Turkey, September 2009

Pergamon & Pamukkale

Photos by Walt & Gloria Fogler-Mancini


The walled city of Pergamon, situated on a hilltop, is 16 miles from the Aegean coast.  Its beauty and sophistication has been attributed to general Philetarus’ using “booty” from Alexander the Great’s treasury after 281 B.C.  As Athens declined, this area, Anatolia, was the center of the Greek world.  By 150 B.C., the kingdom of Pergamon controlled much of western Anatolia. 

The city grew to 100,000 people. Its final Greek ruler, Attalus III, bequeathed it to Rome when he died in 133 B.C. and it became the capital of the province. Its library had over 200,000 volumes and was given to Cleopatra by Mark Anthony. 

The Great Altar of Zeus, or Pergamon Altar, has friezes of the Battle of the Gods and the Giants.  It was built in the first half of the second century B.C. and was on the platform you see to the right.

The altar was reconstructed in the Pergamon Museum that opened in 1930 in Berlin.  In the 19th century there were many German engineers and archaeologists working in the Ottoman Empire.

A story:  a German engineer working in Anatolia found the ruins and consulted a German archaeologist.  They asked the sultan if they could have the altar and the sultan said they could have any rocks they wanted. 

The Sanctuary of Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, is located near Pergamon.  People would bathe in the waters of its sacred spring and Asclepius would appear to them in their dreams with a cure.

The site of Hierapolis and Pamukkale is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The city, Hierapolis, was founded as a thermal spa by Eumenes II of Pergamon in the second century B.C.  After an earthquake in 60 A.D., it was rebuilt by the Romans.

Hierapolis was built atop Pamukkale, the “cotton castle”.   People have enjoyed Pamukkale’s hot springs and travertine terraces for thousands of years.  Access to the terraces is fairly well controlled.

Water from the hot springs loses carbon dioxide as it flows down the slopes, leaving deposits of travertine limestone.  All together, these terraces are about 8900 feet long and 520 feet high.

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The photographs were taken with Leica digital cameras, an M8, D-LUX 2 and R9 with a digital back.  All images are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission.  If you are interested in information about images or prints, please e-mail us at fogler.mancini@sbcglobal.net.       

March 14, 2010                                                                                                                                        wgfm

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