Pergamum Acropolis, Turkey

Last Updated on September 7, 2022

The Acropolis of Pergamum (Pergamon) is certainly dramatic, perched atop a high, steep-sided hill to the northeast of the modern city center (map).

The great temples and dramatic theater are visible from anywhere in the city, as they were meant to be.

Follow the signs to the Akropolis. From the Bergama Museum at the center of Bergama, it's over 5 km (3 miles) to the top of the hill along a narrow road that winds around the hill. A gate near the bottom of the hill is closed during the night to prevent access to the site.

The foundations of the monumental buildings of the ancient city cascade down the hill right to the modern city. It used to be possible to hike to the top of the hill through the Gate of Eumenes and the various gymnasia and agoras, but the entire archeological site is now enclosed by a fence. If you walk, you must walk along the auto road all the way to the summit—a long, hot walk in summer. (In April—a much more pleasant time to hike—the hill is carpeted with beautiful wildflowers.)

As you ascend the hill, note the remains of ancient aqueducts in the valleys to the west and north.

At the summit is a parking lot (small fee), some souvenir and refreshment shops. Pay the admission fee, and walk up the stone ramp to reach the summit.

The most prominent building here is the Traianeum, or Temple of Trajan, a huge marble temple that has been partially reconstructed from ruins found on the site.

Beside it is the Temple of Athena, also partially reconstructed. Between the Traianeum and Athena temple was Pergamum's famous library of 200,000 volumes.

Behind these to the east are the ruins of numerous dark stone palaces (not much to look at). West of them, carved into the steep hillside, is the dramatic Hellenistic theater. Like most Hellenic and Hellenistic theaters, it offered a scenic panorama just in case the play was boring.

The highest point on the hilltop, now marked by a Turkish flag, were 3rd-century BC arsenals.

Just down the hill from the summit on its own terrace is the site of the Altar of Zeus, now in Berlin. At the foot of the theater, reached by the grand Theater Terrace/ Promenade, was the Temple of Dionysus.

—Tom Brosnahan

What to See & Do in Bergama

Bergama Acropolis

Bergama Asclepion

Red Basilica

Bergama Museum

Bergama Hotels

Bergama Transportation

About Bergama

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