Turkey ~ Asclepion of Pergamum, an ancient place for healing

Turkey – 2/15/14

Today we are traveling again. On the road at 8:00. It is foggy and cooler this morning as we head further inland. I pull my heavier jacket out of the backpack.  We pass through forested areas and climb over Mount Ida. Occasionally we get a look at the Aegean Sea off to our right.

As we drive our guide Erdal tells us about the education and medical systems in Turkey. Both are provided free through university level, however there are also private schools and private hospitals that charge.

Domestics abuse is a still a big problem in this country.

We pass through the largest olive growing area in Turkey, sometimes referred to as the “Olive Riviera”.  Olive trees produce every other year.  There are 130 different varieties of olives. Some only for oil, some for eating, olives are bitter off the tree and need to be cured for one to three months. Olives, white cheese, bread and tea are breakfast staples here.

Solar panels are on the roof of most buildings to heat water but not for electric power.

By 9:30 we are back on the coast. The water is smooth and small fishing boats dot the view. The Greek island of Lesvos is visible just a short distance off the shore.

Right around noon we arrive in Bergama for the highlight of the day, our walking tour of Asklepieion.   An ancient health spa or hospital located across the hill from the Acropolis dating back to the 4th century BC.

From the entrance to the healing center, we can look back and up the hill to see the Acropolis from the distance.  The Sacred Way (road) originally connected both sites.

View of the Acropolis

View of the Acropolis

The Asclepion (Asklepieion) of Pergamum was for its time the most famous medical treatment facility.  Known as a healing center for Asia Minor, it drew attention from those seeking a cure, including the leader Emperor Caracalla.

Much advanced for the time period, it even offered psychological treatments.

The physician Galen practiced here and is one of the most famous men in the history of medicine.  He wrote about 500 works on medicine in his lifetime.

“The ancient physician Claudius Galen (A.D. 131–201) was born in Pergamum and worked here as well as in Rome.  An expert in anatomy, he studied the nervous system and the heart.  Eighty of his original 500 treaties are still found in medical libraries worldwide.

People came to the Asclepion for “holistic” treatment that included recreation, theater, music, sports, fasting, late–night runs in the nude, mudpacks, cold and hot baths, potions, herbs, dream interpretation, etc.” – Holylandphotos.org

I have long been a fan of alternative healing options.  Maybe I need to add  a late-night run in the nude to my list…

The Sacred Way – Entrance to the Asclepion

The Sacred Way

The Sacred Way

Overview with the Theater in the background

Overview with the Theater in the background

Healing center

Healing center

Healing center

Healing center

Our traveling ends today when we check into our own health spa, the  KoruMar Hotel, a 5 star resort on the Aegean Sea in Kusadasi.  Click on the KoruMar hotel link here to see some awesome pictures of our location.  We got lucky and received a corner room with windows on two sides and a view of the water.

Room at Korumar

Room at Korumar

Corner room with view of the water

Corner room with view of the water

KoruMar bathroom

KoruMar bathroom

The evening buffet dinner at the hotel was included on our tour and offered a delicious selection of foods to choose from.

Tomorrow Jan and Mark are taking the tour at Ephesus. Since Tim and I already visited this site a few years ago, we are going site seeing with a nice couple we met on the trip. Ben is originally from Taiwan, and Yulia is from St. Petersburg, Russia but both live in the USA now.  Meeting people from all over the world is one of the BEST perks to traveling!

If we return early, I plan on checking into getting a Turkish massage or other spa treatment.  Life is good!

Gratitude Moment:  Today I am grateful to find a firm mattress and a non-smoking room with a beautiful view waiting for me after a long ride in the bus.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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