The richly decorated façade of the early Islamic desert palace of Mshatta was presented as a gift from the Ottoman sultan to the German emperor in 1903, when it was trasported from the Jordanian desert to Berlin, where it now forms the centrepiece of the Museum für Islamische Kunst’s collection, on show in the Pergamonmuseum. Its accession history began with a series of photographs of the façade which circulated among European archaeologists and art historians around the turn of the century and eventually also landed in the hands of Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Photographs would also later play a pivotal role in the archaeological and museological study of Mshatta. Photographic records were made at several key moments in its recent history: before and during the facade’s dismantling, after the structure was hit by a bomb in World War II, and during its subsequent restoration in the 1950s. Photographic documentation also formed the basis for recurring debates surrounding the facade’s reconstruction and museum display.
The Mshatta Facade is about to be transported once again, as the Pergamonmuseum prepares for extensive renovation, and the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum for Islamic Art) now presents selected highlights from the remarkable photographic biography of this unique monument.
Address / Getting there
partially wheelchair accessible
Please note: Pergamonmuseum is exclusively entered through James-Simon-Galerie!
Site plan: Entrance to the Pergamonmuseum and Neues Museum (PDF)
All groups meet at the information desk at the upper foyer in James-Simon-Galerie, entering by using the big stairway.
Advice for group visits to the Pergamonmuseum an the Neues Museum (PDF)
Due to a technical issue, the lift is out of service until further notice, meaning the Museum für Islamische Kunst is not currently wheelchair accessible. The major architectural exhibits – such as the Processional Way, featuring the Ishtar Gate and the Market Gate of Miletus – are still accessible to people with mobility issues.
U-Bahn: Museumsinsel (U5)
S-Bahn: Friedrichstraße, Hackescher Markt
Tram: Am Kupfergraben, Hackescher Markt
Bus: Staatsoper, Lustgarten, Friedrichstraße
Low-carbon public transport connections
Prices / Tickets