Bergama, more famously celebrated as the ancient Greek city of Pergamon, served as the Hellenistic capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon under the Attalid dynasty (281-133 BCE). A major center for culture, commerce, and medicine, and teeming with philosophers, scientists, and artists, Pergamon boasted an outstanding library, a famous school of sculpture, excellent public buildings and monuments, and numerous celebrated art works of the ancient world. Inhabited since the time of Troy and witness to the great Hittite and Greek civilizations, the city is also famous as the place where parchment was first invented. During the Roman period, Pergamon played an important role in the early history of Christianity and is included in the Bible’s list of the Seven Churches of Revelation.
Today, the main sites of ancient Pergamon are to the north and west of the modern town. Asceplion was a sanctuary and a medical complex constructed in the fourth century BCE in honor of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. Pergamon's library on the Acropolis (the ancient Library of Pergamon) is the second of the three famous ancient libraries of ancient Greek civilization. One of the finest altars ever constructed in the ancient world is Pergamon’s Zeus Altar, dated to 180 BCE, that stands on its own, quite unusually, without any temple. Be sure not to miss the Sanctuary of Athena, the Temple of Trajan that dates to the second century CE, and the dramatically positioned acropolis theater atop the steep hill.