Please note the changed opening hours of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin since 16 April 2024. More

Samarra Revisited
New Perspectives on the Excavation Photographs from the Palaces of the Caliph

04.03.2022 to 28.08.2022

What actually happens behind the scenes at the museum? This exhibition offers a deeply personal insight into the work carried out in museums. Using historical photographs from the museum archive taken between 1911 and 1913 in Samarra, Iraq, staff from the Museum für Islamische Kunst will report on their diverse work with finds from different archaeological excavations.

The photographs were taken during the first systematic excavations of an Islamic archaeological site, led by the museum director Friedrich Sarre (1865–1945) and his colleague Ernst Herzfeld (1879–1948). Situated some 125 km north of Baghdad, the city of Samarra is one of the principal sites in Islamic art history and archaeology. It served as the temporary seat of government of the Abbasid caliphs between 836 and 892 and replaced the official capital of Baghdad during this time.

A large number of the excavation finds ended up at the Museum für Islamische Kunst in Berlin. These finds are still being investigated and exhibited in the museum to this day. Museum staff are also ensuring that they are made accessible online as well as for various educational projects.

The Museum für Islamische Kunst’s digitisation of the photographic documentation of the Samarra excavation was made possible by the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek as part of the “Neustart Kultur” programme funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).

James-Simon-Galerie, Bodestraße
10178 Berlin

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

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Pergamon museum
12,00 EUR Concessions 6,00
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Museum Island + Panorama
19,00 EUR Concessions 9,50
all exhibitions
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Annual Ticket from 25,00 EUR

Tel 030 - 266 42 42 42 (Mon - Fri, 9 am - 4 pm)
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Related Links

Research Project: Contextualising Archaeological Finds: Digitising the Photographic Documentation of the Excavations of the Museum of Islamic Art in Samarra (present-day Iraq), 1911–13