Pergamon (Bergama)

Pergamon was a small settlement during the Archaic Period. Lysimachos, who had become the sovereign of Anatolia after 301 B.C., delivered the war expenditures, at the amount of 9000 talents, to Philetairos who was the commander of Pergamon, and the kingdom founded by Philetar by using this sum of money following Lysimachos's death, flourished and became the most eminent center of culture of the Hellenistic period during 150 years.

Eumenes the I., Attales the I. and Eumenes the II. were enthroned successively after Philetairos. Eumenes the II. took the acropolis of Athens as an example and had the acropolis of Pergamon adorned with works of art that reflected fine taste, and Pergamon became one of the most graceful cities of the world. Attales the III. who succeeded Attales the II., handed over his land to in 133 B.C.

In Acropolis, the remains that we see on the left hand side while entering the ruins, are the monumental tombs built for the kings of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period. Shops are situated at their side. When we enter the Acropolis, the remains seen at our left side, are the foundations of Propylon which Eumenes the II. had ordered to be constructed. Today, this Propylon has been reconstructed at the Museum of Berlin. From here, we pass to a square surrounded with three stoas of the Doric order. This is the abode of Sacred Athena, built during the time of Eumenes the II. The Temple of Athena built in the 3rd century B.C., is just above the theater. The famous Library of Pergamon which contained 200.000 books, was situated north of the square. As it is already known, Antonius had made a present of this library to Cleopatra. The remains near the library, are the remains of houses belonging to the Hellenistic period. When we turn back and go up the stairs, the remains of the palaces of Eumenes the II. and Attales the II. are seen. Towards the inside of the Acropolis, there are houses, military barracks and, at the farthest end, there are military warehouses called “Arsenals”. The building that has been restored at present, is the Temple of Trajan. Emperer Hadrian (117-138) had this temple constructed in the Corinthian order and it was placed upon a terrace with dimensions of 68 x 58 m. Attempts have been continuing since the year 1976 to erect this temple which has 6 x 9 columns and a peripteros plan.

The Theater of Pergamon, one of the steepest theaters in the world, has the capacity to include 10.000 people and had been constructed in the 3rd century B.C. The theater underwent changes during the Roman period. There is a stoa 246.5 m long and approximately 16 m wide in front of the theater. The road in front of the theater leads to the Temple of Dionysos. The temple had been constructed in the 2nd century B.C. and was reconstructed in marble during Caracalla period (211-217 A.D.) and its dimensions are 11.80 x 20.22 m. The temple, which arouses interest because of the staircase in front with a height of 4.5 m and 25 steps, has an exquisite appearance.

The famous Altar of Zeus in Pergamon is on the south of the theater. Eumenes the II. (197-159 B.C.) had it constructed as a memorial of the victory attained against the Galatians. This Altar has the shape of a horseshoe and its dimensions are 36.44 x 34.20 m. It is composed of four parts and the high reliefs on it describe the war between the giants and the gods. The Altar which was taken away from Pergamon in the year 1871 and carried to Germany by the German engineer Carl Humann, is exhibited at the Museum of Berlin, in a manner conforming to its original. On the south of the Altar, the Agora belonging to the 2nd century B.C., is situated. At the extreme north end of the Agora, there is the Temple of Agora. Downwards in the Acropolis, the central city is placed; and inside Pergamon, there is the Temple of Serapis, built for the Egyptian Gods and called the Red Courtyard by the people. This is a basilica shaped building constructed during the period of Hadrian, and its magnificent form attracts attention today. The museum is in Pergamon and Asklepieion is out of the city. It is comprehended that Asklepieion, built in the name of the God of Health, has existed since the 4th century B.C., and it contains premises such as the theater, rooms where the patients were cured by the sound of water and music, the Temple of Asklepie and the library. A road turns off into the direction of the city of Rome. An Amphitheatre for 50.000 people is situated here.