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Exterior view of the Pergamonmuseum Berlin
Pergamonmuseum Berlin © SMB, Foto: Becker

Pergamon Museum

The Pergamon Museum is closed for renovation over the next few years

Please note: The Pergamon Museum is closed to carry out extensive renovation work. In 2027, the north wing with the Pergamon Altar will be on view again as the first completed construction phase.

A new, temporary exhibition building is located opposite the Museum Island: the exhibition "Pergamon Museum. The Panorama" with the 360-degree panorama by Yadegar Asisi and antique originals from Pergamon makes it possible to experience the Pergamon Altar in its original form and in its urban context on the Acropolis.

The Pergamon Museum is considered to be the visitor magnet par excellence among Berlin’s museums. With the shimmering turquoise Ishtar Gate and the monumental Market Gate of Miletus from antiquity, the majestic building on Museum Island is sure to impress. Walk along the Processional Way of Babylon as you would have if you lived more than 2,600 years ago. Behind the Ishtar Gate, the world of classical antiquity opens up to you. The question inevitably arises: How did the peoples of antiquity manage to build structures of such dimensions and with such rich ornamentation? On the upper floor, you can admire magnificent works from the Islamic world in addition to the architectural masterpieces from the ancient Near East and classical antiquity.

Mschatta façade in the Pergamon Museum Berlin
Mschatta façade in the Pergamon Museum © SMB, Foto: Becker

Babylon and the ancient Near East: Berlin’s most important archaeological museum

After the famous merchant and archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann uncovered Troy, excavation fever broke out in the 19th century. German explorers went to Pergamon, Miletus, Babylon, Uruk, Assur and Egypt. The Ottoman Empire granted generous conditions for the sharing of excavated discoveries, and important architectural monuments, sculptures and small treasures were exported to Berlin. These objects were on display on Berlin’s Museum Island, in the predecessor building of the Pergamon Museum. However, after a short period of time the premises were no longer sufficient to hold all the exhibits. Between 1910 and 1930, the Pergamon Museum was built according to plans by the architect Alfred Messel. It soon became one of Berlin’s main attractions. In addition to the striking Pergamon Altar - the pinnacle of Hellenistic art - the 17-metre-high Market Gate of Miletus and the magnificent Ishtar Gate form the core of the exhibition. In each of the wings you will find one of the three collections: Parts of the Collection of Classical Antiquities in the central building, the Museum of the Ancient Near East on the main floor of the south wing, and the Museum of Islamic Art on the upper floor.

Info on the Museum of the Ancient Near East: Architectural art in particular is given a lot of space here: the shimmering blue Ishtar Gate from Babylon reaches from the floor to the ceiling and the finely carved reliefs shine out at you from afar.

Ishtar Gate in the Pergamon Museum Berlin
Ishtar Gate in the Pergamon Museum Berlin © SMB, Foto: Becker

In the light-flooded halls of the Pergamon Museum, you will also discover how diverse the historical architecture of the Middle East is. The imposing Market Gate of Miletus, a splendid example of Roman Imperial architecture from what is now western Turkey, is also spectacular.

Market Gate of Miletus in the Pergamon Museum Berlin
Market Gate of Miletus in the Pergamon Museum Berlin © SMB, Foto: Becker

The two storeys with richly decorated columns, entablatures and gables are inspiring. The Mshatta Façade from a desert palace of the Umayyad caliphs in present-day Jordan is rich in filigree stucco walls. This is presented in the bright rooms of the Museum of Islamic Art.

Mshatta façade in the Pergamon Museum Berlin
Mshatta façade in the Pergamon Museum Berlin © SMB, Foto: Becker

You can also catch a glimpse of a magnificent dome from the Alhambra in Granada and prayer niches from Turkey and Iran.

Highlights of the Pergamon Museum

  • The famous Ishtar Gate from Babylon
  • The Asia Minor Pergamon Altar with its elaborate reliefs (currently closed)
  • Roman Market Gate of Miletus from the early 2nd century A.D.
  • The filigree Mshatta Façade from a Jordanian desert castle
  • Statuette of a Praying Man from Assur

Our recommendations: Attractions nearby

Five Berlin State museums form the ensemble on Museum Island. The highlight par excellence in the Neuen Museum is the famous bust of Nefertiti. The museum also presents a true-to-the-original Egyptian court, mummies and valuable papyrus scrolls. Right next door at the Lustgarten, the mighty rotunda dome welcomes you as soon as you enter the Alten Museums. Behind the columns and sculptures you will reach the collection of Roman and Greek sculpture. The Alte Nationalgalerie, on the other hand, is perfect for lovers of German painting. Classics such as Caspar David Friedrich and the landscape painter Carl Blechen take centre stage. You can also marvel at the famous Princesses Group sculpture by the designer of the Quadriga on the Brandenburger Tor, Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow. On the northern part of Museum Island you will find the Bode-Museum with its striking copper dome. You can embark on a fascinating tour of the Coin Cabinet and the Museum of Byzantine Art inside this majestic building. Just a few minutes’ walk away, the Deutsche Historische Museum Unter den Linden offers an exciting overview of German history.

Recommendations and tips for your visit

You can easily reach the Pergamon Museum from the U5 underground station Unter den Linden and from summer 2021 the U5 will stop right in front of Museum Island. But it’s also not far to walk from the S-Bahn station at Friedrichstraße and the S-Bahn station at Hackescher Markt is also close by. Trams M1 and 12 stop at nearby Kupfergraben, and buses 100 and 200 stop at Lustgarten on Unter den Linden.

If you fancy visiting all the museums on Museum Island, use the Berlin WelcomeCard Museumsinsel. With it, you can visit all the museums on Museum Island for free on three consecutive days (excluding special exhibitions). If you have the Museumspass, you can even visit 37 other museums in Berlin free of charge.