Bergama, which was originally named Pergamon but also called “Pergamum”, “Pergame” or “Pergamu” in other languages, existed even before history. It still amazes people with its tall buildings and myths.
The people of Bergama are so lucky since they live on the heritage of humanity…
Tour Guide Prof. Dr. Şadan GÖKOVALI
“The author that best describes Bergama
2147 years before our time the King of Pergamon Attalos Ephiphanes died.
His kingdom composed of Anatolian lands from Çanakkale to Antalya, from İzmir to Afyon. He was the last king of this rich kingdom. He was paranoid. He believed he would be poisoned so he grew toxic herbs and tested poison on inmates to see how long it would take them to die. He also thought he had a great gift and made sculptures from marble. When his beloved mother died he went crazy. The untimely death of his beautiful wife Berenice drove him to the edge. He wanted to build a monumental tomb for his mother in the summer and died of a heat stroke.
His will read:
“Populus Romanus bonorum heres esto.”
According to some writers, who claimed it was a bogus will, Attalos claimed that Roma was entitled to his country.
The mutiny of Aristonikos
After this bogus will, Rome started attacking Anatolia.
Right at that moment, Aristonikos, the illegitimate son of King Eumenes II started to act. He said; I will name my country Heliopolis and free the slaves that will join my army.
Slaves all around Anatolia who had no place to go joined his army. A generation before Spartacus the rise of socialists had begun. This resilient army fought gallantly and beat the Romans. However, drunk by power and victory, Aristonikos forgot all about his mission. In the meantime, a much larger army, led by Marcius Perperna, cornered Aristonikos and his men at Leukai. Aristonikos and his men hid in the Stratobekeis castle in Phrygia. The Romans took the castle and the first mutiny in history failed. Aristonikos was taken to Rome and executed.
From Pergamon to Bergama
Bergama, which was originally named Pergamon but also called “Pergamum”, “Pergame” or “Pergamu” in other languages, existed even before history. It still amazes people with its tall buildings and myths. There are over 100 books in various languages about the city. Here is a practical guide of Bergama.
Establishment: Hercules, on route to the Olympics, is a guest to Aleos, the king of Arcadia. The oracle in the kingdom warns the king not to marry his only daughter Auge because claims that Auge’s child would murder his two uncles and marry his mother. In the meantime, Hercules sleeps with the princess and she becomes pregnant. The king throws his daughter into the Aegean Sea in a coffin. The coffin surfaces at the kingdom of Teftras. The king thinks this is a gift from the gods and adopts the girl. King Aleos leaves his grandson Telefos in the woods to die.
The boy, nurtured by a lion in the woods, grows up and kills his two uncles while searching for his mother. He arrives at Teftranya, the capital city of King Teftras. At the time, the country is at war with the Galat. The boy joins the king’s army and defeats the enemy. The king wants to reward him and wants him to marry his adopted daughter. A snake passes between them the first night they sleep and the oracles say that these two cannot get married because they are mother and son. The wedding is cancelled and the king gives the boy half of his country. Telefos builds Bergama on a 335 meter hill and makes it the capital of his country.
Çınar Dede and Ihlamur Nine: The people of this land had forgotten about the gods. Upon seeing this, Zeus summoned Hermes and said:
- Son, people don’t respect me and don’t make sacrifices for me. Let us go down to earth and see what they are doing.
The gods didn’t have trouble with transportation so they flew down to Western Anatolia. The situation was worse than they expected. They are having fun and don’t care about the gods. People slam doors in their faces if they ask for a bit of food. As they are about to return to Olympos, they see a cabin on the slope of the mountain.
- Hey people, says Zeus, “We are two weary travelers. Can you please put us up for the love of God?”
The two elderly people in the cabin, Philemon and his wife Baucus greeted the strangers with warmth. They cooked their only goose and gave them wine. They gave their only bed to the strangers and spent the night outside the cabin…
The next morning, Zeus tells them who he really is and asks them what they would want. Their answer: “What we could possibly want mighty God? We lived happily together and we only wish to die together…”
Zeus agrees. First he demolishes the city and kills the citizens that wouldn’t respect him and then erects a temple in place of the cabin, making the couple a nun and a priest!And both of them lived happily ever after until their death…
A fine Aegean morning, the woman who is sitting on the steps of the magnificent temple says:
- My other half, “Your arms are becoming branches and you are turning into a sycamore tree!”
And her husband said:
- My love, my life, and you are turning into a linden tree!
As they spoke to each other, their lips turned into bark and they became to trees. The people of Bergama have since called this tree “Çınar Dede” and “Ihlamur Nine”…
There isn’t enough space to tell you about the magnificent structures in Bergama so İ will tell you about some of them:
- On the left while heading towards the city from İzmir or Dikili, there is a SPA amongst pine nut trees. I will not be able to take you there because you simply don’t need it!
- Asklepion, the first fully equipped health center of the antique age, is located on the road left of the entrance of the city. You might not be seeking treatment but people had been coming to Asklepion to heal since the antique ages.
- Tombs of kings are located at Maltepe and Tavşantepe tumuli at the entrance of Bergama.
- You can see the Bergama Museum on the left at the city center, Ulu Mosque, the 20 thousand capacity theatre and the remains of the 30 thousand capacity amphitheater.
- You can see the Serapeion on route to the castle, built on tunnels that cover Selinos stream.
- On the right side of the winding road, you will see the Lower Agora, City Walls, Excavation House and the House of Attalos. The sign on the door reads: Come, Enjoy the Hospitality of Attalos.
- Near the end of the climb you will see Kestel Dam Lake and the 335 meter high aqueducts.
- When you exit the cableway or your car, you will see the city wall, the Byzantine Castle if you follow the blue dots, the Temple of Athena on the left and the Bergama Library.
- The Temple of Hadrian at the highest spot of the acropolis which is being restored now and one of the steepest theatres in the world attract attention.
- You will see the remains of the Altar of Zeus built in the Hellenistic style after the theatre. You can rest under the pine trees in front of the altar which was taken to Berlin 150 years ago by King Humann. The Christians called this building the throne of the devil.
- If you have a guide and enough time, you can see the Upper Agora, the Middle City, the remains of public buildings and houses, the temples of Demeter and Hera, the stadium, the amazing gymnasium, the Roman bath, the lower level city walls and the Fountain of Eumenes II…
Here is what we hope you can take from this article:
“BERGAMA, THE SUMMARY OF CIVILIZATION!”