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BLOG Bergama, a lesser known heritage town in Turkey

15 January 2018 / Travel


Bergama, a town off the beaten track

Located in the Northern Aegean, Bergama is one of the most populous places of Izmir, Turkey with almost equal number of features. With a small part of it on the coastline, Bergama is in inland yet still is under the Mediterranean weather.

Bergama is one of the towns of Izmir, spotted in the variety of natural beauties such as a the vast pine forest, or waterfalls, numerous turquoise beaches, and the first geopark of Turkey in Kula, Manisa only 2,5 hours drive away.

The name, Bergama, has derived from Pergamon, the Roman city, and originally from the parchment paper where it was invented. Housing mostly the ruins of Hellenistic times, there are also artifacts served to worship Egyptian gods. That, and the cultural background has earned Bergama the UNESCO site sign.

The town, apart from touristic attractions, is also eligible for agriculture, and horticulture which serve as the main means of livelihood for the locals and the big greenhouse companies benefiting from the thermal springs for dry farming. Lately, European investors started building their wind turbine plants in the industrial zone of Bergama as the high winds provide renewable energy all around. Mines and quarries are also the other sources of income.

Transportation

Bergama is only 2 hours away from Izmir city center which will be accessible directly by train in the coming years. Currently, the rail line ends in Aliaga and buses are available to reach Bergama on a frequent schedule. There are also direct buses from Izmir for another easy way of transportation. There are small white local buses for town access from most of the neighbourhoods to the town center. Motorbikes and bikes are the most preferred means of transportation for the locals.

Mild Winters and Warm Summers

Bergama still has the coastal weather even though the majority of its borders is inland. The warm summers cause the locals spend their time on the beaches which are mostly only half an hour drive away, such as Yenişakran, Çandarlı, Dikili, Ayvalık. Bergama remains a silent place when compared to all the above stated highly crowded coastal towns as the high population live in the plentous villages of Bergama.

Mild winters surprised the locals with snow in recent years just like anywhere on earth. Yet the rain swipes the snow away in a short time mostly leaving behind one or double rainbows.

Less humid being in inlands, Bergama embraces a portion of Kozak plateau covered with pine trees, lately with many hotels and farm houses being constructed for cooler summers in the Aegean.

The fertile lands bear varieties of local produce to serve for the mediterranean cuisine. There are two market places for grocery shopping on Mondays and Saturdays besides the many grocery stores available anywhere in town. Any greens can be turned into a delicious dish in the Aegean yet meat is easily found in the butcher shops.

The local dish, çığırtma made with eggplants is a favorite for all. The cheese specific to Bergama is one of the well known of various easy to find dairy products.

Rich History

Bergama had been the location for the Kingdom of Pergamon that Ephesus in Selçuk has been paying taxes to. The modern town is built over the underground tunnels which lead to the castle up on the mountain and the ancient city, Acropolis.

High at the top, the ancient city looks over to the lands where the subjects of the Kingdom lived and the Asklepion which served as the healing center mostly known for the double snake symbol; caduceus born in.

Bergama has also the ruins of the Red Basilica basically built for worshipping Eyptian gods before Roman Empire turned the place into a church; and to emphasize it is one of the Seven Churches in the Bible.

The streets by the Red Basilica nest the hidden and well preserved Bergama Houses where the well-known ones can be seen by the castle.

It is common to drink water from the ancient fountains in the streets.

The tumuluses said to shelter the treasures for the kings are waiting to be explored by archeologists who had started their searches in the recent years.

The museum, Bergama cultural center in an award winning building, and other independent entrepreneurs emphasize the art and serve the people with visits, concerts and exhibitions.

Bergama offers a relatively quiet life when compared to the highly crowded Aegean and Mediterranean coastal towns of Turkey with historical richness and proximity to any natural feature required, might it be the beach or the forest. 

The town requires pages to tell about and living in that mystery is not easy to communicate.

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