Bergama is the site of the ancient city called Pergamon and is usually seen on a two-day tour of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor or on an Aegean sea cruise. The place 180 mi/290 km southwest of Istanbul merits a visit because of its impressive ruins, which can be seen in several hours.
The ruins include the acropolis with its Altar of Zeus, palaces, gymnasiums, temples, the world's steepest amphitheater, the Asclepion (ancient medical center) and a now-empty library (it once held 200,000 volumes). Note the familiar symbol of medicine on the base of the Serpent Altar; Pergamon was the home of early medical theoretician Galen, whose teachings held sway for 1,500 years. Unfortunately, the most spectacular treasures from Pergamon can't be seen there—they're at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany.
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