That’s right, Turkey has it’s own Acropolis! Why not? Acropolisses (Acropoli?) for everybody! The Bergama (or Pergamon) version is just as impressive as the Athenian one, but with waaayyy less people wandering around shooting selfies.
The Turkish Acropolis is in the town of Bergama, not far from the Aegean coast. Bergama’s pretty small, and the food options were pretty dismal at first until our hotelier at the Odyssey Guest House told us about the wonderful Çığırtma Evi. The ladies were hand-rolling Yaprak Sarma (rice wrapped in grapevine leaves) at one of the tables when we walked in.
There’s a cable car up the side (for the lazy, says we who walked) and a parking lot for those (lazy) who want to drive up.
There are suggested routes through the site which are marked with big blue dots or have wooden boardwalks. You’re also free to roam around as you please, which is our preferred mode of travel. It’s in roaming around that we find the quiet spots to sit and the best people watching.
The highlight of the place for us was the views. Because it’s on a mountaintop, you get different views depending on which part of the ruins you explore. Behind the mountain is a reservoir and remnants of the ancient aqueduct that served the city on the peak.
The central feature of the ruins is the Temple of Zeus. The German fellow who oversaw the restoration absconded with most of it. Apparently there is a wonderful museum exhibit in Berlin featuring the main altar and restored friezes. What’s left in Bergama is still very impressive though.
The other incredible feature that is still more or less intact is the theatre. This overlooks the current town of Bergama and is steep enough to give you vertigo. We tried to run down the steps with the kids and ended up reduced to a shuffle to avoid a family catastrophe.
The Best Part
The best part of our whole stay in Bergama, which was great from start to finish, had nothing to do with ruins.
One day we were wandering around in the back streets and we came to a road block. Fortunately we were able to talk, and jump, our way through it.