There are lots of different sights to see in the ancient city of Pergamon, now known as Bergama. But one of the most interesting and astonishing ones is the ancient temple of huge dimensions built of red bricks in the first half of the 2nd century AD. It was not just a single temple – but the whole complex built with the use of most progressive technologies of that time.
First of all, the construction was erected above the river Selinus. For that purpose a huge 196-meter bridge was raised to let the river flow through two channels under the temple. And secondly, the dimensions of the construction exceeded many of the biggest religious buildings of that time.
The home for 3 religions
At the very beginning the Temple was dedicated to several Egyptian gods: Isis, the Goddess of health, marriage, and wisdom, Osiris, the God of death and afterlife, and Separion, the greco-egyptian God invented to unify Greeks and Egyptians. Maybe in honor of the last the Temple is sometimes called Serapion.
Paying tribute to the popular tendencies, the construction of the complex was initiated by Hadrian, the Emperor of the Roman Empire who wanted to spread Egyptian beliefs. One of the statues of that period can still be seen in front of the entrance. It’s a huge figure of a pregnant woman that is most likely a symbol of Isis.
During the prosperity of the Byzantine Empire, the Empreror ordered not to demolish this amazing building and not to reconstruct it – but to build the Basilica of the Saint John the Evangelist inside of the Temple. This place was one the first seven churches on the territory of Anatolia. Nowadays, it is also widely known as one of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse. Unfortunately, during the long centuries that passed since the Byzantine time, the Temple has been gradually destroying.
In the times of the Ottoman Empire the complex was not rebuilt. However, the part of it – the round tower – was used as a mosque. Now it is called Kurtuluş Camii.
It is not difficult to find the Red Hall as it is situated on the way to Acropolis. Just follow the signs on your way. Part of it is also seen just from the road, but the impression you get from the inside is really overwhelming.