Hattusa is a huge complex site just on the outskirts of the modern village of Boğazkale in Turkey. Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire occupied by the Hatti from circa 2500BC onwards. The Hattusa Sphinx on display in the Pergamon Museum belonged to a pair of sphinxes from the Sphinx Gate of the Yerkapi rampart at Hattusa which date to circa 1400BC.
The Code of Hammurabi was discovered during excavations of Susa in 1902. Susa was an ancient city of the Elamite, Persian and Parthian empires located in modern day Iran. Known as the King of Justice, the ancient Babylonian King Hammurabi had a kingdom on the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris and ruled between 1792-1750BC. The Code of Hammurabi was a collection of legal documents with law and order as a divine mandate. A copy of the stele (upright stone slab or pillar bearing an inscription) is on display in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
Miletus was an ancient Greek City near the west coast of modern day Turkey. The theatre of Miletus was originally built in the 4th century BC but was enlarged under the Roman Emperor Trajan during the 2nd century AD. On display in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin is a relief which depicts the Greco-Roman god Apollo standing between two torch bearers. The marble relief, which was originally on the rear facade of the theatre, is similar to that of the 6th century BC archaic cult statue by Kanochos of Sikyon.
Sam’al was a colony founded in the 18th BC which became part of the Hittite Empire. Sam’al is located in modern day Turkey which was excavated during the 19th and 20th centuries. Dating to the 8th century BC, a Sam’al double sphinx column base is on display in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. The basalt column bases were at the entrance of the Palace of Zincirli which was within the ancient walled city.
King Menua was a Urartian King in Ancient Asia Minor. He was the son of King Išpuini and ruled between c810 – c785BC. Menua built irrigation channels near Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands with construction of the fortress of Qalat Gah also attributed to him. The Menua Channel, also known as the Semiramis Channel, was one of a number of water channels which served the area of the capital Tuşpa. A cuneiform inscription (above) is on display in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin giving details that the son of King Išpuini, King Menua, constructed a building 10km north-east of Lake Van. The Menua Channel was marked by a number of such inscriptions.
The ancient city of Baalbek in Lebanon contains temple architecture of both colossal scale and architectural artistry. Baalbek was known as Heliopolis during the Hellenistic period. The Imperial Roman empire of the late 1st – 3rd centuries established sanctuaries, built on top of earlier ruins, which attracted thousands of pilgrims.
The sanctuary of the Heliopolitan Jupiter was the principle temple at Baalbek from which the above sculpted stonework was excavated. The temple was richly decorated with exquisitely detailed stonework with construction beginning during the reign of Emperor Augustus in the late 1st century BC and completed soon after AD 60 under Nero. The stonework is on display in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
The ancient Greek city of Pergamon sits along the coastline of Turkey and once dominated the entire region. The buildings and monuments of Pergamon were constructed of white marble in the Hellenistic style. The Pergamon Altar was built during the 2nd century BCE and is associated with the temple that was dedicated to the Greek god Zeus.
The altar was excavated by the German archaeologist and architect Carl Humann during the 19th century. The altar was rebuilt stone by stone in Berlin with the Pergamon Museum opening in 1930 displaying the Pergamon Altar as its centrepiece.
The altar has a huge sculptural frieze which depicts the Gigantomachy which in Greek mythology was a battle between the gods and giants.
Ionic columns support the roof of the altar.