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Destination Details

Izmir, Turkey

Built on a conical hill rising 1,000 feet above the surrounding valley, Pergamum (also spelled Pergamon, from the Greek for "citadel") was an important capital city in ancient times. Its modern successor is the Turkish city of Bergama. A lack of modern accommodations means that Bergama is often a very quick stop, if visitors bother to come at all. But it is worth a long stop, for Bergama is home to two of the country's most celebrated archaeological sites: Pergamum's acropolis and Asklepion are both listed among the top 100 historical sites on the Mediterranean.

Most of the buildings and monuments in Pergamum date to the time of Eumenes II (197-159 BC), including the famed library, the terrace of the spectacularly sited hillside theater, the main palace, the Altar of Zeus, and the propylaeum of the Temple of Athena. In the early Christian era, Pergamum's church was a major center of Christianity and was one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 2:12-17).

The ancient city is composed of three main parts: the Acropolis, whose main function was social and cultural as much as it was sacred; the Lower City, realm of the lower classes; and the Asklepion, one of the earliest medical centers on record.

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