Pergamonmuseum: Altars and Gates

According to figures released in 2007, Berlin’s Pergamommuseum is the most visited art museum in Germany, welcoming over a million visitors each year: 1,135,000 to be almost exact. To put that into perspective, here are some visitor number stats from UK Museums. 

It seems that most of these visitors chose to go on the same day I did. Just look at the size of these queues both in and outside the museum!

Queue for Berlin's Museum Island

Queue for Berlin’s Museum Island

Queue inside the Pergamon Museum

Queue inside the Pergamon Museum

After nearly two whole hours of queuing we were able to explore the wonders of the Pergamonmuseum. It’s not often that you get a museum named after one of its objects, but that’s what we have in the case of the Pergamonmuseum. It is tempting to write that as two separate words, but I must resist the temptation, for it’s one of those compound nouns German is so fond of.

Anyway, before I get sidetracked with linguistics again; on with the adventure!

Pergamon Altar

Pergamon Altar

I mentioned above that the Pergamonmuseum takes its name from one of its objects, but which one? Well, dear Readers that would be the world famous Pergamon Altar, which you can see above. Stunning isn’t it? It really puts the Parthenon Marbles in the shade, at least in my opinion they do. Like the Parthenon marbles; you need to perform some mental spatial gymnastics to visualise what it would have looked like. Like the Parthenon Marbles, this set of stone is similarly controversial. Unlike the Parthenon Marbles, the story isn’t quite so controversial. The Turks were destroying marble to make lime, witnessing this, Carl Humann was able to trade with them; lime in return for the marble.

What a deal. No wonder the whole museum was built around it.

Athena battling snake-legged giants

Athena battling snake-legged giants

Gates of Glory

The Ishtar Gate was once the eight entrance into the now-legendary metropolis of Babylon, but that isn’t its main claim to fame. Not by a long shot. No, these gates were considered to be one of the wonders of the ancient world, and here you have to chance to experience them in all their glorious techni0colour.

Named for the goddess Ishtar; the sexy Babylonian goddess of love and war (with the emphasis on the sexy). They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are three for you to enjoy. It’ll save me rambling on about how magnificent it was if you can see it for yourself.

Horse detail from Ishtar Gate

Horse detail from Ishtar Gate

Lion detail on the Ishtar Gate

Lion detail on the Ishtar Gate

Ishtar Gate

Ishtar Gate

Stunning. The Pergamonmuseum does spectacular very well indeed. It only really falls down at crowd-management, which is such a shame. At every step, I felt like part of a massive herd of cattle – I was close to mooing- but looking back at the pictures I’m reminded just how amazing these objects installations are and I’m so glad I had the chance to see them.

If you enjoyed reading about the Pergamon Museum, you might like to see its badges at The Museum of Museum Badges.

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2 responses to “Pergamonmuseum: Altars and Gates

  1. Pingback: Berlin Adventures: Neues Museum | Jack's Adventures in Museum Land·

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