Thursday, December 15, 2011


After Istanbul, Sean and I flew to Izmir on the Western coast of Turkey, next to the Aegean Sea. That region is full of Greek and Roman era ruins. The most well-known spot is Ephesus, a popular stop for cruise ships. To make things easier for ourselves, we'd hired a tour guide for the few days we were in the area and who also arranged for transport and hotel. On the first day, we went to Bergama, where the ancient city of Pergamum is located.

When visiting one of these ancient ruins, the thing to realize is that every single one of them used to be a port city, but now the water has receded from the rocky acropolis. It will be unbearable hot and sunny and, since it's a ruin, there's no shade. And no water. And no toilets. So even though it's totally awesome, you can't stay and linger as you might wish to.

Pergamum is not one of most popular sites, but I had been to the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, so I figured I'd better see where all that stuff actually came from.

This is the Temple of Trajan.

And this is the theater they built into the hillside. It is incredibly steep.

And this is where the Altar of Zeus used to be. Here is where they reconstructed it in Berlin.

Pergamum is also where the Asclepion was -- ancient Rome's greatest medical center. The acropolis is at the top of the pic, the road to the Asclepion is in the foreground.

A little theater, and all the benches have lion feet.

A tunnel. By the way, they built the hospital here because of a natural spring source. I tried the water; it was fine.

The intertwined snake symbol of medicine.

Greek and Latin writing on lots of stuff.

It may be hard to see in this pic, but there are terra cotta water pipes in that wall. All the ancient cities used such pipes in their water systems. And there are shards of them under every one of your footsteps when you're there.

By the way, when they named our hotel, the Seaview Hotel, they weren't kidding:

1 comment:

DY said...

Thanks for sharing these photos from your trip. It looks like you had a fun time getting to unite your memories of the Pergamon museum with the actual site.

Have a safe and happy winter break.