After having visited the pretty city of Bergama, located 2 hours North of Izmir, it is now time to discover the ancient site of Pergamon and its two diamonds: the Asclepieion and the Acropolis. The site was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014.
It is a relatively easy walk to the Asclepieion, where you can see the ruins of the temple built in 142. This sanctuary was dedicated to Asclepius, the god of healing and was used as a medical center. It was originally founded by Archias, a man from Pergamon who had been previously treated at the Asclepieion of Epidaurus in Greece, but it owes all its glory and reputation to Galen, the most celebrated physician in Antiquity. The patients were treated with the help of mud baths, herbs, ointments and massages.
A pretty Roman road leads from the entrance of the site to the ruins. They include, among others, the circular Temple of Telesphorus, the Roman theatre and the library.
In the distance you can see the hill and the magnificent Acropolis, located 3 km North of the Asclepieion. A cable car was installed a few years ago and will take you to the Acropolis, or you can just follow the winding road.
This vast site spreads across the top of the hill and comprises, among many other ruins, the remains of the library and its marble columns and the Temple of Trajan, built under the rules of emperors Hadrian and Trajan and dedicated to Zeus and Trajan himself!
In the 3rd century BC, the library had over 200 000 books, a sign of the important and flourishing social and cultural rise in Pergamon.
The theatre, built on a vertiginous hillside, offers an extraordinary view over the valley. It is the steepest ancient theatre known to the modern world and can accommodate 10 000 spectators. Below the stage are the remains of the Temple of Dionysus and South of the theatre you will find the base of the Great Altar of Pergamon. The monument itself is in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, where it was moved to in the 19th century with authorisation from the Sultan.
The ruins of many other structures are scattered over the hill, showing that Pergamon was once a great and glorious city.
Our next visit will be to the Archaeology Museum in Bergama.