Asclepion of Pergamum

Last Updated on April 25, 2019

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Temple at Asclepion of Pergamum, Aegean Turkey

Temple of the Healing Arts

Late afternoon sunlight filters through the marble columns of an ancient marble temple dedicated to the arts of healing as two visitors take a last look at yet another of Turkey’s two-thousand-year-old wonders….

The Asclepion of Pergamum (or Pergamon) was among the world’s earliest and greatest medical centers. Here the great physician named Galen laid down the basic rules for all the doctors who would come after him for centuries.

Medicine has come a long way since then. We’ve gained a lot.

But perhaps we’ve lost something as well. Patients here were treated in a facility of surpassing architectural beauty known also for the greatness of its library. (Indeed, parchment was invented to act as the recording medium when the library at Alexandria, Egypt, jealous of the growth and renown of the Pergamon Library, cut off exports of papyrus.) In addition, a huge theater with a dramatic view over the valley below entertained those well enough to attend.

Located between Çanakkale and Troy to the north, and IzmirEphesus and Kusadasi to the south, Bergama (Pergamon, Pergamum) makes a good morning or afternoon stop, or a day-trip, or even an overnight stop, with several suitable hotels and pensions.

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