Pergamon, a once-great city located in the Aegean Region 100 km west of Izmir, was first established on a hill over 400 meters above sea level. It was then expanded to become a major city between the Bakırçay and Kestel rivers. The city’s location along a depression fracture in the moat filled with silt from faults in the area provided it with 20 thermal sources, making Pergamon a renowned healing center. Today, it is part of the greater Izmir province.
Pergamon’s rich history dates back to ancient times and was home to several great civilizations and rulers. Its strategic location, surrounded by exceptional natural beauty in the mysterious East, led to numerous attacks and sieges over the years.
In its prime, Pergamon was famous for its parchment, which was an alternative to the papyrus from Egypt. It also housed the second largest library in antiquity with 200,000 volumes of books and was a renowned spa center comparable to Mayo Clinic. Additionally, Pergamon was a trade center in the West and a slave center of the ancient world, a place where Satan lived with 33 pagan gods, a military base of the Roman army in Asia Minor, a source of copper and gold mines, and the location of Dynosos feasts. These various functions made Pergamon one of the wealthiest cities of the ancient world.
The Ion, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman periods in Pergamum are renowned for their impressive monumental works of art, culture, and beauty that can still be seen today. Thousands of visitors are drawn to the city to take in the ruins of the Acropolis, visit the Asclepion to experience the healing mystic therapies in its tunnels, read scripture in the Red Square, and walk the narrow streets of the Seljuk and Ottoman town, admiring the old Turkish houses and vibrant rug stores. The rich history of Pergamum can be felt in every corner, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the past.
Pergamon is also known for several “firsts” in the world. Some of these include:
The first settlement in Pergamon dates back to 1100 BC and the name of the city means “highest point.” According to archaeological findings, Pergamon first appeared as a city during the time of the Lydians in 546 BC and became a stronghold of the Lydian kingdom. Like other Ionian cities, it was taken over by the Persians in what was known as the dark age, which lasted for about three hundred years. During this time, the Persians inflicted great damage and plundered the city for a long time. In 334 BC, a savior came to the entire Asia Minor region from Macedonia, known as Alexander the Great, who liberated all major Ionian cities, including Pergamon. One of his generals, Lysimachos, used Pergamon as a base for his battlefields due to its strategic location.
Alexander the Great passed away in India in 324 BC and his empire was divided among his four generals. Lysimachos became the king of the area and gave about 9000 talents of gold to Philateros as a sacred treasure before his death. In 282 BC, Philateros declared himself as the king of the Pergamene Kingdom and established a new capital city, making him the founder of the Pergamene Dynasty.
Eumenes I, Attalos I, Eumenes II, and Attalos III followed as the Pergamene kings from 246 BC to 133 BC. The Pergamene kings had a positive relationship with the Romans, and Attalos III bequeathed Pergamon to the Roman Empire without a war, marking the beginning of the Roman era.
During the Roman period, Pergamon was one of the wealthiest cities in the Roman province of Asia and was constantly in competition with Ephesus. Although Ephesus was designated as the capital of Roman Asia, Pergamon was renowned for its pagan feasts, its health center, its abundant agricultural products and wine, and its thriving trade center. The city also held significant religious importance, as it was considered the second church of Revelation and was visited by John the Evangelist, who wrote a letter to the church elders.
Pergamon’s prosperity came to an end in 400 BC when the Roman Empire was divided, and the city was ruled successively by the Byzantines, the Arab raids, and the Byzantines again. The Ottoman period began in 1317, and the city of Pergamon gradually expanded on the plateau with cotton and grape fields. In 1923, the Turkish Republic was proclaimed by Atatürk, and the city was renamed Bergama.
The Red Court, also known as the Red Hall, was named for its distinctive red brick construction. It was originally built as a temple for the worship of Egyptian gods. There are many theories surrounding its history, including the possibility that it served as the Library of Pergamum in Greek times and became a church during the Roman era.
Bergama, the ancient city of Pergamon, is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history and culture of Turkey. The city is home to some of the most remarkable cultural heritage sites from antiquity, including the Acropolis, the Asklepion, the Red Court, and the Bergama Museum. Whether you are a history buff, an archaeology enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique travel experience, Bergama has something to offer.
One of the highlights of visiting Bergama is the Acropolis, which offers a glimpse into the ancient city’s impressive planning and design. The Greek and Roman ruins, including the Roman theater, the altar of Zeus, and the Temple of Troy, are fascinating to explore and will transport you back in time. The Asklepion, once a world-renowned healing center, is another must-see destination. Visitors can see the remains of the Roman bathhouses, the monumental entrance, and the temple of Asklepios, the god of healing.
The Red Court, also known as the Red Hall, is another remarkable site that visitors should not miss. The temple was once dedicated to the worship of the Egyptian gods and is thought to have served as the Library of Pergamum in Greek times. The Bergama Museum is another interesting destination, showcasing the rich history and culture of the region. Visitors can learn about the region’s history through the archaeological findings from Pergamon and the ethnographical artifacts that provide a glimpse into the Turkish way of life and culture.
So why visit Bergama? With so much to see and experience, Bergama is the perfect destination for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of Turkey. Whether you are interested in exploring ancient ruins, learning about the history of the region, or simply enjoying a unique travel experience, Bergama has something to offer. And with Tour Maker Turkey, you can make the most of your visit. Our experienced tour guides will take you to all the must-see destinations, and our flexible tours are designed to suit your interests and schedule. So why wait? Book your tour to Bergama today and start exploring the rich history and culture of Turkey!