Theater of Pergamon, Turkey's Aegean coast

The Theatre of Pergamon, one of the steepest theatres in the world, has a capacity of 10,000 people and was first constructed in the 3rd century BC


Pergamum (or Pergamon) was an important kingdom during the second century BC, having grown from a city-state captured by Alexander the Great.

Upon Alexander's death in 323 BC, his generals fought for control of the parts of his empire. Lysimachus took command of the Aegean coast, but was killed in 281 BC, leaving Pergamum in the control of Philetarus the Eunuch, who used Lysimachus's treasure to increase his power.

Roman archways in tour of ancient city of Pergamum, Turkey

Philetarus's nephew and heirs built on their inheritance, and Eumenes II (197-159 BC), King of Pergamum, became the most powerful ruler in Anatolia. He beautified his capital city by building the Altar of Zeus, by constructing numerous buildings in the "middle city" on the slope of the Acropolis, and by expanding and beautifying the Asclepion medical center. More...

Eumenes II's son Attalus III was not his father's equal. Pergamum's power declined, and on Attalus's death in 129 BC, the Kingdom of Pergamum was willed to Rome and became its Province of Asia (Minor).

Roman Pergamum was still a rich, important city. Some of its most important monuments, such as the Temple of Trajan, date from Roman times.

Mosaic floor in Bergama (Pergamum) museum

Where to stay

The modern town of Bergama (ancient Pergamum) has some hotels but many people visit Pergamum while traveling along the Aegean between Gallipoli and Ephesus.