The Red Basilica at Bergama

Apart from our trip up to ancient Pergamon, the town of Bergama had another set of ruins located within the town. On our second day there we walked down from our hotel and checked them out.

Heading back down into the town with the ruins ahead in the distance

Located close to the road, we walked over to the main section that included the Red Basilica. It was likely built during the reign of Hadrian, around 130 B.C. and dedicated to the Egyptian gods Serapis, Isis, Osiris and Harpocrates.

Sarcophagus in front of the basilica
The view looking up inside the basilica
Statue dedicated to the Egyptian god Sekhmet
Various columns and sarcophagi were scattered around the site

Considered one of the largest surviving Roman structures in the Greek world, the ruins were huge, looming above us as we walked through the site. There were few other people on the day we visited, so we enjoyed the ruins in a quiet setting. Apparently the original site included an immense bridge that was 196 metres (643 ft) wide, but this part of the original site was long gone.

I took the photo from the podium where the cult statue used to be

In the 5th century a Christian basilica was built on top of the original pagan temple. The original was a vast hall and had a wooden roof. It was built using red bricks, giving the site its name. There used to be marble everywhere, but it was looted long ago.

At one end of the temple there was a section where I could scramble up a few levels

We spend about an hour at the site, and it was well worth the small entry fee. From there we headed back up the hill to seek out a restaurant we had found online.

Saying hello to a friendly stray dog

The place we were looking for was called the Akropolis, an appropriate name considering the location. We walked through the narrow streets until we found it.

View from the Akropolis restaurant

We arrived in the late afternoon, and were the only guests there. We took a spot in the courtyard outside, enjoying the attention of local cats while we enjoyed the view of the town below us and the ruins high above. The restaurant had a selection of local foods using tapas-style small plates. Everything was delicious and well worth the price

The selection included melted cheeses, grilled vegetables, eggplant dip, meat skewers and fresh bread.

Bergama was a small town with a great history, and provided a worthwhile inland stop before we started back on the highway further north. Our next stop on was the northwest coast of Turkey, where we would stay in Canakkale. From that location we would visit the Gallipoli peninsula as well as the ruins of ancient Troy.

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