Monday, November 14, 2011

God is in the Detail: Scaling Memory

It had been five years since my last visit to Berlin and before that, 31 years.  That latter visit was so memorable because 1979 were those steely Iron Curtain days when West Berlin was an "island" of the country.  A mysterious and surreptitious air surrounded the visit: the gloomy and somewhat uncomfortable Checkpoint Charlie and, although the Unter den Linden was beautifully spruced up to give foreigners the impression that all was well in the East, occasionally, a small black car passed the desolate wide streets.  My godmother and I were the only visitors to the Pergamon Museum that day.  Our only other companions were the sound of her heels clicking on the marble floors in those giant pantheonic rooms and the tired but nonetheless "at attention" guards, watching over the enormous installations.

My recent visit was a vast contrast to my first.  This time it seemed as though all was in technicolor: lines of people buying entrance tickets, bus loads of tourists decamping, headsets, and racks of vibrant postcards.  And although part of the museum is under restoration and there were hundreds of people scaling the Pergamon temple and crowding the surrounding rooms, my past memories were wonderfully renewed, and it was nice to relive that cherished and exciting moment from my childhood.

The temple of Pergamon, built in 250 BC as a gift to the gods after
the assassination attempt of King Pergamon failed.
processional gate of Babylon (560BC)...glazed terracotta
tiles cover the entire structure
fragments from colossal emperor statues
A model of the original temple


  1. I am glad you experienced the city again. It is such an extraordinary place; unique of its kind even. And do come back!

    This was our first trip to Berlin this year:


  2. Reminds me of Roman and Babylonian empire ruins. These pieces should be preserved.