Didem Doğan

The ancient city of Pergamon

B.C. Founded in the 3rd century AD during the Attalid Dynasty, it was the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon between 281-133. Bergama, one of the important cities of the ancient age, is located 26 km inland from the sea, in today's Bergama province of modern Turkey. The ruins can be visited in two parts as Asclepion and Acropolis, and there are other ruins of the ancient city in the Pergamon Museum in the city center. The city of Pergamon is a UNESCO World Heritage site that has survived through the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods, most of it was smuggled to Germany in the 19th century, and still maintains its importance today (such as other ancient cities in the Aegean, Aphrodisias, Ephesus and Hierapolis it is declared a Unesco World Heritage site) .

The first part of the ruins of Asclepion was developed as a healing center during the Roman period and became famous as a place where patients were treated by priest physicians. The Sacred Place of Asclepion takes its name from the god Asclepius, who has healing power. In the sense we understand it, it can actually be called a modern hospital. Priests used to put mental patients to sleep in sleeping rooms that provided an environment conducive to deep sleep, and interpreted their dreams. There were areas consisting of hot, cold and mud baths and sun terraces. In the round structures where sunlight enters from the top, the patients would not leave until they were healed. It was here that the myth and symbol of the snake in modern medicine was born.

On the part of the Acropolis, located on the top of the hill, about one km from Asclepion, there are parts of the theater and temple, which are located on a steep slope. Almost all of the world-famous Zeus Altar is on display at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin today. In the second half of the 19th century, German engineer Carl Humann, who was commissioned for road construction during the Ottoman period, moved almost all of the Zeus Altar to Berlin for about twenty years after he found parts from the friezes of the city of Pergamon. Unfortunately, almost all of the temple is on display in the museum, except for a few pieces that remain where the altar is today.

The ancient city of Pergamon, one of the Seven Churches built during the Roman period, is still visited by Christians today, considering it sacred.

After visiting the ruins, we recommend that you do not miss the Pergamon Museum in the city center and sip your coffee under a hundred-year-old plane tree at the Cinaralti cafe a little further on.

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