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A beautiful and mysterious landscape full of tradition
The Great Acropolis

Pergamon was the ancient Greek city of Aeolis, in modern day located 26 kilometers from the Aegean Sea. Today the main sites of ancient Pergamon are to the north and west of the modern city of Bergama. It became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period under the Attalid Dynasty 281-133 BC. Pergamon is also cited in the Book of Revelation as one of the seven churches of Asia Minor.

In antiquity it was first mentioned as caputed by Xenophon in 399BC and then recaptured by the Persians.   The Attalid dynasty began in 281AD, they were loyal supporters of Rome and were allied with Rome against the Macedonian Wars. The Attiads ruled with intelligence and generosity and sent out their artisans to outlying towns and shared their taxes. They remodeled the Acropolis of Pergamon based on the Acropolis in Athens. When Attalus 111 died in 133BC without an heir he bequeathed the whole of Pergamon to Rome.

Pergamon reached the height of its greatness under Roman rule and was home to about 200,000 citizens. The city was an early seat of Christianity and was bishopric by the 2nd century. It is mentioned in the Book of Revelations that it is the dwelling place of Satan and the location of his throne. The city was badly damaged by an earthquake in 262AD and was sacked by the Goths. The Persians were driven out in 62 AD and it was rebuilt by Byzantium Emporer Constans II. The Selcuk Turks were in control of all of Anatolia but it returned to Byzantine control until it was taken over by Karsids in 1336, forerunners of the Ottoman Empire in 1357.

What to See and Do

The Great Alter of Pergamon is in the Berlin Museum, however the base remains on the upper part of the Acropolis. Other notable structures still in existence are The Hellenistic Theatre – the steepest of any known theatre in the ancient world. The Sanctuaries of Trajan and Anthena, the Library, Royal Palaces and a shrine where the Attalus and Eumenes were worshiped.  The main site is accessible by a Gondala from the base of the site.

Down the valley approximately 3 kilometres is the Sanctuary of Asciepius, the god of healing. People with health problems could bathe in the waters of the sacred spring. Galen, the most famous doctor of the ancient Roman Empore worked in the Ascelpium for many years.     Notable structures include the Temples of Telesphonrus and Asciepius, and the Via Tecta. The Serapis Temple is known today as the Red Basilica located about 1 kilometre south of the Acropolis. At this temple St Antipas, the Bishop of Pergamon, was ordained by St John the Apostle. He was supposedly burnt alive by an angry mob.

What to buy

There are a few souvenirs available at the entrance to the site of Pergamon and also at the Gondola station, other than that it is best to leave your shopping until Selcuk or Istanbul.

What to eat

In the town of Bergama located in the town near the ruins of Pergamon there are some great local restaurants where you can eat. Koy Evi is great for home cooked food, Kervan has a large outdoor terrace and great food, and Sigme has the best patisseries in town.

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