The Museum of Ancient Near Eastern Antiquities ranks as one of the world's leading museums of ancient oriental treasures. The collection, covering 2,000 m², conveys an impression of 6,000 years of history and culture in the ancient Near East.
Fourteen rooms are devoted to this collection in the southern wing of the Pergamon Museum.
The objects originate from the Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian and northern Syrian/eastern Anatolian regions which today include Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.
Finds from Uruk offer insights into the beginnings of writing during the 4th century BC, as well as into Sumerian art and culture.
One of the major attractions lies along the main axis of this section of the museum. Here visitors can walk through and wonder at the world-famous reconstructions of brilliantly coloured Babylonian monuments: the Processional Way, the Ishtar Gate and the facade of the throne hall of King Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC).
The main attractions in the Babylonian Hall include the model of the Tower of Babel, which was dedicated to Marduk, the chief god of the city, and a copy of the famous stela bearing the laws of King Hammurabi.
Other outstanding works of ancient Near Eastern monumental architecture of the 3rd and 2nd century BC include reconstructed sections of temple facades from Uruk. The Assyrian palace reliefs from Kalchu, the one-time capital city, date from the 9th century BC. The entrance to the reconstructed Neo-Assyrian palace hall is dominated by replicas of the colossal gatekeeping statues of mythical beasts.
Video: Felix von Boehm / cine-fils.com
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.