Restoring the Legendary Ishtar Gate: A Journey to Babylon’s Iconic Site

A Heritage from Home Event

This event is part of the Heritage from Home series and took place virtually on Thursday, September 15, 2022, at 12:00 PM (ET). See below for more information on the discussion, including the event description and speaker information.

Event Description

Founded more than 4000 years ago on the banks of the Euphrates River, the ancient city of Babylon was once the capital of a vast, sophisticated empire. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the worlds most important archeological sites.

By all accounts, the most iconic symbol of this legendary site is the great Ishtar Gate, a massive gateway towering over a grand processional way into the inner city. The gate’s once cobalt-blue bricks and yellow-glazed relief animals are instantly recognizable and can be admired in relics and reproductions across the world.

Join us on a journey behind the scenes of this exceptional site and learn about World Monuments Funds (WMF) years-long effort to maintain and restore the Ishtar Gate with WMF Program Director Jeff Allen; Ammar al-Taee, Archaeologist at the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage; and Dr. Helen Gries, Curator at the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin, Germany.

Date: Thursday, September 15
Time: 12:00 pm (EDT)

WMF's work at Babylon is made possible thanks to support from the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Embassy Baghdad, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, and the J. M. Kaplan Fund.

About the Speakers

Helen Gries Headshot

Helen Gries

Curator, Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin

Helen Gries is an archaeologist specialized in Mesopotamian Archaeology and curator at the Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin. She has excavated in Syria, Iran, Jordan and Lebanon. Her research focuses on historic Mesopotamia during the 4th through 1st millennia BCE, particularly on the material culture of the first millennium BCE. She has published numerous articles on Mesopotamian glazed brick decorations and the development of the glazing technology, as well as an exhibition guide to the Ishtar Gate of Babylon.


Ammar al-Taee

Ammar al-Taee

Archaeologist, Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage

Ammar al-Taee is an archaeologist from the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH). Fully involved in the Future of Babylon Project, Ammar acts both as a liaison between SBAH and WMF and as WMF’s project archaeologist in charge of monitoring and coordinating work on-site. Prior to joining the Future of Babylon Project, Ammar worked in the Babil Inspectorate Guides Department at the Nebuchadnezzar II Museum in Babylon and, before that, in archaeological investigations in the Maysan Province Inspectorate of Iraq.


Jeff Allen

Program Director, World Monuments Fund

Jeff Allen joined WMF as a consultant on the Future of Babylon Project in 2009 and as a staff member in 2013. He specializes in managing field projects that contain community components, especially those aimed at building the capacity of local heritage professionals to encourage project sustainability.


About Heritage from Home

Heritage from Home brings viewers behind the scenes to some of World Monuments Fund’s most iconic sites around the globe. 

Subscribers to this series will receive a new video in their inbox once a month.