Pergamon Museum

Trip Start Sep 24, 2012
Trip End Nov 02, 2012

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Flag of Germany  , Berlin,
Thursday, October 25, 2012

On the top of the ' must do' list for Berlin was the Pergamon Museum, and with rainy weather forecasted an indoor museum time was planned. Michael would like it to be noted that without a map he managed to get us all the right place, without any deviations.
The Pergamon museum display was more spectacular than I had imagined, particularly due to scale and detail of items. There is a full 170 BC temple alter with detail, complex and graphic sculpting where Europeans did not achieve this for another 1600 years. Themes of mythology and stories of their gods in long wall panels have been reconstructed in a massive hall. Would would have been content to just to see this, then the next room we were in awe of the scale of Miletas market hall gates, 1-3 C, and then walking through these the Ishtar Gate 604 BC was displayed. The market gate is beautifully proportioned architecture of stone columns and arches. The Ishtar Gate and Processional Way has a frieze of glazed bricks of vivid of deep blue with lions, dragons and bulls in rows up the walls it then went on to room after room of antiquities from Babylon and beyond. Another floor held the Islamic Art and antiquities with the highlight being a section of the walls of the Mshatta palace in Jordan 8th C. Never completely finished, the Bedouins had used it for centuries and this section was given as a gift a German banker.

The afternoon was a contrast from the morning display of human positive achievement as we visited the Topography of Terror display and museum. Here we continued to learn by photographs, film, personal and propaganda writing of the rise to power of Hitler and the Third Reich and their totally disturbing quest for power and annihilation of anyone they thought of as sub-human: the Jews, gypsies, anyone with any disability (e.g. Epilepsy) or a-social leanings (e.g. Homosexuals, social democrats, communists), and eventually anyone who did not totally conform to the Nazi ideals and behaviour, e.g. Not doing the salute to any official or soldier. This was cruel long but important to do and continued on the terrible history from the Holocaust museum two days ago. Again there were particular stories or photos that distressed me most. The photo of a 6 year old girl told by her parents that she would be treated in the Reich's care, copies of the parent letters asking for visiting times and progress of treatment, when in fact she was killed.
In a very sombre mood we returned to our hotel in the evening to regroup emotionally and to share experiences with Mark and Ruth who had been elsewhere for the afternoon after the Pergamon. We all tried to process our experiences and feelings over dinner.
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