Pergamon and Troy

Trip Start Mar 28, 2014
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14
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Trip End Apr 13, 2014


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Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Thursday, April 10, 2014

We walked around Izmir last night before dinner and found that the city is very modern- hip and trendy might be a better term. People were nicely dressed. We saw no women wearing the traditional head scarf. The shops contained modern, trendy goods. The seaside restaurants would rival those seen in top European cities. Sadly we left our fabulous Swissotel hotel in Izmir after only a single night's stay.

Our first stop was the ancient city of Pergamon, which I have never heard of. It is the site of steepest Greek theater in Turkey. It had the 2nd largest library in Asia Minor and it was the home of the only health spa in Asia Minor. It was also where parchment paper was invented! Pretty impressive for a place I never heard of.

We visited the site of Asklepion which was a healing sanctuary, located at Pergamon. Established in the 4th century BC it really flourished in the Roman era of 1-2 century AD. The only other one in the ancient world was in Greece. It was a place where rich Romans came to be cured of what ailed them. Patients were treated emotionally and surgery was only done as a last resort. Interestingly, the hospital would not accept anyone deemed to be seriously ill as they did not want to have it known that people died while being treated there! After "purification" and proper sacrifices to the gods, you were dressed in white robes and led to underground rooms where you spent your first night. The rooms had water flowing continuously under the floor to soothe the patient while he slept. The next day the doctor discussed what you dreamt about and your further treatment was based on those dreams. The was a library at the site and you were encouraged to read. There was a small theater where you could enjoy music and concerts. You were encouraged to drink water from the sacred fountain and work out in the gym. Sounds a lot like the precursor to our current health spas.

The first rain showers of our trip occurred as we were touring Troy, the site of Virgil and Homer's stories of the Trojan War (held sometime in the 11-14 centuries BC) and the Trojan horse. Luckily it was intermittent showers and Insight even provided us with umbrellas so it was not much of an inconvenience. There were actually nine different Troys built on the same site from 2500BC. Earthquakes and fires destroyed earlier versions of Troy. Given its age there is not much left at the site but it was interesting to see how building techniques evolved over the centuries.

For most people the major highlight at the site is the replica of the Trojan horse. Needless to say most of us climbed in it and took pictures. I got the feeling that not everyone feels there was such an event and that it might have been made up by Virgil and Homer who wrote about it.
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Comments

Stan and Cindy on

Gosh, your visits to these 2000 year old sights sound fascinating

Stan on

The Trojan Horse - did that really happen?

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