Wisdom, Faith, and Healing: Ancient Pergamum and Asklepion
- Acropolis: Ascend by cable car and see a 10,000-seat amphitheater carved into the hillside and the vast library that helped make Pergamum an ancient "university town."
- Sacred sites of gods: Visit the site of the monumental Altar of Zeus, the Sanctuary of Athena, Temple of Dionysus, and the reconstructed marble Temple of Trajan.
- Asklepion: Drink from the rejuvenating Sacred Well in the sanctuary of Asclepios, god of healing, and see the serpent altar that gave modern medicine its famous symbol.
About This Dikili Tour
Eumenes II was a king who valued knowledge. When he ruled over wealthy, thriving Pergamum (population about 200,000) from 197 to 159 B.C., he established a learning center with one of the most important libraries in ancient Greek civilization. Second only to the Great Library at Alexandria, it contained over 200,000 volumes. (Perhaps Eumenes was aiming for a 1:1 ratio of books to his subjects.)
A statue of Athena, goddess of wisdom, graced the library's large reading room. Surrounding her were thousands of manuscripts, written on rolled scrolls and stored on the reading room's shelves. Pergamum's bookish citizens would have been comfortable there. The library was built with space between its outer walls and the shelves to help control humidity and warm temperatures.
In 37 B.C., those shelves were emptied when all the books in Pergamum's library were checked out by one famous general. Legend holds that Mark Antony gifted them all to Cleopatra as a wedding present. Another account claims he gave them to her to make up for Julius Caesar burning down Alexandria's library in one of antiquity's greatest acts of vandalism. However she acquired them, Cleopatra was queen of the archives.
Before Mark Antony, when the library was still full, the Egyptians refused to sell papyrus to Pergamon (they were afraid its library might surpass theirs). So Eumenes invented a process to make parchment from animal skins. Parchment was used for centuries until Europeans learned Chinese papermaking skills. Even then, parchment remained the medium of choice for special items like royal proclamations and correspondence. For the creation of parchment and the construction of one of the world's great libraries, Eumenes merits his own chapter in history's scroll.
Long before Freud analyzed dreams
With massage and mud baths, the Asklepion center was a bit like a modern spa. But it was also one of the first psychotherapy centers. After spending the night, patients spent hours in therapy to interpret their dreams. These dreams were believed to be a visit from Askelpios, who held the key to curing illness. Asklepion and its ancient therapies were popular with the Roman elite, with emperors Marcus Aurelius and Hadrian among its A-list patients.
Meeting points are at the Dikili Cruise Port, Hotel, or Izmir International Airport and look for our tour representative with the displayed logo sign. Be sure to indicate the name of your hotel at check-out so we know where to meet you.
We recommend for travelers to watch their step at all times in order to avoid any potential injury. The order of the tour may vary to avoid congestion at the venues. Cable cars to the Acropolis hold a maximum of 8 participants.
Due to the nature of this tour, it is not recommend for travelers using walkers or wheelchairs. Travelers must be able to walk approximately 2 miles over uneven terrain including cobblestone surfaces and steep inclines.
Cultural, Scenic, Walking Tour, Bus Tour
English, German, Spanish, French, Italian
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated strenuous. Travelers must consider their physical fitness level and medical history when determining whether this tour is appropriate. Travelers with pre-existing neck, back, knee and/or shoulder injuries, cardiac conditions, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, other heart or respiratory conditions or any other medical condition must take particular caution when selecting a tour categorized as "strenuous". If you have concerns, you must consult with your personal physician before engaging in any activity that may be too strenuous for you.
Suitable for all ages.
Special Medical Restriction
This tour is not recommended to travelers with walking difficulties or who cannot manage steps.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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