Pergamum Sacred Way with acropolis

Sacred Way and Acropolis 

One of the seven churches addressed in Revelation, the city of Pergamum became the center of a large kingdom in the 3rd century BC and retained its status as a political and cultural leader into the Byzantine period.

The acropolis rises 1300 feet above the lower city located on the plain of the Caicus River.



The god of healing, Asclepius received worship in cultic centers around the Greek and Roman world.  This large complex at Pergamum was originally constructed in the 4th century B.C. and became an official center in the the 3rd century.  

In the 2nd century AD, Hadrian further developed the center and it was added to the list of "wonders of the world."

Pergamum Asclepium north stoa


Pergamum Temple to Serapis


A temple to the ancient Egyptian god of the underworld was erected in the lower city of Pergamum.  The Serapis cult was founded by Ptolemy I and was centered in Alexandria.  

Held to be a god of healing, particularly of blindness,  Serapis was one of a number of Egyptian deities worshiped in ancient Greece and Rome. 


Temple of Trajan

Some impressive remains of this 2nd century AD marble temple dedicated to the emperor have been restored.  It sits next to the library which housed 200,000 volumes and was the second largest in the ancient world after Alexandria.  Parchment was invented in Pergamum after relations with Egypt soured and papyrus became difficult to obtain.  

Pergamum Trajan Temple with facade


Pergamum theater from above


This theater is one of the steepest ones preserved in Turkey today.  It sits on the edge of the city's acropolis.  It was built in the Hellenistic period and altered in the Roman period.  Seating capacity of this theater is estimated at 10,000 people.  


White Stone

This white stone at Pergamum with names inscribed reminds of Jesus' words: "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write...He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it" (Rev 2:12, 17).

Pergamum inscription on white stone

Related Websites

Pergamon (Bergama) (Christian Travel Study Program)  Focuses on the history of the city, including a listing of its kings in the Hellenistic period.  Features a section on the religious practices throughout antiquity.

Pergamum (  Offers the reader a tour through history, addressing each of the important ages of the city.  Features good pictures that illustrate and enhance the text.

Bergama (Pergamum) (Turkish Odyssey)  Offers a lengthy discussion on the history, biblical importance, archaeological discoveries, and physical layout of the site.

Pergamos (Pergamum) (WebBible Encyclopedia, ChristianAnswers.Net)  Interests the reader with physically, culturally and biblically descriptive facts, including internal links to related topics.

Pergamus (The Catholic Encyclopedia)  A lengthy article detailing the history of the city from its founding to present day.

Pergamum (Sisan Tours)  Briefly reviews the history of the site and highlights several of the archaeological features to be encountered.

Pergamum (Kusadasi Guide)  Among other details, this article discusses the architectural philosophy of this influential city, as it reflected the cultural and social values of its people.

Pergamum (University of South Dakota)  Describes the political ebb and flow of power in this influential kingdom.  Includes an annotated selected bibliography for further research. 

Pergamum (Cities of Revelation)  Offers a brief look at Pergamum historically, summarizing its situation in New Testament times.  Beautiful photograph of the amphitheater.

Pergamum (Focus Multimedia)  Offers a brief cultural and political history of the city; text only.

Amphitheater at Ancient Pergamum (  One low-resolution photograph of the amphitheater.