From Babylon to Berlin
The Ishtar Gate & The Processional Way Lined with 120 Striding Lions.
Ishtar Gate was an enormous burnt-brick entryway located over the main road in the ancient city of Babylon.Built about 575 BCE, it became the eighth fortified gate in the city.It was named for Ishtar,the most widely worshiped goddess in Babylon.The Gate was more than 38 feet (12 m) high and was decorated with glazed brick reliefs of 575 dragons and bulls in 13 rows.Through the gate ran the stone- and brick-paved Processional Way,lined with flowers and 120 figures of Striding Lions to protect the street and to guide the Ritual Processions from the city to the Temple.Lions were a common theme in the art of the ancient Near East,they were associated with Royalty and envisioned as protectors of the Royal House & the city.
"House of the New Year's Festival."
The Gate itself was a double one, and on its south side was a vast entrance hall.Through the gatehouse ran the Processional Way,the most important street in Babylon leading from the inner city through the Ishtar Gate to the Bit Akitu - "The house of the New Year's Festival."
* 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 stands 47 feet high and 100 feet wide (14 by 30 meters).The excavation ran from 1899 to 1917 and 45 feet of the foundation of the gate was uncovered.
As it was mentioned above,it was a double gate; the part that is shown in the Pergamon Museum today is the smaller,frontal part.The larger,back part was considered too large to fit into the constraints of the structure of the museum and it is kept in storage.Other parts of the Gate are in various museums around the world.