Bergama (Pergamon) - Turkey

Bergama (Pergamon)

Bergama Overview
It is a town in the province of Izmir. The town, established inland proximately to the sea, was called Pergamum in antiquity. The first settlement dates back to archaic period. It was the capital of the Pergamon Kingdom in Hellenistic period. It was also a cultural center.

During the reign of Attalus II the city was given to the Roman Empire. It was an important settlement in the Roman period, too. In this period, strong relations were established among Egypt, Aegean and continental Greece and Anatolia. The city, which is divided into three major parts as upper, central and lower, has a number of ancient remains.

The Acropolis (the upper city) is on a steep hill where the remains of the Grand Theatre, temples, the altar of the Temple of Zeus, and the palace can be seen. The altar of the Temple of Zeus, distinctive among the others of its time, was, unfortunately, removed to Berlin Museum in Bergama Museum.

1988. The Hellenistic period altar is horse-shoe shaped and consists of four parts. It is the most impressive example of Hellenistic period altars. The central part is the site of the present city of Bergama. In this part, is the Red Court, built for the Egyptian goddess Serapis. The lower part was dedicated to the God of Medicine, Aesclepios and his daughter Hygen. Legend states that, the Romans worshipped to the God of medicine, Aesculopius and made Zeus jealous of him, so Zeus killed Aesclepios with his thunderbolts. The Aesclepion, out of the city center, offered medical care in this period. There were healing springs, sleeping rooms for psychotherapy and medical services in the Aesclepion. The 820 -meter Sacred Way used to lead the Aesclepion to the city. Some parts of the Sacred Way have been uncovered.

Pergamun was a diocese, so it is known that one of the first seven churches was built here.

Upon the capture of the city by the Ottomans in the 14th Century, it became the major city in the area. In this period, the city was founded on its present site nearby the fortress. Bergama is one of the cities in Anatolia, which were built near the ancient cities and adopted Turkish – Islamic culture best.

Because of the lively commercial life of the city, there are a lot of bazaars and hans here. The major Ottoman monuments, the Yıldırım Mosque, old houses, the Bedesten and hands, can be seen in the city.