To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live – where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city – where Satan lives.
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you. You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolations. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.
Pergamos is also known as Pergamum or Bergama. Our guide commented that although the site itself is nice, the locals aren’t doing much to encourage visitors – namely with high entrance fees and sub-standard hotel options. (Wi-fi only available in the lobby? Egads!)
The site has two locations. The lower part is the former site of the Asclepion Healing Center. The upper part was the Acropolis.
The healing center was renowned in its time for medical care for all sorts of ailments. This sanctuary gave people the opportunity to bathe in a sacred spring for its healing powers. Medical experts also helped people work through their personal issues by acting them out on a large stage, for a small fee, of course. If they didn’t receive complete healing they were encouraged to make a larger contribution to the sanctuary for better care. Many who were healed made sacrifices in thanksgiving.
People also used these tunnels to work through their issues. And I thought the healthcare maze in the U.S. was maddening! Sometimes voices would direct them to tasks needed for healing, such as monetary contributions. Perhaps that is more effective than direct mail campaigns or telemarketing.
There were many snake motifs carved on the stones here. This is because just as in modern times, the symbol for the medical arts is the snake.
We did not see any real snakes, thankfully. We did not see any turtles either, but we did see a few lizards.
There was a Christian church here (hence the letter in Revelation) as evidenced by Christian symbols.
After lunch we headed to the Acropolis at the top of the hill.
Thankfully this ancient city was accessible by modern transportation – this gondola.
A fine welcoming committee greeted us at the top. Their tagline: Cheaper than Wal-Mart, Better than TJ Maxx. If they had mentioned Target I might have done some shopping.
There was a game of chance at the top of the Acropolis. No, not a casino – but this column in the middle of a well. The challenge is to throw a coin onto the middle. One 7-year old in our group did it on his first shot! We lost a few pennies trying.
This temple was at the top of the hill. Pergamos was known for its extensive library, and was said to have invented papyrus.
The theater is one of the steepest in the ancient world. It could seat 10,000 people!
What a view! This lake is now used as a water treatment plant - not terribly glamorous but still beautiful.
While travelling in Turkey, our guide pointed out all of the olive groves and vineyards. He said, “The soil is so fertile here there is a saying: if you plant a shoe in the ground you will get a shoe tree.” When we saw this tree I thought, “Wow, I guess someone planted a kleenex here!”
The real story behind this tree is that there is a local legend that when you make a wish you should tie a tissue or paper to a tree branch. When you return to the tree if the kleenex is gone your wish will come true. We thought about taking a bunch of the tissues off the tree so that when people came back they’d be happy to see their wish was coming true. On the other hand that might be cruel, so we left them alone.
If you look carefully you can see the old aqueduct on the hills below. That is some quality construction.
It may seem that this temple (the Temple of Zeus, seen in the background where the large trees are) is missing something. In the late 1800′s German archeologists and engineers received permission to take this back to Germany. Today it is exhibited in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. That is a city we hope to visit soon – hence the “Part I – I hope” in the title of this post.
Spoiler alert: this is not the last that I will be writing about Pergamon…If I am ever at home long enough to get caught up on all the blog posts I intend to do!
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