The gate was built in the 2nd century AD, most likely during the reign of Emperor Hadrian about 120 to 130 AD. It replaced an existing Doric propylon and served as the northern entrance to the southern market, or agora, in Miletus, an ancient city in what is now Turkey. The gate underwent restoration in the 3rd century following damage from an earthquake. When Justinian strengthened the defenses of Miletus in 538, the gate was incorporated into the city walls. In the 10th or 11th century, an earthquake caused the gate to collapse. Fragments of the structure were scavenged and used in surrounding buildings, but the majority subsided into the ground.
German archaeologist Theodor Wiegand conducted a series of excavations in Miletus from 1899 through 1911. In 1903, the Market Gate of Miletus was excavated and from 1907 to 1908, fragments of the gate were transported to Berlin. Wiegand wrote in his diaries that he gave a presentation using models to Kaiser Wilhelm II, who was so impressed that he ordered the gate’s reconstruction at full scale “like a theater backdrop” in the Pergamon Museum.
From 1925 to 1929, the gate was reassembled in the recently expanded museum from over 750 tons of fragments. However, the fragments did not constitute the entirety of the gate, and fill material had to be used in the reconstruction. Reconstruction began by assembling the middle-floor entablature and placing the second story columns on top, followed by reconstructing the pediments. A base and ground floor were then inserted below. Brick and cement reinforced with steel supplemented the few remains of the lower structure. Original column fragments were bored out, leaving a thickness of 3 to 4 centimetres (1.2 to 1.6 in), and filled with steel and mortar. In the 1920s and 1930s, the museum was criticized for portraying its monuments as originals when they consisted significantly of non-original material.