The ancient city of Pergamon has come alive in Berlin
It's a pleasant day in the city of Pergamon, and hundreds of people clog the streets for religious festivities or linger around the theatre trying to catch a glimpse of Emperor Hadrian visiting town. Pergamon is a prosperous town, no ruins are to be seen, and even the colourful frieze of Gods and Giants around the Great Altar is complete.
In the middle of all this, several dozen journalists from the 21st century are gaping at the panorama. They stand on the 15 m high platform of a flimsy metal guard tower that shakes whenever someone comes up the narrow stairs. The whole town and its bustling life consist of 2500 m2 of printed polyester panels hanging in a purpose-built rotunda in front of the Pergamon Museum.
In contrast to the grand panoramas popular around 1900, such as the Crucifixion Panorama in Altötting or the impressive Racławice Panorama now hanging in Wrocław, this one is not meant to be a permanent installation. It will only accompany the Pergamon exhibition in the Museum itself, which will be open for one year. And yet its creator, Yadegar Asisi, spent several years working on it. It may not be hand-painted like the older panoramas (except for the glow-in-the-dark parts), but since archaeologists had a say in every last detail of the crowded scene, a lot of research went into the computerised reconstruction of the setting.
The exhibition beyond shows hundreds of finds from the antique city, many of them for the first time, plus some replicas of major statues found in Pergamon. The Pergamon exhibition and the Pergamon Panorama are open from 30 September 2011 until 30 September 2012 in the Berlin Pergamon Museum.