The Ruins of Pergamon in Turkey

Turkey has more than its fair share of Greek ruins, many of which get overlooked in favor of the famous Ephesus. Pergamon is one such site. It’s about 16 miles from the Aegean perched high on a hill with a nice view of the modern Turkish city of Bergama.


At one point this was the capital of the Attalid kingdom, a political entity that first formed after the fall of the empire of Lysimachus, one of Alexander the Great’s generals. After the contraction of the latter empire in 282 BCE, one of his officers started in Pergamon and built a smaller kingdom. By 133 BCE it was in Roman hands.


The acropolis here was inspired by the Acropolis of Athens. Famous residents include Galen, a very important Greek figure in the history of medicine.






The Pergamon theater is built down the slope of the hill and offers what must have been a view that risked distraction during performances.


The halls under the seats of the theater.

Many of the artifacts and a reconstruction of the Altar of Pergamon, dedicated to Zeus and commissioned by Eumenes II around 180 BCE, can be seen in the Pergamon Museum of Berlin. At Pergamon, sadly, only the steps remain. This is a nice computerized model of what the city must have looked like in antiquity.

7 thoughts on “The Ruins of Pergamon in Turkey

  • Pingback: Want Greek Ruins? Go to Turkey

    • January 13, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      I go back to Ephesus about every 5-7 years and they have done something or uncovered something to make it worth the revisit. The mosaic-floor villas weren’t open when I first went in 1998 or again in 2005. Saw them finally in 2011!

  • January 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    This has been on our to do list since we moved to Turkey ten years ago and we’ve STILL not made it there. The setting just looks fantastic. Love your photos.

    • January 13, 2013 at 3:04 pm

      Thanks, Julia! If you can tell which ones are film photos, those are all rather close to each other. I hitchhiked among them with a GF at the time and it was just fantastic. Others I’ve been to on a tour with an excellent guide. Two different sorts of experiences for sure. 🙂 We will be in Istanbul in May for a wedding. Not sure if we’ll have time to venture further afield.

  • February 28, 2013 at 3:11 am

    Oh, Turkey. When will I ever get to visit you. It’s really one of my top destinations! And I’m all about ruins and ancient stuff! That theater is something I would literally gasp about when seen in person. Truly and remarkably a wonder to behold!

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