PERGAMUM - TURKEY

Pergamum (Bergama)

May 20

Driving past dazzling poppy fields, we continued our coastal tour toward Bergama. Perched on a hilltop above the modern town, the great acropolis of Pergamum was originally settled in the 8th century BC during the period of Alexander the Great. The City was one of the Middle East's richest and most powerful small kingdoms, its city walls enclosing the entire hilltop for 4 km.

Temple of Trajan

The stately re-erected columns were made of pristine white marble, originally built in 117-138 AD.

The Roman Amphitheatre

Built in 3rd century BC, the vertigo inducing, well preserved theatre
consisted of 80 rows, with a capacity for 10,000 people.
The lower section was made of marble for royalty.

The Library

Said to have held 200,000 volumes, the books were written on parchment made from animal hides instead of papyrus (because the Egyptians would not supply the papyrus). The end came after the library was damaged by fire and Mark Anthony pillaged the books at Pergamum to give to Cleopatra.

The Asclepion

The Asclepion was an ancient Medical Centre for Pergumum's gladiators. It was  established by the great physician Galen


Treatments included massage, mud baths, drinking sacred water, and the use of herbs and ointments.

We were told that a the centre never had a patient die there.

The mineral baths are now home for turtles and frogs

A vaulted underground corridor leads to a Temple where patients slept hoping to be sent a cure in a dream.

  Roman Bazaar Street, once lined with shops


Heading back to the western coast of the Agean, we detoured to Old Foca, an ancient mariner's town, turned resort center for the Turks.

There was a genuine local flavour  to the town with its cobblestone streets and Ottoman-Greek houses lining a small harbour packed with fishing boats. A boardwalk skirted the waterfront with pricey restaurants and shops.

We hunted around for some overnight accommodation and stumbled upon a little  Pensiyon in the throws of being renovated by the owner's son. The old stone building was the original family home and was unoriginally named "Iyon Pensiyon." They were very accommodating and friendly. The rooms were basic, with mosquito netting over our bed and a Chinese water torture tap over Chris'!!

After our tomato and cucumber breakfast, we headed south toward Selkuk near Ephesus to explore the most famous ruins in Turkey.