The city of Bergama is dotted with spectacular sights, including the Pergamon Acropolis, with its ancient Greek and Roman city ruins.
We stayed one night in the city of Bergama and focused on visiting the ruins. Here are some of the sights and attractions in the World Heritage city of Bergama.
Bergama is located in the province of Izmir in western Turkey, 26 km inland from the Aegean Sea, and has a population of approximately 60,000 (2012). Today, the city, with its cobbled streets is lined with shops selling carpets and other products, but was an important cultural centre in ancient Greek and Roman times. Ancient temple items found here have been moved to the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany, but the Pergamon Acropolis and other urban sites still attract many tourists.
The ancient city ruins of Pergamon are located to the north and west of the city of Bergama. It is estimated to have had a population of around 150,000 in the 1st century AD, at the height of the Roman period. Visit the ruins, which are within walking distance of the town centre, and get a feel for what the metropolis must have looked like back then.
Pergamon Acropolis World Heritage Site
A visit to the Pergamon Acropolis is the main purpose of tourists coming to Bergama. The Pergamon Acropolis is the remains of an ancient Greek city built on a hill to the north of the town. Excavation work is still ongoing, but the ruins of ancient architectural temples and fortifications are open to the public as an open-air museum.
It can be accessed by car or cable car, but we walked up from the town of Bergama. Detailed directions and highlights are given in a separate post, so please refer to that.
Sanctuary of Asclepius
Asclepius, south-west of Bergama town, was an ancient medical centre dedicated to curing health problems.
The temple of Asclepius, the god of healing, was founded in the 4th century BC and is believed to have grown into the most important asclepion in the ancient world by the 2nd century AD.
The Asklepion site seen today was completed during the reign of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, but pre-Hellenistic remains have also been excavated, and the oldest parts of the site area can be traced back to the 5th century BC.
The remains of buildings such as a Roman temple with a surrounding courtyard, a two-storey circular spa and a marble-seated Roman theatre with a capacity of 3,500 spectators have been identified.
Getting to Asclepion
The Asclepion can be reached on foot from Bergama town centre.
Turn westwards at the corner of Kurşunlu Mosque on the city’s main street and walk uphill.
You can then basically follow the road and you will come to a place marked ‘Asklepion’, so you won’t get lost.
Soon you will see the Asklepion car park. The entrance to Asklepion is on the other side of the car park across the road.
Asclepion entrance fee
The entrance fee to Asklepion is 300 TL for foreigners and 60 TL for Turks. When we arrived at this gate, we were astonished at the price for foreigners.
We know that this is a historically important site, but 300 TL seems a bit too much.
We have visited many historical sites in Turkey and other countries, but if we had to pay 300 TL per person to enter each time, we would have gone bankrupt in no time:) We decided to skip it this time.
Red Hall (Kızıl Avlu)
This is the largest ancient building in Pergamon, where Egyptian gods were worshipped. It is located in the town centre of Bergama and can be accessed without going up and down the hill.
The main building dates from the 2nd century AD. The temple has prominent red bricks, but at that time it was covered with coloured marble slabs.
It was visible from the road up to the Pergamon Acropolis, which gave an idea of its size. The entrance fee is 60 TL per person.
Haci Hekim Baths (Haci Hekim Mamamı)
Located along the main street of Bergama, built in 1513 and restored in 2010. The building is built of rough-hewn stone and brick and consists of 24 domes and two vaults.
Tanning baths (Tabaklar Hamamı)
The baths were built in the 15th-16th century and so named because it was built in a tannery. Located at the northern edge of Bergama town. The flooring was completely lost during the flood of 1842.
Accommodation in Bergama
In Bergama, we stayed at the Athena Pension. It is a guest house-style accommodation with a lovely garden courtyard where we had breakfast. The owner speaks fluent English and is very friendly. The location was excellent, right at the foot of the Acropolis. We would recommend it for a longer stay too, but it might be better to book as there are not many rooms. A detailed review can be foun