Ancient City of Pergamon: One of the Cultural Centers during the Hellenistic Period

Pergamon, which is also known as the Ancient City of Bergama, is located in Bergama district of Izmir, and is one of the most important historical sites in the Aegean Region. The Ancient City of Pergamon was included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 2014, and its historical value was also officially registered.




History of the Ancient City of Pergamon

The ancient city of Pergamon, which is also known as Bergama, was founded in the 4th century BC. The city, which long served as the capital of the Pergamon Kingdom, stands out with palaces, temples and theaters. Pergamon has been well preserved with the surrounding strong walls. The city managed to exist until the 2nd century BC, which included the late Byzantine period.



Location of the Ancient City of Pergamon The Ancient City of Pergamon, which is also known as the center of Pergamon Kingdom, is located on a high hill in Bergama district of Izmir. It is easy to get to the ancient city located in Bergama by public transport or self-driving.





Must-Visit Places in The Ancient City of Pergamon

Acropolis is one of the most important buildings in the ancient city. The temples, royal palaces and water cisterns are located in the uptown. It served as the residence of the royal family and notable persons of the city. The Temple of Athena is located down of these buildings. The Temple of Trajan and the library are also located here. The altar of Zeus is built on the terrace located further down. This place also features one of the steepest theaters in the world. The Gymnasium and the Temple of Demeter are located down this place.


Pergamon Church 

The church, which was called as Red Basilica by the people of Pergamon, was given this name because it was built with red bricks. The church was first built for Serapis during the reign of Hadrian but later turned into a basilica.




Temple of Athena  

The Temple of Athena is of the Doric order and located on the terrace above the theater building. The temple has partially survived to the present day. Some columns and architrave pieces of the temple are kept in the Berlin Museum.




Pergamon Library

Dating back to the period of Eumenes II, the library accommodates a large reading room.  The library was equipped with wooden shelves, and features a 3.50 meter-high statue of Athena. The statue is now in the Berlin Museum.




Pergamon Theater

Pergamon Theater is set on a steep slope, and is one of the most impressive buildings from the Hellenistic Period. With a capacity of 10 thousand seats, the theater is the steepest theater in Western Anatolia. The Temple of Dionysus is located behind the theater stage. The temple and its altar have both survived well.



Artifacts Moved to Berlin from Pergamon

The Altar of Zeus is one of the artifacts that were moved from Turkey and displayed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. By the way, the Altar of Zeus Altar displayed in the museum is not the original altar, but a modern reconstruction. Dist. Prof. Dr. Ekrem Akurgal was the first to mention that this altar must be accommodated in Turkey in 1945 and make efforts in this respect. The museum is also home to the statue of Athena, columns and pieces from the Temple of Athena, mosaics from the Pergamon Royal Palace, and pieces from the Temple of Dionysus Temple.


This famous museum also hosts the Ishtar gate, the statue of Fortuna, the Goddess of Fortune, the statue of Nike, and the Serpent column, which is the symbol of Asclepion. The Temple of Asklepios is also located in the city. The passage through the center of the temple allows entry to the building where medical treatment was applied. It is known that the methods of psychological suggestion and sound of water were used for treatment. The Ancient City of Pergamon, which was discovered by the German engineer Carl Humann, who was working in railway construction in 1870, is still fascinating today.

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  • Debra J. Cantu
  • 11-08-2022

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