I had an early flight out of Istanbul to Izmir. I arrived in Izmir airport at around 9am, where I took a bus (dolmus) to the otogar (bus station). From there, I transfered to another small bus to Bergama, which is the site of the Ancient city of Pergamon and Asclepion.
I arrived in Bergama around noon. I quickly checked in to my hostel (Odyssey Guesthouse). I was the only one booked so I essentially had the whole house. After a couple of minutes rest to reorganize myself and stuff, I commissioned a cab to take me to Pergamon and Asclepion for 20TL.
Pergamon is perched atop a hill overlooking Bergama. Majority of the relics were “stolen” by the German excavators and taken to Berlin. They are now currently housed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. The remaining artifacts are still impressive and one just needs to use some level of imagination in order to conjure the enormity of the place.
Afterwards, I was taken to the Asclepion, which was located below the cliff. The Asclepion was the medical center of the inhabitants of Pergamon. There were still several existing structures within the complex, including a well preserved theater and a fountain which spills out healing waters. It was hot then, so I filled up my water bottle with the mysterious water.
I met four ladies who were on a day trip from Izmir, they showed me a spot where you can have all of yours diseases and worries healed. I touched the spot and performed some form of a ritual.
I went back to my hostel, but not without being invited left and right by well-meaning locals to have tea or have a chat. Everybody was so friendly! (Some authentically, some with ulterior motives– to sell carpets). I also had some of the best Turkish delights here in Bergama. Yum!
Tomorrow, I’m off to Selcuk to see Ephesus!