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Pergamon (Bergama) Ancient City

Pergamon is the name of the ancient city which was established on the top of a hill in the center of Bergama district of İzmir province. Pergamon was one of the most important cities of the Misya region in ancient times. It was the capital city of Pergamon between 282-133 BC. The name of the city, Pergamon, comes from the legendary hero Pergamos. he was also the son of Andromakhe with Neoptolemos. The city under Persian control was ruled by Demaratos, one of Sparta's old kings, in the 480 BC, and once again by Eritrian Gongylos. It is believed that after killing Grynos, Pergamos captured the city and gave his own name. According to another legend, the King of Teuthrania sought help from Pergamos for a war, and after the victory he founded two cities; Pergamon which is to honor the name of Pergamos, and another one named Gryneion.

It was mentioned that Pergamon was founded in the beginning of the 4th century BC, then it became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon which was the dominant place in the region. It was equipped with structures such as palace, temple and theater in this period. Then the city was fortified and surrounded by towers and walls. After the Battle of Granikos in 334 BC, Alexander the Great gave the of the city  to Barsini, the widow of Memnon, a commander. In the period after Alexander's death, after the war of ipsos in 301 BC, Lysimakhos, one of Alexander's commanders, took over the city. During the Hellenistic period, the Bergamese kingdom, which had a very bright day, was at a level to compete with Alexander the Great (Alexandreia), which Alexander the Great established in Egypt. In this period, many philosophers, scientists came to the city, a library large enough to compete with the library of Alexandria was established and the Pergamon. The name  ''parchment'' comes from Pergamon, where the paper was made of leather. The Pergamon kingdom remained one of the most important and powerful cities of Western Anatolia after being connected to Rome.

The ruins of the old city were discovered by German engineer Carl Humann in the 1870s. Because Ottomans had no respect and tendency to history and historical monuments & ruins, they weren't protecting such areas.  As a result, the Zeus Althar which was the mostimportant & well protected structure of Pergamon Acropolis was divided into thousand of pieces, brought to Çandarlı port & than to Germany with some other temple belongings. Today, the foundations of Altar are left to Turks, and the Altar stands in Berlin Pergamon Museum as one of the most important works of the world. The first research and excavation works in Pergamon started in 1878. Excavations and repair work continues today.


The Acropolis of Pergamon is built on an extremely steep and sheltered hill. A few kilometers down the hill there is the second settlement which is called as down city. If you do not have sufficient sportive condition, the walking option must be completely eliminated. Up to a few years ago, the Acropolis region used to be reached only by foot or by car, now the Acropolis can be reached with the cable car system.


In the ancient city settlement called the Acropolis, the public buildings and the people's space were placed in a nested plan. The royal palaces, cisterns and arsenals are located at the top of the hill, which has been a settlement since the early ages. On the lower terraces are the Temple of Traianus, the library and the Temple of Athena. Zeus Altar used to stand on the lower terrace looking towards Bergama, but now only the foundations of that structure can be seen because of being brought to Germany by German archaeologists. The real Althar is being exhibited in the Bergama museum in Berlin. On the side of the theater, the lower part of the Gymnasion and the Temple of Dionysos. The temple of Dionysus was abducted in the same period with the Zeus Altar and many different historical monuments. The works, which were carried on the back of the camels at the port of Çandarlı, were first sent to İzmir Harbor and then to Germany. one of the most well preserved (or rather not stolen) temples  is the temple of Trajan.

Pergamon Zeus altarı

Nowadays, If you want to see and discover the Zeus Altar as a full, you should first come to the Acropolis of Pergamum and watch the basics, then go to Berlin with the first plane and watch the remaining parts there. Or do the opposite, because '' the remaining parts '' are in Turkey.

Picture Gallery Walls;Click for larger images 

The walls surrounding the Acropolis of Pergamon are still quite good. Although they are already built on an elevation providing shelter, the Acropolis region was fortified with a fortification and made the conquest impossible. Of course, even if  that has not blocked some of them.

From the moment you enter the ticket checkpoint, wooden roads have been built and you can follow the paths and navigate the route in a certain order. Because of the fact that I don't like such wooden paths in historical areas which gives an ''artificial'' feeling, I used the more free option.  As we have already mentioned, most of the structures that should be standing are not available anymore because most of the elements are smuggled abroad , so there remains only Theater and settlements, warehouses, shops etc. which were left because of being  hard to relocate. Despite everything, Pergamon it is still one of the ancient sites to be visited necessarily within Turkey's borders with its unique mystical atmosphere and the feeling like living in history. On this page, I do not give the plan of the Acropolis, because if you go, you will already see a detailed layout plan in each region. Travelers and history lovers likes most the visual clues about the things they can have the chance to see, than they decide accordingly. Therefore, rather than the crowd of words, I am publishing a detailed visual gallery about the Pergamon Acropolis below.