. And “in your face” is a very good way to describe the Pergamon!

thatgirlcarmel

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