Before we start, I would like you to watch the below video which was prepared by the Municipality of Bergama. It was a tribute of the city for UNESCO as Bergama is the 999th member of the list. The time lapse covers the Acropolis, Asclepeion, the old town, Serapis Temple and the beautiful old Greek and Turkish houses in Bergama. After watching the video, you will be regretful to have spared only a day for her.
Bergama city is just located two hours away from Adnan Menderes Airport which is used by travelers wishing to explore Ephesus. While Ephesus and Pamukkale are almost in all itineraries of tourists, Bergama unfortunately does not take her place as she deserves. Hiding two important archaeological sites, one Church of Revelation and an attractive old town; Bergama should have at least one night accommodation with one and half or two full days in the itineraries. One can easily pick up a rental car from Izmir airport and drive to Bergama to explore the city for a half day. After spending the night there, you can continue exploring the city and continue to your next destination like Ephesus or Pamukkale. Let me explain how to do Bergama in a full day.
The city has 3 major sites. Acropolis is the one located on top of the city and her names gives her location away. Asclepeion is located on the north of the city easily accessible with a drive from the center of Bergama. In between two; one can easily notice the Red Hall aka Kizilavlu which is one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. The best is to start from the Acropolis in the morning before tour buses arrive there around 10 am in the morning. Get a bottle of water and make sure your batteries are charged as the ancient city has a lot of photo opportunities. The struggle people had suffered to erect the city on top of that hill is out of imagination. The terraces of the ancient city of Pergamon has phenomenal views to the hills surrounding the modern day Bergama, the city herself and the Bakircay plains which is the main income of the villagers there. Please don't miss the foundations if Zeus Temple whose original remnants are in Pergamon Museum in Berlin at present. It is stated in the Bible as well as the seat of the devil which is among the reasons why tourists want to explore Bergama.
After enjoying a nice cup of Turkish Coffee overlooking the reservoir located at the back of Acropolis, it is time to drive down to the city center to explore the Temple of Serapis; Red Hall. Due to the red bricks used for her construction, it is called as Red Hall by the people of Bergama which is translated into Turkish as Kizil Avlu. The original structure was bulit for Egyptian Goddess Serapis and was converted into a church. It was one of the churches of Revelation until the Turkish Occupation in the area. One of the towers of the temple is used as a mosque today and you can easily visit it before or after exploring this magnificent structure.
Did you know Galen is the doctor who has given the last shape to the Hippocratic Oath of today. He lived in Pergamon and is the second most important person of the ancient medicine but you are right; like Ayrton Senna Da Silva says; no one talks about the second! He deserves a greater respect as being the inventor of the nerve, blood, vein and digestion systems of human beings. He served in Pergamon for a while in the ancient city of Asclepeion named after the health god Asclepius. The shrine is a very important place where mud and thermal water therapies were used by the doctors of the hospital. Besides, first known place in the world for music and sound therapies. The patients were watched during their sleep and their dreams were used for diagnose as well. The tunnel connecting the mud baths to the main hospital structure of the shrine is very impressive. Don't forget to remain silent for a few seconds in the middle of the tunnel just to hear what the patients had felt thousands of years ago. The ancient settlements small theater is used for concerts and events by the municipality today. It will be very attractive in June for a week. We will announce the festival of Bergama later in our blog page, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
Other things to do in Bergama are the old towns. First one is located on the slopes of the Acropolis which houses beautiful narrow streets full of old Greek Houses. You can use the parking area of the cable car that take tour groups to the Acropolis of Bergama to explore those narrow streets of old Bergama. The other one is just a little walking distance from the Serapis Temple. As you walk to the city center from the temple, you are able to notice the crowd walking into the popular shopping area for the locals of Bergama where you can find everything related to a Turkish village life and Bergama city life. Make your way to the tea house located in the end of the covered bazaar just to give a nice and cool tea break underneath a huge oak tree. There is also a nice Turkish Bath located across the street near that tea house which can be a nice relieving local experience after this long day.
When you follow our Self Drive Aegean Coast tour, you can easily use the information in this blog to explore Bergama from the bottom to the top!