One of the five marvelous museums that sit on Berlin's Museum Island, the Pergamon Museum is the newest, first opened in 1930. It is named after the Pergamon Altar, an enormous monument which occupies a whole room.
History of the Museum
Designed by Alfred Messel, and later Ludwig Hoffman, the Pergamon Museum was built to complement the nearby Kaiser-Wilhelm Museum (now the Bode Museum), which had grown too small to house the artifacts garnered from German excavations throughout the world.
The idea for the new museum came about in 1907 and completion took 20 years - from 1910 to 1930. It opened during one of Germany's most turbulent periods and was subsequently largely destroyed in the bombing ofBerlin during World War II.
Tower of Babel
Fortunately, many of the pieces had been stored elsewhere for safe keeping and a number of the museum's larger pieces were "walled in" for protection. In 1945, a portion of the original collection was taken to Russia and is still housed in the Hermitage and the Pushkin Museums there. Many items were returned in the late 1950s but, due to Russian restitution laws, some still remain in those two museums.
The Pergamon Museum is divided into three distinct sections: the Antiquity Collection, the Islamic Art Museum,
and the Near East Museum.
The Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities is usually lauded as the most magnificent part of the museum. Guests will be treated to several large-scale pieces, like the Pergamon Altar (180-160 B.C.), which is so huge that it requires an entire room. Constructed in Pergamon, Asia Minor, as an altar to Zeus, the gigantic structure is the centerpiece of the museum. You'll also see the magnificent Roman gate which led to the market of Miletus, also in Asia Minor.
The Near East Museum is lauded as one of the largest and finest collections of antiquities from ancient
Babylonia, Persia, and Assyria. The ancient Oriental treasures found here include 6,000 years of Near East history and include 14 rooms covering 2,000 square meters (over 21,000 square feet.) Don't miss the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and the façade of the throne hall of King Nebuchadnezzar. There is also a model of the Tower of Babel in the Babylonian Hall.
The Islamic Art Museum, focused mainly on the Middle East including Egypt and Persia, features art from the eighth through the nineteenth centuries. Guests can view architectural decorations, ceramics, jewelry, metalwork, wood carvings, textiles, and calligraphic works.
- Next: Alexanderplatz
Hackescher Markt (S5, S7, S75)
Am Kupfergraben, Museum Island