Bergama is a small city having a very long story which started back in the Archaic Period. At that time, it was just a small a settlement, but by the beginning of the 2nd century BC it became a heart of the powerful Kingdom of Pergamon. The city is said to take its name from a word in Hittite language that meant “high”. Later, one of the inventions made in this city, in its turn, took the name after the city itself – and is known as parchment.
Due to its ancient history as one of the Greek cities, now Bergama is a famous place of tourism, where people come not only from other parts of Turkey, but from the whole world. It’s better to start the sightseeing from the mountain where the first settlement was built and later became the political and cultural center of the whole kingdom – The Acropolis.
You can get there on foot or by car. Yet, taking the cable car up to top of the hill is probably the best option and is itself a nice attraction. You’ll surely be not disappointed by the picturesque views from it on the city and an artificial lake between the mountains.
When going back to the center of the Bergama, visit the Red Hall which used to be the home for three religions. The building has been the temple dedicated to the Egyptian gods, then the Church of Saint John the Evangelist and at the end, a mosque built during the Turkish conquest.
While going further into the modern city center, try the local Bergama kofte – meat balls cooked according to the special recipe in the local restaurants. You can also find many kinds of traditional Turkish food around, like doner, kebap, helva or baklava.
After dinner, it is time to see the Asklepion – the old hospital and place for recreation with the healing spring water on its territory. The ancient road will lead you from the city to the place.
The next morning, you can dedicate your time to getting to a place situated 20 kilometers away from the city center, on the slope of the Madra mountain. It is called Kozak Plateau. It is a pine natural paradise with fresh air and wonderful views. If you are lucky enough with the weather, you’ll see the Aegean sea to your west. Don’t be in a hurry to come back to the city – and visit the villages around to taste something delicious and buy pine nuts or souvenirs.
The second half of the day you may spend in one of the oldest and most wonderful places in Bergama: Haci Hekim Hamami (Turkish bath). It is situated in the very center, in front of the Old Bazaar. While observing this beautiful building from the inside, treat your body to authentic Turkish spa procedures.
If you come to the city during the second part of June, you might be just in time to see famous Bergama festival. It is usually attended by Turkish celebrities, singers and poets.
2 daysAverageYou can get to Bergama from Izmir of Balikesir airports, or by bus from most major cities in Turkey.It is best to get around on foot, apart from going to the Kozak Plateau
Updated: May 24, 2015