The museum is situated in the south wing of the Pergamon Museum. It is dedicated to the art of Islamic peoples from the 8th to the 19th century, with the main focus being on the Middle East, including Egypt and Iran.
The museum is situated in the south wing of the Pergamon Museum. It is dedicated to the art of Islamic peoples from the 8th to the 19th century. The Islamic Art Department was founded in 1904 by Wilhelm von Bode and initially comprised the Mshatta Façade, a gift from the Turkish sultan to the German Kaiser, and von Bode’s collection of carpets.
The works of art – from architectural ornaments to applied art and calligraphy – originate from a region that extends from Spain to India, although the main emphasis is on the Middle East (including Egypt and Iran).
The architectural decorations represent one of the major attractions, with works in various media: stone (the façade from Mshatta), stuccoes (archaeological finds from Samarra), painted wooden panelling (Aleppo Room) and wall ceramics in various techniques (prayer niches from Kashan and Konya).
The applied arts include works in a whole range of materials: ceramic vessels, metalwork, carvings in wood and bone, glasses, textiles and carpets.
Within the area of books and ancient writings, the calligraphic works and miniatures from albums of Mogul times are of particular significance.
The Pergamonmuseum was designed by Alfred Messel; its construction was overseen by Ludwig Hoffmann and lasted twenty years, from 1910 to 1930. A smaller building initially stood on the same site for a just few years before being torn down. It housed the important excavation finds unearthed by the Berlin museums, such as the frieze panels from the Pergamon Altar, reclaimed from the earth in digs that lasted from 1878 to 1886. Inadequate foundations, however, soon resulted in the building becoming structurally unstable and it had to be demolished.
The new, larger Pergamonmuseum was built as a three-wing complex. The museum now houses three of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s collections: the Antikensammlung, Vorderasiatisches Museum, and the Museum für Islamische Kunst. The impressive reconstructions of massive archaeological structures – the Pergamon Altar, Market Gate of Miletus, the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way from Babylon, and the Mshatta Facade – have made the Pergamonmuseum famous throughout the world, with the result that it is the most visited museum at the Staatliche Museen and in Germany as a whole.
As part of the Masterplan Museumsinsel, the museum has been undergoing staggered renovation work since 2013.
Please note that due to construction and the high volume of visitors, longer waiting times may be experienced.