Bergama is right next to the ancient city of Pergamon or Pergamum which is famous for its Acropolis set on top of a big hill. We set off from our hostel with the instructions that we could walk to take a cable car up the hill, and the walk would take us about 10 minutes. It probably would have…had we not made the choice to turn left instead of right at a crucial point! Instead of a scenic ride, we had a walk following the road the long way around…we were very grateful when we were offered a ride after walking halfway up!
When we got to the top of the hill, we caught our breath and then explored the Acropolis. Some of the highlights were the theatre – probably the steepest one we have seen – the temple and the huge ruins of the lower city. By avoiding the tour groups, we more or less had the place to ourselves which was really fun.
We walked down the “Ancient Way” back to town, and after lunch visited the Red Basilica (seen above). The Red Basilica is pretty much in ruins now but was a former temple. This vast structure was almost deserted, so we could explore to our hearts’ content (we may possibly have gone into a place that was supposed to have been closed…oops!)
We also went for a stroll to find a stone bridge…this had a hidden benefit as on the way back we also found the sweet store with bags of lollies for 1 lira (about 67 NZ cents)…good times.
The next day we walked up a smaller hill to the Asclepion, the temple dedicated to healing where people came to be treated in a variety of ways, including with spring water from the natural springs. Incidentally, we couldn’t take photos in one direction along the walkway to the Asclepion as it was a military base and there were tanks there!
We explored around this and then headed down to the small Archaelogical Museum before getting onto an overnight bus to Istanbul.