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Pergamon (Pergamum)
Pergamon (Pergamum)

Pergamon (Pergamum)

Free admission
Bergama

The Basics

From anywhere in the modern city of Bergama, the Acropolis is clearly visible. Make your way up the hill, and you’ll find the Temple of Trajan and the Temple of Athena and other wonders. Walk across the city to the Asklepion medical center, the birthplace of pharmacology, where pools were filled with radioactive waters to cure various ailments.

An easy day-trip from Izmir, most travelers opt to see UNESCO-listed sites on a guided tour, as the city’s sites are spread over a very large area. If you have more time, see Pergamon on a multi-day adventure touring the Aegean coast or more far-flung destinations in Turkey such as Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus, Pamukkale, and Cappadocia. Many of these larger tours leave from Istanbul.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Suitable for archaeology and history buffs.
  • Entrance fee is about $5.Admire the 10,000-spectator amphitheatre, the steepest in the world.
  • The Altar of Zeus’s missing, enormous frieze is on display at Berlin’s Pergamon Museum.
  • Pergamon is not wheelchair accessible.
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How to Get There

Pergamon is on a hill above Bergama, which is about 62 miles (100 kilometers) north of Izmir. Drive, take the bus, or walk for 30 minutes to reach the site. If you’re coming from Izmir, expect to drive about two hours or take the bus, which runs frequently. From Istanbul, take the fast ferry to Bursa or Bandırma, then the bus to Pergamon.

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When to Get There

High season for Pergamon is during the summer, when the weather is the warmest and also the driest. Avoid the crowds by coming in the spring (March through May) or fall (September through November).

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Wildcard

The Necessary Invention of Parchment In ancient times, kings counted their riches by the size of their libraries. And with only 200,000 volumes, the Library of Pergamon was second to the Library of Alexandria, which counted 600,000. So fierce was their competition, however, that the ruler of Egypt, King Ptolemy I, banned the export of papyrus, inspiring the competitive King Eumenes II of Pergamon to order a new material be invented. And thus, the world was given parchment.

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