Whatever the Question, the Pergamon Museum is the only possible answer

Can you take the DRAMA
Can you take the DRAMA

While notions of cultural heritage and appropriation and the repatriation of objects are absurdly sticky (and I’ve touched on this stickiness before when discussing NYC’s Cloisters), you have to applaud the Germans for their looting past because MAN, the Pergamon Museum is insanely, insanely awesome.

It's a BUILDING inside a BUILDING covered in a gigantomachy!
It’s a BUILDING inside a BUILDING covered in a gigantomachy (that’s a battle between the gods and giants)!
I can't take the DRAMA
I can’t take the DRAMA

Located in the very heart of Museum Island, the Pergamon Museum is unlike any other museum I have ever been to, because it’s a building mostly packed full of other buildings. Not only do they have the Altar of Pergamon in all its Hellenistic glory, but they also have the Market Gate of Miletus and the Isthar Gate. That is 200% more gates than most museums!

There is a market in Miletus missing its gate
There is a market in Miletus missing its gate
100% more Ishtar Gates than anywhere else in the world!!
100% more Ishtar Gates than anywhere else in the world!!
I will never not show you a detail like this. God is in the details
I will never not show you a detail like this. God is in the details

But, foolish, silly me, I missed a LOT of the other insanely spectacular things they have there. Like the Mshatta Facade, which is this ridiculously cool bit of a building originally from Jordan:

You know, just a giant hunk of building from Jordan. Image via wikimedia commons
You know, just a giant hunk of building from Jordan. Image via wikimedia commons

And I missed the Aleppo Room, which was clearly a giant oversight on my part, because LOOK at it:

Not ugly.
Not ugly.

These are things worth seeing. And while yes, it was a wee bit crowded, the crowds were extremely well managed and pretty small in comparison to the crowds at, oh I dunno, the Louvre. Obviously, I need to get myself back to Berlin ASAP, because the Pergamon Museum is always the answer.

Edited to add: Matthias1982 (who has an excellent blog about animals, you should check it out) pointed out in the comments that owing to renovations the room with the actual Pergamon Altar is closed at the moment (my photos are from last year when other bits of the museum were closed). Lame. Damn renovations, making things closed in the meantime, but better in the long run. Thanks Matthias!

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26 thoughts on “Whatever the Question, the Pergamon Museum is the only possible answer

      1. Yeah, these photos are from last year. I suppose I should note that there are a lot of renovations going on over there, and that certain areas might be closed. Thanks for the update!

      2. hey – thanks a lot for the edit and the free promotion 🙂 I didn’t want to correct your post though, I just wanted to save you from being sad by coming to Berlin for the altar and discovering that it’s off limits for a few years… 🙂 I enjoy your posts!!

  1. Wow! Impressive. When you say Museum island, you mean Berlin, right? I missed that particular museum. Darn! (A good excuse to go back to Berlin!) 🙂
    Bonne journée.
    Brian

  2. Berlin was never really high on my travel destination list, until now. I love the Egyptian temple in the Met. It’s my favorite thing in the entire museum. Now I know there is an entire museum in Berlin with similar things? I need to go see it! Especially the Ishtar gate…

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