Grammar's Travel travel blog

Oct 13

It was a lovely morning and we wandered slowly across the centre of town to the Pergamon Museum. On the way we passed Checkpoint Charlie; the dramatic Bethlehem church sculpture; and Gendarmenmarkt with the two Protestant churches - one German and the other French Huguenot - with the magnifcent Konzert Hall in between.

We stopped at the memorial against oppression that consists of a circular building with a hole in the roof. Below the roof is a striking sculpture by Kathe Kallowitz. When Ruth was there in the past (1964) the sculpture was just a large hunk of stone.

We almost went to the wrong museum on museum island as the Altes museum also has a colonnaded front, but we finally got to the Pergamon and spent about four hours in the museum (with a break for reviving tea). The Pergamon is absolutely astounding. It has unparalleled collections of Babylonian and other 3000 to 4000 year old buildings, and artifacts from Asia Minor. It also has a very rich collection of Islamic art. Some rooms are totally taken up with reconstructions of buildings, or corridors or friezes moved there from their original locations. "Gobsmacking", as Ruth as is wont to say. There is, of course, much controversy about whether these magnificent structures and artifacts should be in Berlin or in their original countries. As with the Greek structures in the British Museum, many of these things would have been destroyed by acid rain in the 20th century had they stayed in situ (good, eh? I am learning Latin sf.) We did not hear this argument at the Pergamon but several times the audioguide noted when things had been given as a gift by a local ruler or had been purchased from some country.

We had dinner on our way home and watched a very large protest stream down "Unter der Linden" (a main street that ends at the Brandenburg Gate) We think the protest was about German's shabby treatment of persons seeking refugee status.

After dinner, we saw a couple of examples of the Festival of Lights, including an excellent light show on the Brandenburg Gate. Interesting that the US Embassy has a VERY prominent position, being almost immediately attached to the gate. There were special lights everywhere, including on the horse-drawn carriages and the velotaxis.

We returned via the Holocaust memorial because Grammar wanted to see it at night. It appears to have lights embedded in the cobblestones of every fourth row and if lit, this would be very dramatic. They were not lit; so we just stayed in the fringes where the stone blocks were not over our heads. Four acres of unlit corridors, uneven cobblestones and up to four meter high blocks towering and tilting over our heads was too scary.

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