In one of the world's most spectacular collections of ancient art and archaeology—the Pergamon Museum—visitors to Berlin have the opportunity to trace the development of art and culture across a broad historical and geographical spectrum. The exhibitions cover a wide swath of history, from ancient Babylonia, Persia, and Assyria to the civilizations of Greece and Rome. In this 3-hour tour in the company of an art historian or archaeologist, we'll dive into the museum’s priceless collections and piece together a narrative of ancient civilizations.
Please note: due to ongoing renovation work that started in 2014, the hall containing the Pergamon Altar is closed to the public. The renovations also interrupt some other areas of the museum, so we have devised an updated tour, described below, that takes these circumstances into account.
Pergamon Tour—Back in Time to Ancient Babylon
On our Pergamon tour, we'll see the awe-inspiring Processional Way, Ishtar Gate, and main façade of the throne hall of King Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC). These brilliantly-colored Babylonian structures will lead us into the Museum of the Ancient Near East, which ranks alongside the Louvre and the British Museum as one of the world’s most important collections of oriental treasures. As we explore significant examples of Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian art, we will also have the opportunity to examine other outstanding works of ancient monumental architecture: Assyrian palace reliefs from Kalchu (9th millennium BC), reconstructed sections of temple facades from Uruk (3rd and 2nd millennia BCE), and a model of the Tower of Babel.
"Absolutely fantastic walk, one of the best ever for us."
Artifacts from Another Age
The tour continues with an exploration of the architectural decorations, applied arts and crafts, jewelry, and rare illuminated manuscripts which make up the Museum of Islamic Art. Here, too, the architectural reconstructions are of the utmost interest and importance, conveying a sense of space and environment in a variety of different media: stone (the façade from Mshatta), stuccoes (archaeological finds from Samarra), painted wooden paneling (Aleppo Room), and ceramics (prayer niches from Kashan and Konya).
Gone, But Not Forgotten
By the end of this walk, we will have a good sense of the various cultural, geographical and historical contexts in which ancient civilizations developed and flourished. What is more, we will have had the opportunity to experience first-hand the size and scale of some of the greatest architectural monuments from some of the world’s most fascinating civilizations—without ever having left Berlin.
Want to stay in the ancient world (and on Museum Island)? We suggest our Neues Museum tour
Is the museum wheelchair accessible and/or suitable for those with mobility issues?
Yes, the museum is fully wheelchair accessible.
What do we focus on during the walk, in the absence of the Pergamon Altar and items from the Iranian, Babylonian, and Islamic collections?
The Pergamon Altar is the most significant item that is not currently on display. The three museum collections housed at the Pergamon Museum remain open to visitors: the Museum of the Ancient Near East and its Ishtar Gate, Museum of Islamic Art, and the Collection of Classical Antiquities with its Roman Architecture Hall, featuring the Market Gate of Miletus.
We would prefer to purchase passes for all of Museum Island, instead of tickets to an individual museum. Is this possible?
Yes, not a problem. Please let us know in the Notes section when placing your order that you would like to purchase Museum Island passes. We'll follow up with you directly.