Skip to main content

The Iraqi city of Uruk was one of the largest cities in Mesopotamia 5,000 years ago and was home to the hero Gilgamesh. Since 1912, it has been extensively researched through excavations by the Orient Department of the German Archaeological Institute. In 2013, the special exhibition "Uruk - 5000 Years of Megacity" presented the research results to a larger public for the first time and fascinated more than 470,000 visitors to the Pergamon Museum. Now the Museum of the Ancient Near East of the National Museums in Berlin is making the entire exhibition available digitally in the form of a virtual tour.

Virtuelle Tour durch die digitale Ausstellung "Uruk – 5000 Jahre Megacity",
Virtuelle Tour durch die digitale Ausstellung "Uruk – 5000 Jahre Megacity", © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum

Via a web browser, users can now visit the entire exhibition virtually - including all texts, photos and films as well as the exhibition design, the virtual reconstructions of buildings in Uruk and the topography and historical development of Uruk presented on film, created by the German Aerospace Centre.

The city of Uruk embodies the basic idea of the early city like no other place. A kilometre-long city wall enclosed the city area, the gods were worshipped in the temples, and writing was invented here. Gilgamesh, king of Uruk and hero of the epic of the same name, is considered to be the builder of the city wall. The permanent exhibition of the Museum of the Ancient Near East currently features finds and multi-coloured temple façades from the excavations of the German Oriental Society in Uruk, which were brought to Berlin before the Second World War as part of a find-sharing agreement.

Even after more than 100 years of research, Uruk is still a resounding term in Near Eastern archaeology. Some of the innovations of our civilised world, such as writing and accounting, originated here over 5,000 years ago. Since 2016, Uruk has been a Unesco World Heritage Site and is part of the cultural and natural heritage site "The Ahwar of Southern Iraq: Refuge of biodiversity and the relict landscape of the Mesopotamian cities".

Available online: www.smb.museum/uruk-digital

Additional information