In Ruins In Turkey
(Pergamon, Assos, Sardis, Troy,)
“The ruins of himself! now worn away, with age, yet still majestic in decay.” Homer
The best way to see the Acropolis of Pergamon is to take the cable car up (they will try to sell you a return ticket but insist on one-way) and then walk down the ancient road via the Gymnasium.
The famous Library of Pergamon, which contained 200,000 books, was situated north of the square. Antonius gave all the books in the library to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. (beauty and brains?) Pergamon’s library on the Acropolis is the second best in the ancient Greek civilization. When the Ptolemies stopped exporting papyrus, partly because of competitors and partly because of shortages, the Pergamenes invented a new substance called pergaminus or pergamena (parchment) after the city.
The building that has been restored now is the Temple of Trajan. Trajan started it but after his death Emperor Hadrian (117-138) finished the temple in Corinthian order.
The Theatre of Pergamon, one of the steepest theatres in the world, has a capacity of 10,000 people and was constructed in the 3rd century BC.
The famous Altar of Zeus in Pergamon is on the south of the theater. The Altar which was taken away from Pergamon in 1871 by the German engineer Carl Humann, is exhibited at the Museum of Pergamum in Berlin, in a way conforming to its original. Today the Turkish government is trying to get it back from Germany bringing the issue to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
The Asclepion was an ancient medical center that was founded by Archias, a local who had been cured at the Asclepion of Epidaurus (Greece). Treatments included mud baths, the use of herbs and ointments, enemas and sunbathing. Diagnosis was often by dream analysis. (treatment rooms)
Galen (AD 131–210), was born here and studied in Alexandria, Greece and Asia Minor before becoming a physician to Pergamum’s gladiators. He is recognized as perhaps the greatest early physician. Galen added considerably knowledge of the circulatory and nervous systems, and also systematized medical theory. Under his influence, the medical school at Pergamum became renowned. His work was the basis for Western medicine well into the 16th century. (Galen and the symbol of the Asclepion, the snake)
,If you are walking from the town center (2km uphill) it passes through a large military base; be off it by dusk and don’t take photos.
A Roman bazaar street , once lined with shops, leads from the entrance to the centre, where you’ll see the base of a column carved with snakes, the symbol of Asclepios (Aesculapius), god of medicine. Just as the snake sheds its skin and gains a ‘new life’, so the patients at the Asclepion were supposed to ‘shed’ their illnesses. Signs mark a circular Temple of Asciepios, a library and, beyond it, a Roman theatre.
You can take a drink from the Sacred Well, although the plastic tube out of which the water flows doesn’t look particularly sanitary), and pass along the vaulted underground corridor to the Temple of Telesphorus, another god of medicine. Patients slept in the temple hoping that Telesphorus would send a cure or diagnosis in a dream.
After leaving the Platonic Academy in Athens, Aristotle went to Assos, where he was welcomed by King Hermias, and opened an Academy in this city. In the Academy of Assos, Aristotle became a chief to a group of philosophers and they made many innovative observations in zoölogy and biology.. Aristotle also married Pythias, the adopted daughter of Hermias.
On the acropolis 238 m above sea level are the remains of the Doric Temple of Athena, which date back to 530 BC. Six of the original 38 columns remain. It is possible to see spectacular views of much of the surrounding area from this ancient Temple of Athena built on top of a cliff.
Sardis was the capital of the kingdom of Lydia. In the seventh century BC, the Lydians invented the first coinage in history. Some of the highlights of Sardis are the temple of Artemis –one of the largest temples of Asia Minor and the Roman Gymnasium complex. Part of the gymnasium was converted into a synagogue in the third century BC. Sardis is one of the Seven Churches of the Revelation. (Gymnasium)
Roman Temple of Artemis
The city now believed to contain the ancient Troy of Homer’s Iliad was founded around 2920 BCE. Over its long and shaky history, Troy appears to have been destroyed at least nine times.
Henrik Schliemann, having heard claims from an English archaeologist that the hill called Hisarlik concealed the ruins of Homer’s Troy, got permission from the Ottoman government for an archaeological dig. While Schliemann did manage to uncover four ancient towns during his excavations, the amateur archaeologist also destroyed several others along the way.
Schliemann also found a cache of gold and other artifacts. He mistakenly believed them to be “The Treasure of Priam,” but it was later proven to be from an earlier civilization. The treasure was recently rediscovered in Russia, after having disappeared during WW2, and is at the centre of an ongoing ownership dispute. At the moment, the treasure sits in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.
After Schliemann death, his assistant Wilhelm Doerpfeld worked at Troy for many years. It was he who identified the nine basic layers of the city, labeling them in the Roman numerical system still used today. An American archaeologist named Carl Blegen would find based on evidence of burning and siege, that Troy VII-a was the likeliest time for the Trojan War.
At Troy one can see mostly ruins or ruins of ruins. There are ruins of walls from a number of different periods scattered throughout the site, some include a gate or tower.
Compared to Ephesus, one of the best-preserved ancient cities on the Mediterranean, the ruins of Troy are a disappointment, but for any fan of Homer or lover of mythology, the trip is well worth your time. (even if does include a few fake Trojan horses.)
for more ancient ruins in Turkey go to All Roads Lead to Ephesus.
Errosthe ( Ancient Greek closing – be healthy, sound, vigorous, fare well) and Fly Safe,