A visit to Pergamon (Pergamum) means stepping back in time to one of the most well-preserved ancient Greek city-states. The city rose to prominence under the rule of Alexander the Great’s successor Lysimachus, who with his fortune built many of the structures that stand as ruins today. There are two main areas to explore: the Upper Acropolis and the Lower City.
The path up the hill to the Acropolis leads to the square base of the Altar of Zeus (the reliefs were taken by German explorers and are now on display at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin). From here wander to temples dedicated to various Greek gods, aqueducts, city walls, a gymnasium and the site of the famous Library of Pergamum, the second largest in antiquity. Stroll through the former royal palaces, and don’t miss the hillside Hellenistic theater with seating for 10,000 that is the steepest of the ancient world.
Pergamon lies about a 15-minute walk northeast of the city of Bergama. The entrance to the Akropol (Acropolis) is open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and admission costs 20 Turkish Lira. There is also a cable car up the hill for a round-trip fee of 8 Turkish Lira. Many visitors choose to take the cable car up and walk down.