Learn more about Ishtar Gate
The Ishtar Gate was the eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon. It was constructed in about 575 BC by order of King Nebuchadrezzar II on the north side of the city. Dedicated to the Assyrian goddess Ishtar, the Gate was constructed of blue glazed tiles with alternating rows of bas-relief sirrush (dragons) and bulls. The roof and doors of the gate were of cedar, according to the dedication plaque. Through the gate ran the Processional Way which was lined with walls covered in lions on glazed bricks (about 120 of them). Statues of the gods were paraded through the gate and down the Processional Way each year during the New Year's celebration.
A reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way was built at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin out of material excavated by Robert Koldewey and finished in the 1930s. It includes the inscription plaque. It stands 47 feet high and 32 feet wide (14 meters by 10 meters). The excavation ran from 1902-1914 and during that time 45 ft of the foundation of the gate was uncovered.
Parts of the gate and lions from the Processional Way are in various other museums around the world. Only two museums acquired dragons while lions went to several museums. The Istanbul Archaeology Museum has lions, dragons and bulls. The Detroit Institute of Arts houses a dragon; the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Oriental Institute in Chicago, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Röhska Konstslöjdsmuseet in Gothenburg, Sweden and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston each have lions.
A reproduction of the gate was built in Iraq as the entrance to a museum that was never completed.