Ancient Near Eastern Cultures

1 Jan 2000 — 1 Jan 2020 at the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin, Germany

22 APRIL 2017
Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Pergamonmuseum
Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Pergamonmuseum

The Museum of the Ancient Near East ranks alongside the Louvre and the British Museum as one of the world's leading museums of ancient oriental treasures. Shown in an area covering 2,000 square metres the exhibits convey an impression of six thousand years of history, culture and art in the ancient Near East.

Fourteen rooms are devoted to this collection in the southern wing of the Pergamonmuseum. The collection contains many important examples of architecture, reliefs and smaller objects. Some are of great world significance and were once excavated by German archaeologists. They originate from the Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian and northern Syrian/eastern Anatolian regions which today include Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

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). Sections of the buildings were re-created to approximately the original dimensions by meticulously re-assembling the many broken pieces of excavated glazed bricks. Along the walls depictions of lions, bulls and dragons symbolize the major gods of Babylon.

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.