Pergamum is a district that located in Western Anatolia, at North of Izmir. This important cultural center with its rich history hosts archaeological ruins and artifacts that have been protected until today.
Bergama, anciently Pergamum is established on a hill. Archaeological data achieved from this hill (Pergamum Acropolis) indicates that history of this city goes back to VII – VI Centuries B.C. However, researches performed on Kaikos valley where ancient city is located, indicates that this region was inhabited since earlier (Prehistoric) ages.
Pergamum name means a citadel and the suffix “amon” indicates that it comes from Luwi language or Western Anatolian languages.
The first information about Pergamum was given in the book of Anabasis which means “Return of Thousands” was written in 399 BC. But continuous information about historic process of city begins with the conquest of Anatolia by Alexander in 334 BCE. Including that of Pergamum in Mysia passed to the administration of King of Thrace, Lysimachus who was one of the generals of Alexander.
Lysimachus appointed Philetarus as an officer who was responsible from the state treasury to protect 9.000 talent (approximately 2.7 million solid gold) here. Philetarus who stored that money in the acropolis later found the city of Pergamum with that treasure upon the death of his boss, Lysimachus in 282 BC.
Kingdom of Pergamum by dominating the political, economic, social, cultural and scientific fields during the Hellenistic period for 150 years with playing an important role lived his golden age.
The period of Kingdom starting with Philetarus (281-263 BC) as Attalids continued by his successors (I.Eumenes (263-241 BC), I.Attalus (241-197 BC), II.Eumenes (BC 197-159), II.Attalus (159-138 BC) and III.Attalus (138-133 BC).
Upon death of last king of Pergamum Attalus III, Pergamum passed to Roman Empire through inheritance and still survives as an important state of Asia Minor.
Roman era was a bright period again for Pergamum. Increasing population, the architecture comprehension expanding into plain of Bakırçay, the social structures that served the entertainment industry, with new solutions in architecture as a province of the Roman world remained important.
Separation of Roman Empire (AD 395) caused beginning of Byzantine Age for Pergamum. During this period, the tradition of religious architecture function manifested in the development and spread of Christianity becomes one of the important centers of Anatolia.
The ancient city of Pergamum during Roman period covers a large area beginning from the Acropolis to the west of the Bakırçay Plain. Expanding within the city limits of the Roman Temple (Basilica) and the amphitheater of the Sanctuary of Asklepeion, theatres and stadiums. However, these theatres and stadiums are still earthed and unexcavated today. The sanctuary of Asklepeion, in the same years of the city established, located outside the borders of city as a treatment center.
The city's historical process of the Arab invasions in the year 716, in the year 1345 under the sovereignty of the Turkish Period continues with Menteşeoğulları reaches up to the present.
During Turkish age, city was expanded from outskirts of Acropolis towards plain parts of Bakırçay Valley. Mosques, masjids, shops, bazaar, bridges, inns and baths, fountains, streets and residential architecture with the concept of the Turkish culture and Turkish concept are many works that reflect the architectural tradition.
Basilica planned scheme of Ulu Mosque (1398-1399), Seljuk minaret (14th-15th centuries) 's glazed and unglazed brick ornaments, Tabaklar Bath (14th-15th centuries)'s dome switch used with embellishments on the wall surfaces stenciled decorations of art history are very important..
Also, Republic Period structures that are dated 20th century represent a different face of the city architecture with their Neo Classic styles. Old Pergamum High School, Old Headquarters Building and Old Executive Office Building are the a few good samples to the remarkable structures from those days.
In the Pergamum Acropolis settlement planning land was shaped according to the geographical structure. From the top of the hill, with terracing method extended to the south and west. The palaces, great temples, social and cultural structures built with the laid grid system showing development in urban architecture at two sections as Upper and Lower City in two sections exposes an successful urban planning example.
In the public area that is named as upper city and being the residence place of kings, the royal palaces, arsenals and large temples were constructed. In the lower city, Temple of Demeter, Hera Temple, Gymnasium and Lower Agora in a leaner approach to public order in the evolving architecture is remarkable.
In the upper city, The Temple of Trajan for Roman Emperors Hadrian and Trajan (2nd century A.D.), the big problem of placement and handling in steep terrain were carried out with great skill with supporting vaults from beneath.
The lower terrace of the temple south placed immediately famous Pergamum Library with its rich collection of 200. 000-volumes of scrolls from the Hellenistic Period. In the library which connected with the Temple of Athena in architecture technique; much richer collection of works was created with discovery of the scrolls by Pergamum as a new writing tool.
Athena Temple (4th Century B.C.) is the earliest temple of Pergamum and devoted to protector of the city Athena. With the availability of orientation separated from other temples, monumental entrance and votive statues in the temenos area in the parapet of the gallery with the spoils of war weapons reliefs of the Galatians is extremely remarkable.
On the west side of Acropolis; Pergamum theatre is located which was constructed in the Hellenistic Age with 10.000 people capacity but unstable wooden stage building. In the north of the theatre, another temple is located dedicated to the god of wine Dionysus has the cohesion with theatre architecture and as the meaning of theatre being.
In the south west of the theatre, at lower code, the most famous work of School at Pergamum Sculpture, Pergamum Altar of Zeus was built after an ultimate successful result and certain victory of Attalus I against Galatians the barbarians, and also dedicated Goddess Athena and God Zeus.
In the reliefs on the friezes, the war, Pergamenes were depicted as the Gods from Olympus but the enemies, Galatians as giants in a indirect narrative expression. A sentimental (pathetic) expression of the reliefs was an important contribution to antique styled sculptures of Pergamum.