The Asclepion (Asklepieion) of Pergamum
was perhaps the world's most famous
ancient medical center, and is the
second-most important site in Bergama.
The Asclepion is west of the city
center, 1.6 km (one mile) north of
the main street, reached by a road
on the left (north) 6 km (3.73 miles)
east of the Otogar (bus
terminal) and one km (6/10 mile) west
Bergama Museum and
city center (map).
The road to the Asclepion passes through
a large Turkish army base. Do not linger
on the road, or take photos, and be
off the road by dusk.
Founded by a man named Archias, the
Asclepion of Pergamum became
famous under Galen (131-210
AD), a local physician who pursued
his medical studies in Greece and Alexandria
(Egypt) before settling here as doctor
to Pergamum's gladiators.
||Frog in a sacred pool,
From the parking lot and entrance
where there are shops and snack-and-drink
stands, you walk along a monumental
marble street bordered by columns.
This was once an active market
street, with shops lining
both sides of the street. The acropolis
of Pergamum is clearly visible on its
hilltop to the east.
Coming into the main precinct of the
Asclepion, notice the large marble
column fragment bearing the Asclepion's
symbol: two snakes facing each other
across a wheel. As snakes shed their
skins are are "reborn," so patients
at the Asclepion were to shed their
illnesses and regain health.
You first notice the large theater of
the Asclepion, in front of which are
several stone-framed sacred
pools, filled with water (and
frogs) in spring, though perhaps dry
in summer and autumn.
pool and theater of
way into the Asclepion,
with the acropolis of Pergamum
in the background.