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The ancient city of Pergamon in Bergama Turkey

April 28, 2013

Pergamon is another remnant and proof of the excellence and sheer splendour of the Graeco-Roman world. It is a massive site, unfortunately we had only time to walk around the acropolis which took us two hours. We hired a taxi from a restaurant in Bergama for 50 TLR and the taxi driver took us to the top of the site and we wandered through the acropolis. The excavations here were conducted by German archaeologists who removed many artefacts and took them back to Germany. You can see them at the Pergamon museum in Berlin. The huge altar of Pergamon was dedicated to Zeus, the altar’s foundation is still evident today. The Sanctuary of Trajan is still In good repair and presents some good photo opportunities as does the Hellenistic theatre which was one of the biggest and most definitely the steepest throughout the ancient world, I felt really dizzy standing at the top looking down…and wow it really has an stunning back drop. When we were there a couple of American tourists were trying out the acoustics and singing on where the stage would have been. The theme from the Lion King did not sound too bad from where I was sitting! The theatre had a seating capacity of 10,000, a sign of the multitude of this ancient city. And the Pergamon Library is another testament to its magnificence, ancient Historian Plutarch wrote that the Library here housed over 200,000 volumes. Legend has it that Mark Anthony emptied the shelves and gave the collection to Cleopatra for a wedding present. Lucky girl!!! If this was so, it meant a vast amount of Knowledge was shipped from Pergamon to Alexandria. However, it is suggested that Pergamon is the place where parchment was created and first used, the people had to find a new material after being refused Papyrus from Alexandria.

We did not have time to visit Pergamon’s centre of Medicine, the sanctuary Asclepius. Asclepium is the God of Healing. This centre offered music and water therapies and also had practitioners who analysed dreams; long before Freud! 

Before heading back to Izmir we all had tea in a local council tea garden. I hope to go back someday and visit the Basilica and the Bergama Museum!

 

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