Pergamon, ancient Greek city and Unesco World Heritage, situated on one of the hills surrounding Bergama, 26 kilometers from the Aegean Sea, on the North the river Bakircay. It’s a one and a half hours drive from Izmir. If you have to travel longer (as we did) you might consider staying overnight in one of the lovely boutique hotels in Bergama.
We ascended the Akropolis of Pergamon by cable car. A nice way to go up, especially in the summer when it is really hot. The city of Pergamon reached the height of its greatness under Roman imperial rule and was home to about 200,000 inhabitants. Pergamon is famous for the temple of Athena, although most of this famous temple, the Altar of Pergamon, has been moved to the Pergamon museum in Berlin, Germany. When you have a fear of heights, like I do, the amphitheatre is a challenge. It must be the steepest one I’ve ever visited. The Hellenistic theatre had a seating capacity of 10,000 and still offers some awesome views. The library at Pergamon was believed to contain 200,000 volumes, which Mark Anthony gave to Cleopatra as a wedding present.
At the base of the Akropolis you find the Sanctuary of Asclepius. This ancient healing complex might have been the first psychiatric hospital of the world, named after Asclepium the god of healing. In this complex patients could bathe in the water of the sacred spring, where Asclepius would appear in a vision to tell them how to cure their illness.
We stayed overnight in the little town of Bergama, less than 1 kilometer from the entrance of Pergamon. Bergama is known for its carpets, the history of carpet weaving dates back to the 11th century. It is a lovely authentic town, just walk around and enjoy. We stayed in a lovely little boutique hotel and found an excellent restaurant next door, Les Pergamon. This is by far one of the best restaurants in Turkey have been to so far (and believe me, I have been to many throughout the country!). We most certainly will come back to Bergama, Les Pergamon and this stunning Greek site.