Pergamon

Today Pergamon is known for the extensive amount of  ancient ruins still in tact high on the mountain above the modern day Turkish city of Bergama.  In its prime, however, it was known for its great library, considered to be second only to the Library of Alexandria, and its Asclepeion, which was considered to be the greatest therapeutic and healing center in the entire Roman Empire.  The Pergamenes were also the inventors of parchment from calfskin, created when papyrus became scarce and the Ptolemies stopped exporting it, and it’s believed that the Library contained over 20,000 parchment scrolls.

In order to reach the ancient city, we had to travel up the mountainside by gondola and then wandered around the ruins, much of which were temples and tributes to the gods, Zeus, Hera, Athena, Demeter, and Dionysus to name a few.  There was a lot to see and many, many pictures taken (read: I could have added a TON more, but figured you probably didn’t want to spend 3 days looking through pictures!).

up, up, up the gondola we go!

up, up, up the gondola we go!

Even at the top, there are stairs to climb!

Even at the top, there are stairs to climb!

An arch way and a view of the town below.

An archway and a view of the city below.

April contemplates

April contemplates the ruins around her

Statue of a soldier...but all I can think is "doth mother know you wearth her drapes?"!!

doth mother know you wearth her drapes?

The most impressive structures--towering over everything else in the city

The most impressive structures–towering over everything else in the city

Pergamon has the steepest theatre, with a seating capacity of 10,000 people

Pergamon has the steepest theatre in all of Ancient Greece, with a seating capacity of 10,000 people

That's a long way down to the stage!

That’s a long way down to the stage!

Osgur (our guide) telling us about the theatre--asking if anyone wants to venture to the bottom...alas, no takers! No one wanted to make the climb all the way back up!

Osgur (our guide) telling us about the theatre–asking if anyone wants to venture to the bottom…alas, no takers! No one wanted to make the climb all the way back up!

columns, schmolumns--they made for good seating!

columns, schmolumns–they made for good seating!

Inside the Trajaneum/The Sanctuary of Trajan

Inside the Trajaneum/The Sanctuary of Trajan

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walking on a wall to nowhere

a look down the well...

a look down the well…

a bit of reconstruction

a bit of reconstruction

peek-a-boo!

peek-a-boo!

On the road to the the Temple of Zeus

On the road to the the Temple of Zeus

The temple of Zeus

The temple of Zeus

Beware of the Tojan Horse

If I can admit my geographic ignorance for a moment, I didn’t realize that a lot of the ancient Greek cities are in what is now Turkey.  Honestly, I’d never really given the geography of ancient Greece much thought prior to this trip.  Then lo and behold, there in Turkey–I found myself smack dab in the middle of ancient Greek ruins, such as this:

Our tour group pose for the token Horse shot

Our tour group pose for the token Horse shot

Okay, okay…obviously this isn’t the real Trojan Horse, but you have to admit it’s size is pretty impressive!  Thanks to Helen & Paris, the story of the Trojan Horse is probably one of the most well-known Greek stories.  But archaeologically, Troy is a gold mine.  As was tradition, new cities built upon older city ruins.  There are 9 levels of Troy (it’s estimated that the Trojan War occurred in either Level 6 or 7)–and as we walked amongst the ruins we saw them all.

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As you can see the amphitheater is the most compete structure, which was definitely the case in most of the ruins we visited on our trip.

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According to our guide the “horse” was most likely a battering ram–perhaps with a horse head–that was romanticized into what we think of today as the Trojan Horse.  And while seeing the horse might lure one to visit Troy, it’s the archeology that will make it worth all the while.

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