24 May 2011

Pergamum: The Seat of Satan

"I know where you live--where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name."
Revelation 2:13 of the Holy Bible

One of the amazing things about Turkey is the wide swath it cuts through the history of our world.  They say there are more Greek ruins in Turkey than in Greece and more Roman ruins in Turkey than in Italy.  Add to that the history of the Ottoman empire and Turkey is clearly one of the most history rich nations in the Western world.  On top of the political history, both Christianity and Islam rose up in Turkey.  We recently visited one ancient Christian site, the ancient city of Pergamum.

Pergamum came to prosperity under one of Alexander the Great's generals back in 323 BC.  Later the city made an alliance and was eventually incorporated into the Roman Empire.  Successive kings and continual prosperity allowed Pergamum to grow into a magnificent city boasting a library of 200,000 volumes and second only to the library in Alexandria.  The ancient medical facility, the Asclepion also resides in the city.  In my mind however, the crowning jewel of this ancient city is the hill top acropolis that sits majestically watching over the valley below.  There, the amazing Temple of Trajan has been partially re-erected, the 10,000 seat theater races down the steep slope of the hill and the Temple of Dionysus all remind the modern tourist of the grandeur of the past. 

Of Pergamum's Christian past, the Red Basilica remains and was originally a temple to an Egyptian god.  The temple so big that when Christianity won the day, a smaller Church was built inside the structure rather than trying to convert the building itself.

When the Apostle John wrote the words above in the book of Revelation, the believers there would have been meeting in homes or in hiding rather than in the massive structures all around them.

Today, Pergamum sits outside the modern town of Bergma.  There are plenty of places to stay, the most highly recommended by guidebooks and the locals we talked to alike is the Odyssey Guesthouse.  It was full when we arrived so we settled into the Athena Pension and were happy with our stay.


  1. Looks like a wonderful site! I will have to add it to my list of places to see in Turkey. A list that keeps growing!

  2. Wow, the seating on that hillside is incredible. Do you realize the opportunity you all are having to be able to travel and see all the history? Wow again.

  3. what a find your site is; I've enjoyed it so much. I'll be back. Best wishes, Alan