Temple of Trajan Pergamon
Temple of Trajan, Pergamon
Asclepion Pergamon
Asclepion, Pergamon
Theater Pergamon
Theater, Pergamon
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PERGAMON

Situated at the outskirts of the modern day Turkish city Bergama, Pergamon was one of the principal centers of Hellenistic civilisation in the region although the settlement here goes back to as early as 12th century BC. Ruled by Persians in 6th century BC, the city was inevitably conquered by Alexander the Great in 334 BC.

Eumenis II, grand children of a nephew of a Pergamon commander who had taken control of the city along with a considerable treasure from the Macedonians after Alexander the Great's death, finally managed to build the Pergamon Kingdom in 2nd century BC. With this power and wealth that the the golden era of Pergamon had started. The kingdom became a part of the Roman Empire in 129 BC.

Pergamon is a beautiful ancient treasure literally filled with buildings and temples but it is also a city of innovation. The first psychotherapy treatment center, Asclepion, was build here. Also the parchment (or Pergamene paper that was made of treated animal skin) was invented in Pergamon due to a necessity caused by the lack of papyrus importation from Alexandria. Papyrus was a very important material for Pergamon as its library was competing against the biggest library of the same era, the library of Alexandria.

Pergamon is also famous for its role in the early days of Christianity and it is mentioned as one of the Seven Churches of Revelation.

"Shouldn't miss" list is rather long but is definitely worth visiting:

The Pergamon Acropolis situated at the top of a hill.

The Theater, with a capacity of 10,000 spectators, again built against a hill like most of the other theaters in Western Anatolia.

Asclepion, a stunning example of an ancient times medical center. It was in fact established by Archias who had also practised medicine at Asclepion of Epidaurus in Greece. But the name really boosted the fame of Asclepion of Pergamon in 2nd century AD is Galen, a former Gladiator healer, personal MD of the Roman Emperor. He was a Pergamon born physician (considered as the first one in the modern medical history), educated in Alexandria. He was the one who excelled the practices of massage, mud baths, use of herbal curing methods and dream analyzing in Asclepion. His teachings at the medical school of Pergamon featured the signs of the first systematic medical theory, medical research, and of course application.

The Pergamon Library which once hosted more than 200,000 units of transcriptions. Oddly, they were then given to Cleopatra as a gift from Marcus Antonius, the famous Roman Emperor. These books have indeed ended up in the Library of Alexandria which once was the biggest rival of the Pergamon Library. Unfortunately, they are believed to be destroyed during a revolt there.

Red Courtyard or Red Basilica, a building made of red bricks which dates back to 2nd century AD. Originally dedicated to the Egyptian god Serapis, then converted to a Basilica by the Byzantians.

The Temples of Zeus and Dionsyos.

Trajan and Athena temples.

There is also a small Archaeology Museum and a Museum of Ethnography in Pergamon which are worth visiting to see some statues and art work transferred from the ruins.

Pergamon is situated at around 103 km from Izmir and daily tours from Istanbul and Izmir are available.

To get to Pergamon you can use bus and local minibus services or use a private Izmir Airport Transfer