Bergama (Pergamum) Archaeological Site


Location: İzmir Province Map

Info: (0232) 631 2883

Open: 8:30am- 5pm winter

9am- 7pm summer daily



Pergamum or Bergama (Πέργαμον or ἡ Πέργαμος in Greek) is an archeological site situated in İzmir Province in Turkey.




Pergamum was a small settlement during the Archaic Era. Lysimachus, one of Alexander the Great's generals who had become ruler of Anatolia after 301 BC., handed over the expenses of the war, in the amount of 9,000 talents (it is believed that 1 talent is equivalent to US$ 7,500 approx.), to Filetero, commander of Pergamon. The kingdom founded by Phileterius with this sum of money after the death of Lysimachus, flourished and became the most eminent cultural center of the Hellenistic period for 150 years.

Eumenes I, Attalus I and Eumenes II successively occupied the throne after Philetero. Eumenes II took the Acropolis of Athens as an example and had the Acropolis of Pergamon adorned with works of art that reflected good taste. Pergamon became one of the most elegant cities in the world. Attalus III, who succeeded Attalus II, gave his lands to the Romans when he died in 133 BC.

At the acropolis, the ruins that can be seen on the left side as you enter, are the monumental tombs or heroons built for the kings of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period. The shops are located next to it. Upon entering the Acropolis, the remains seen on the left side are the bases of the Propylaea (monumental gates) that were built by Eumenes II.

Upon reaching the square surrounded by three stoas of the Doric order, you can see the ruins of the Temple of Athena, built in the time of Eumenes II in the 3rd century BC. C., just above the theater.

The famous Pergamon Library, which contained 200,000 books, was located to the north of the square. Mark Antony gave all the books in the library to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. The remains near the library are some of the houses from the Hellenistic period. Going up the stairs, you can see the remains of the palaces of Attalus II and Eumenes II. Inside the Acropolis there are houses, military barracks and warehouses called "Arsenals". The building that has been restored today is the Temple of Trajan. Trajan started it but after his death the emperor Hadrian (117-138) finished the temple in the Corinthian order and it was placed on a terrace with dimensions of 68 x 58 m. German archaeologists have been trying to erect this temple since 1976, which has 6 x 9 columns and a peripteral plan (a row of columns around the temple). It is completely made of marble.

The Pergamon Theatre, one of the steepest theaters in the world, has a capacity of 10,000 people and was built in the 3rd century BC. The theater underwent changes during the Roman era under the reign of Caracalla. There is a stoa (porch) 246.5 m long and about 16 m wide in front of the theatre. The path in front of the theater leads to the Temple of Dionysus (known in Rome as Bacchus, god of wine). The temple was built in the 2nd century BC. and rebuilt in marble during the time of Caracalla (211-217 AD). Its dimensions are 11.80 x 20.22 m. The temple, which arouses interest due to the front staircase with a height of 4.5 m and 25 steps, has an exquisite appearance.

The famous Pergamon Altar of Zeus is located south of the theater. Eumenes II (197-159 BC), built it as a monument commemorating the victory against the Galatians. It is shaped like a horseshoe and its dimensions are 36.44 x 34.20 m. It is made up of four parts and the high reliefs it has describe the war between the giants and the Olympian gods. The altar, which was removed from Pergamon in 1871 and brought to Germany by the German engineer Carl Humann, is displayed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, similar to its original state. Today, the Turkish government is trying to recover it so it brought the matter to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

To the south of the Altar is the agora (market), belonging to the 2nd century BC. In its center there is a small altar. Below, on the acropolis, is the center of the city.

Within Pergamon, there is the Temple of Serapis, built for the Egyptian gods in the 2nd century AD. and called Patio Rojo by the locals. It is a basilica-shaped building built under the reign of Hadrian, then in the 4th century AD., it became a church dedicated to John the Evangelist and became one of the Seven Churches mentioned in the Apocalypse.

The museum is in Bergama and the Asclepeion (the former medical complex, the hospital) is outside the city. Asclepeion, built in the name of Aesculapius, god of Health and Medicine, is believed to have existed since the 4th century AD. It contains premises, such as a small theater with a capacity of 3500 people, the rooms where patients were cured by the sound of water and music, the temple of Asclepeion and the library. Here, doctors (priests) analyzed patients' dreams 2000 years before Sigmund Freud did. One of the important personalities related to the Asclepeion was Galen from the 2nd century AD.



Some other historic buildings in Bergama are:
Selçuk Minaret built in the 14th century
Çukurhan caravanserai built in the 14th century
Taşhan caravanserai built in 1432
The Great Mosque of Bergama built in 1399
The Şadırvanlı Mosque built in 1550

From June 18 to 24, Bergama holds its annual festival called Bergama Kermesi, the first of which was held in 1937. This event is of great importance, usually attended by Turkish celebrities, singers, athletes, poets and writers.

Bergama is historically famous for the ancient city of Pergamon and a traditional neighborhood comprised of old Ottoman houses. Recently, the city has been in the news in the context of controversies surrounding the former Allianoi Spa, which is being threatened by the construction of the Yortanlı Dam, and environmental concerns over the gold mine in Ovacık village.


Bergama Rugs

Bergama is also renowned for the high quality of its carpets. There are approximately 80 villages that still make Bergama rugs. The history of carpet making in this region has its beginnings in the 11th century, when the Turkish migration arrived in the area. Bergama rugs have almost always been woven from wool, a testament to the pastoral life of the Yörük clans who populated the area at that time. Although the history of carpet weaving in Bergama reaches back to the 11th century, most of the surviving carpets are not older than 200 years, mostly due to the wool content. The oldest extant Bergama carpets can be found in mosques in or around Bergama and in the archaeological museum.