A day of revisiting

Today was a day of revisiting, revisiting the past at the Pergamon Museum and revisiting the Totentanz at the Marienkirche, Nicolai Viertel, Marx and Engels square, Museeninsel, Unter den Linden and Potsdammer Platz.

Quickly we enter the Marienkirche where I buy a small book ‘Der Berliner Totentanz zu St. Marien.’ The book has a small cultural historical introduction about the theme of the Dance of Death. The dance of death is a fascinating subject and one of the great themes of the medieval era. The black plague like aids in Africa in our time, knows no difference in rank or class, but irrespective of a man’s being passes its sentence on our souls. The Totentanz in the Marienkirche, the Church of Mary, contains a small verse to remind each of the dignitaries of their insignificance in the eyes of death.

At the Museeninsel, we went inside the Pergamon museum. The Pergamon Museum is probably the most prominent museum in Berlin and the first of all musea to be on the attractions list of all tourists. A visit to the Pergamon Temple, a book example of Hellenistic culture, is something to advertise in the travel section: 5-days Berlin, see the Pergamon Temple! It is therefor a magnificent attraction not for nothing. The temple is dedicated to Telephos, son of Heracles and Auge and legendary founder of Pergamon. The inner frieze of the temple, now found at the top of the stairs leading to the entrance, tells the story of the life of Telephos, starting with Heracles being blinded by the beauty of Auge, daughter of king Aleos, priestess of the goddess Athena, and as such she is obliged to remain chaste. Classic Greek mythology like the Oedipus myth is intertwined in this founding myth of Pergamon. The frieze in the main hall depicts the famous battle between the gods and the giants, probably a referrence to the defeat of ..
The Pergamon Museum has just an amazing collection of antiquities at display. This is even without the Schliemann treasure, of which now the Agamemnon death mask is in the Moscow archives, and the Egyptian archaeological treasures. The marketgate of Miletos was reconstructed here, after it was destroyed by an earthquake and lie scattered in the Turkish dust for centuries.
Most impressive I find the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and the Mesopotamian department at the Pergamon in general. I have a predilection for Mesopotamia as the founding times of civilizations.

Tower of Babylon
Uruk
Wardak
Sam’al in north Syria

The Philharmonie und Kammermusiksaal was build between 1960 and 1963 and was and perhaps still is an amazingly progressive design, not only acoustically but architecturally as well. The uneven texture of small golden-colored, pyramid shaped tiles and the complete break from modernism and its derived variation of post-modernism, has still not been achieved by mainstream architecture of our days. Perhaps the Sony Center represents that renewed attempt to establish a new form in the urban landscape. Hans Scharoun in his time pioneered. The forms are somewhat reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s famous church, but the Futuristic composition of the Philharmonie attempts to create a dynamic in the outer form, to include the deconstruction of movement, and thereby plays with the character of the fourth dimension.
At first I mistake the Staatsbibliothek at the other side of the Potsdammer Strasse for an extension of the Philharmonie, but I regret not having realized it. We will return tomorrow to the Kulturforum and visit the musea and the Staatsbibliothek.

Ran for 20 minutes in Volkspark Hasenheide in the morning.

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