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Bergama or Pergamon

Bergama or Pergamon
Bergama is north-west of the Aegean region, 107km from Izmir’s city centre and 30km from the coastline. The archaeological remains found here date from Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras as well as pre-history. After being ruled by Persians and Lydians, Alexander the Great took over in 333 BC and Bergama went on to become one of the most outstanding and cultural centres of the Hellenistic era since 283 BC. At the time of Eumenes II’s (197-159 BC) reign the Pergamon acropolis had the finest of architectural buildings and sculptures and continued as an important centre into Roman times. It was also a diocese in Byzantine times and stone from older Hellenistic, Roman and ancient buildings were used as construction materials.

Main Artefacts

The most outstanding monuments at the site are the Asklepion which is on the south-west of Bergama, the Acropolis (or upper city) located on a hill 300m high, a Roman city (or middle city), Temple of Serapis (Red Courtyard) all dating back to the 2nd century AD. There are also mosques, madrasas, hans, bazaars, baths and traditional houses which represent the Turkish and Islamic culture.


The Acropolis is the site of the first settlement in Pergamon and its main structures are the Temple of Athena, Temple of Dionysos, Temple of Agora, Zeus Altar, a theatre with a capacity of 10,000, a library, heroon, palaces, arsenals, upper agora, stoas, propylon and remains of Hellenistic houses. 


Asklepion was an ancient healing centre and Asklepios, one of Apollo’s sons, was the god of healing and medicine. The ancient historian Pausanias mentions Pergamum Asklepion as being built  in the first half of the 4th century BC in a place known today as Ayvazali and it was in operation until the 4th century AD. Other ancient historians mention that the healing cult was brought to Pergamum in the mid-5th century BC by Arkhias who was the son of Aristakhminos from Pergamum. Therapies such as hydrotherapy, suggestion therapy and physical therapy were methods used on patients along with other treatments including psychotherapy, massage, herbal remedies, mud and bath treatments, dream interpretation, drinking sacred water, thirst and hunger cures and it was also a surgery.
Today in the southern part of the Asklepion there are three small temples, resting rooms, a sacred spring and pools, these date from Hellenistic times and were restored and renovated and used in Roman times.

  The theatre built in the western border of the northern gallery, had a capacity for 3,500 people and was the first Roman theatre in Anatolia that had a three storey stage, and later lathyrines were added in the northern border of the west gallery.

There was also a tunnel built underground near the sacred spring to protect patients from outside weather conditions. Asklepion was a very important medical centre of its time having a court with galleries, library, cult hall belonging to Emperor Hadrianus, and a circular planned Temple of Asklepios that was built in 150 AD which was a copy of the Pantheon in Rome, and it maintained its importance as a sacred site until the time of Christianity.

Click to watch the Bergama Video  

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