Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Top of the world

The ancient Greek city of Pergamon sits high on a mountain shelf about 26 kilometres away from the Aegean Sea. It is one of the seven churches of Asia as mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

To visit Pergamon, you have to travel to the modern city of Bergama and head up the mountain in a cable car. 

View from the cable car

Once at the top, you'll be greeted by a row of rickety shops chock-full of colourful bits and bobs run by cheeky Turkish men who will first ask you where you're from, who then if your answer happens to be England, will respond by saying 'Buy something. It's cheaper than Tesco!' 

Cheeky shopkeepers are not all you will see way up there. The prospect from the top is quite breathtaking. 

We went up a ramp into the ancient city; got caught in a sudden shower of rain (nothing like the Malaysian showers though because it lasted all of 10 minutes or less, but guess who freaked-out and ran for cover thinking it was going to be like one of our violent tropical storms); got hoodwinked - you know who you are - into walking down into the rather steep Hellenistic Theatre (which has the steepest seating of any known theatre in the ancient world mind you); finishing off at the Altar of Zeus in the Upper Acropolis

Look who's hiding in this photo?

View of Bergama while seated in the theatre

The Hellenistic Theatre

Interestingly, most of the Altar is located in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. The cunning Germans carted the whole lot back to Germany years and years ago. All that's left for anyone to see in the Upper Acropolis is the base of the Altar

A cluster of trees mark the base of the great Altar of Zeus

After the walk, we sat down to tea and a shop.

One of the many glasses of Cay enjoyed

Colourful bits and bobs. All cheaper than Tesco!

At the foot of Pergamon lies a great ruined temple called the Red Basilica. The building is one of the largest Roman structures still surviving in the ancient Greek world. It is thought that the building was initially used as a temple for Egyptian gods. Much later, the temple was converted into a church by the Byzantines. 

As with all ruins so old, this one is slowly but surely being ravaged by time. The building was off limits, so we could only take photos of it from afar. 

View of Pergamon from the Red Basilica