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.
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.
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.
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…
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.