Monday, 12 December 2011

Berlin: Babylon's Ishtar Gate in Berlin!

The sensational Ishtar Gate built in the 6th century BC by King Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon was excavated in the early 20th century and reconstructed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin in the 1930's.  The morning after our visit to the Museum, there was a front page photo in Der Spiegel of the same gate in Iraq - ironically, the one in Babylon is just a reproduction!   It was amazing how the Germans managed to transport this treasure all the way to Berlin and rebuilt it stone by stone.  The blue you see is of course the famous lapis lazuli, the stunning blue stone.  Here is a grand example of plunder by a foreign state, and yet, if it were not for this state sponsored thievery, we may not have been able to see the real thing - it could very well have been destroyed in the massive bombing during the war in Iraq - fodder for the continued debate rationalizing state theft - misappropriation or protection of world heritage??

Matching necklace?

Here is another example of the same - the Pergamon Altar, the namesake for the Pergamon Museum, built in 160 - 180 BC in Pergamon, Asia Minor as an altar to Zeus - the centrepiece just inside the entrance.   You would enter and find yourself gawking, stunned at the size of this monumental tribute to the gods.  It certainly achieved the desired effect.

For something a bit more subtle - an exquisite vessel 

The beautiful carved ceiling of a reconstructed temple

And for something on more of a human scale - a child playing a dice game in stone

And these were just in one of the many museums on Museum Island!

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