The biggest structure in the town is the Kizil Avlu (Red Basilica), a temple built of red brick in the 2nd century AD and dedicated to the gods of Egypt. The two pools in the temple with towers indicate ritual cleansing rites and a religious background that was neither Greek nor Roman. The fact that it faces west, and is decorated with statues in an Egyptian style, indicates that it was possibly presented to Serapis, the Egyptian god of the underworld. In the Byzantine period, it was turned into a church by extensive remodelling, especially to the apse sections, and was dedicated to the Apostle John. In early Christianity, it was one of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor addressed by St John in the Book of Revelation, who referred to it as the throne of the Devil. It was destroyed in the Arab raids of 716 to 717 AD, after which a smaller church was built within the ruins. Although it remains crumbling ruin today, it still contains the remains of a mosque in one of the towers. Take my advice and don't bother with the entrance fee as you can see pretty much the same from outside the perimeter railing.
The Archaeology Museum not only has exhibits from Pergamon but also an ethnography section which displays local costumes, a loom, some recreated cultural scenes, textiles, embroidery, swords and weapons, carpets and everyday items.
Open: 8am-12pm & 1-5pm. Admission: TL5.
This excellent museum is located right in the middle of town and exhibits a fine selection of finds from Pergamon which include a large number of statues that date from the 4th century BC that formed part of the so-called "Pergamon School". Other exhibits include stone inscriptions, tombstones and sarcophaguses, mosaics, small figurines, and parts of columns. The museum also has an ethnography section (see next tip) and a scale model of the Altar of Zeus which is now on display in Berlin. There's also several exhibits outside.
Open: 8am-12pm & 1-5pm. Admission: TL5.
As well as the theatre, this temple is one of the most famous and picturesque sights that still remains at Pergamon. Construction started during the reign of Emperor Trajan (98-117 AD) and was completed during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD) and has since been reconstructed to show off its wonderful white marble columns and carved frieze reliefs. Measuring 68 x 58 m, the temple sits perched upon a high terrace surrounded on three sides by covered promenades. As it was built during the reign of two emperors, both of the emperors were worshipped here as colossal heads of statues of Trajan and Hadrian honouring them were found here.
If you not into heights then it's probably best not to look down over the vertigo-inducing theatre which takes advantage of the naturally steep hill to offer its citizens a wonderful view whilst watching a play or listening to music. It was built around 180 BC, could accommodate 10,000 spectators and was the steepest of any Greek theatre. The stage was set on a 246m wide terrace that was three storeys high. Holes for putting in the pegs that held the wooden stage can still be seen. After the Romans took over the city in 133 BC they redecorated the facade behind the stage in marble.
Located on top of a hill just above modern day Bergama, the views from the top from the Acropolis (meaning High City) are pretty spectacular. Try and take them in during the morning when the sun is shining from behind the hill.
After entering through the City Walls, you come to a large flat area which used to be the Temple of Athena. The temple was dedicated to the city-goddess Athena and to Zeus and was the oldest temple known in Pergamon having been built in the 4th century BC. It was surrounded by Doric columns, 6 to the front and rear, 10 to each side. A double-aisled stoa with attached library was added on the northern side of the temple during the time of Eumenes II (197-159 BC). The reputed 200,000 scrolls kept here were carried off by Anthony in 41 BC and presented to Cleopatra as a wedding present. A single-aisled stoa on the southern side was probably added later in the 2nd century AD.
All that remains of the spectacular Altar of Zeus is the base as the main Altar now sits in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin after being carted off there by German archaeologists in the 19th century. It was built during the reign of Eumenes II in the first half of the second century BC and is decorated with a frieze in high relief showing the battle between the Giants and the Olympian gods known as the Gigantomachy.
After buying your entrance ticket, the first thing you'll come to are the main citadel walls. The peak of the hill was first fortified in the 4th or 5th century BC and these were enlarged by Philetairos (282-263 BC). The greatest expansion of the city occurred under Eumenes II (197-159 BC) to include numerous gates and towers and the walls had a total length of some 4km. During Roman times, the city grew to have around 150,000 inhabitants and so building was needed on the plains without the need for protective walls. Walls of mixed brick and stone were then built by the Byzantines as a defence against Arab attack.
Located on top of a hill just above modern day Bergama, Pergamon was one of the most spectacular cities in the Greek ancient world. The settlement became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period, under the Attalid dynasty, 281–133 BC. At the centre of Pergamon is the Acropolis (meaning High City) where the main ruins that remain today, are located. These include the vertigo-inducing theatre which takes advantage of the naturally steep hill to offer its citizens a wonderful view whilst watching a play or listening to music; the remains of the Altar of Zeus, which now lies in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin; and the Temple of Trajan complete with wonderful white marble columns and carved frieze reliefs. The views over the town are very special and try and take them in during the morning when the sun is shining from behind the hill.
Open: 8.30am-5.30pm. Admission: TL20.
This large temple lies beside the Temple of Asclepius and is dedicated to another god of medicine. Patients used to sleep here in the hope that Telesphorus would send a cure or diagnosis in a dream. Incidentally, Telesphorus had 2 daughters, Hygeia and Panacea... both with strong medical connections.
This domed temple with its exceptionally thick 3m walls was built in 150 AD, with donations made to the god of health. The interior was decorated with colourful marble mosaics, and surrounded by galleries on three sides.
Asclepion translates as 'place of Asclepius', the son of Apollo and the god of healing and health, and was an important health centre in Greco-Roman times. Among the types of therapy practiced here were mud baths, sports, theatre, psychotherapy and use of medicinal waters. It is believed that it has existed since the 4th century BC and features two temples, a small theatre with a capacity of 3,500 people, rooms where the patients were cured by the sound of water and music, and a library.
To get here, take the road uphill from the Kursunlu Mosque, just north of the Archaeology Museum, and follow it for about 1km.
The ancient acropolis of Pergamum (about 323 BC to 129 BC) turned out to be one of the most impressive sites we saw on our trip. We spent most of the morning walking around; it is quite large. The 10,000 seat ancient theatre goes down the side of a steep hill, so you enter from the top down small stairways through tunnels from the main area above. The views are awesome. This is the original site of the reconstructed Altar of Zeus that now resides in a museum in Berlin.
This is where the patients would sleep. Some evenings they would just have the flowing water as background and then had to record their dreams, others they had the hissing snakes next door and had to record their dreams and accordingly they received treatment.