BERGAMA / PERGAMUM TRIP 23-25 September 2016

A trip of superlatives – the steepest theatre, the largest library, the biggest altar – plus vintage cars, an Egyptian god, dream interpretation and suggestion therapy all conspired to make H3A’s most recent tour highly memorable.

H3A member Edit Sumer, helped by  Teoman Sumer and Linda Bennett, organized this trip so meticulously that the experience for us was one of a professional travel agency with the bonus of friendship and care.     The contribution of our local guide from Bergama, “Suleiman The Magnificent”,  in introducing us to the local culture should also be noted.

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Being third age people, we encounter few things that surprise us but during this trip we saw many things which interested and even amazed us. The first example was the KEY Museum in Torbalı owned by the Özgörkey Group which we visited on our way to Pergamum.  In this museum, 130 cars and 40 motorbikes from late 1800 to 2011 are exhibited in an area of 7000 square meters.  As we strolled around in the museum, each one of us expressed our astonishment in different ways. Seeing such a variety of cars in such great numbers was really very impressive.
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When we arrived at Bergama, before checking in at the hotel, we visited the Red Basilica where the statute of the Egyptian god, Serapis, was there to welcome us.  The main buildings were undergoing restoration but the courageous Hero3A team did not hesitate to enter the site despite the scaffolding to be able to see every detail. By the time the guard noticed what was going on and ran from his post to alert us, our “serious” members were laughing out loud, sharing the joy of having broken the rules.  They did not believe that they had just done such a mischief.
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The next morning, following quite an exciting trip for the agrophobics amongst us by cable car, we visited the acropolis of Pergamum which was our main destination. The steepest Hellenistic theatre, the largest library and the biggest altar of Anatolia are situated here.  Moreover, Pergamum is the place where the first parchments were used and here one can see the longest water systems of the Roman period. What we had encountered was a list of incredible firsts and time flew by as we tried to see and understand them.   When it was time for lunch we went back to the centre of the city and upon the suggestion of our guide, we chose the local food, Çığırtma, made of aubergine, which was delicious.
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After lunch we visited the Bergama museum followed by the Asklepieion, the largest and best known health centre of Anatolia.  Dream interpretation, suggestion therapy, mud baths, running barefoot under the rain were some of the natural treatment methods used at the Asklepieion.  We fed the turtles swimming in the area of the mud baths, washed our faces with the water from the spring and walked through the tunnels experiencing suggestion therapy by trying to listen to the sound of water. Although we were all quite tired after a long day this refreshed and revived us.
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On our way back to Bodrum on our last day we stopped at Ayvalık.   Here we visited the Taksiyarhis museum as well as two churches which are now used as mosques.   After some free time and lunch at places of our choice, we left Ayvalık, taking with us the famous goat cheese sweet (lor tatlisi) that we had bought and the sweet memories that we will cherish as we continued to Bodrum.

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Vivian Kohen, September 2016
Photographs by Demet Menteşe, Teoman Sümer, Vivian Kohen

 

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