In the Collection of Classical Antiquities, the 2nd century BC Pergamon Altar, considered a Hellenistic masterpiece, has a frieze depicting a battle between the Gods and the Giants; the Market Gate of Miletus shows an important example of Roman architecture.
The Museum of the Ancient Near East, which ranks among the world’s best collections of treasures from this region, is dominated by the imposing bright blue glazed-brick Ishtar Gate of Babylon from 6th century BC. The gate is decorated with dragons, lions and bulls, symbolizing the major gods of Babylon; a transparent back wall lets visitors see how the massive gate was reconstructed from fragments. Also notable in this collection is the façade of the throne hall of King Nebuchadnezzar, a reconstructed Neo-Assyrian palace from the 12th century BC, and artifacts from the earliest history of the written word.
The Museum of Islamic Art was started in 1904 with a donation of precious carpets by Wilhelm von Bode. Such textiles still make up a major part of the exhibition, with colourful examples from Iran, Asia Minor, Egypt and the Caucuses on view. Highlights from the collection of 8th – 19th century Islamic art and craft include the 17th century Aleppo Zimmer, a vividly coloured panelled room from a merchant’s house in the Syrian city of Aleppo that is painted with Arabian and Persian verses and sayings and pictures of people, plants, and mythical beings. Major restoration of the Pergamon is underway, but the museum will stay open throughout the process.