Located opposite the Greek island of Lesbos, the picturesque town of Dikili has become a popular port of call due to its close proximity to the ancient site of Pergamum, situated just half and hour’s drive inland. But in addition to its historical intrigue, Dikili is also surrounded by stunning stretches of beach, where you can wile away an afternoon swimming in the crystal clear waters, as well as therapeutic hot springs, perfect for a long soak.
Initially established as a small fortress, Pergamum expanded significantly following the death of Alexander the Great, eventually serving as the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamum in the Hellenistic Period. The Acropolis reached the height of its importance during the late Roman era when parchment was invented by the locals. This went on to replace Egyptian papyrus as the preferred form of paper throughout Europe.
Perched on the top of a steep-sided hill, the Acropolis can be seen from many miles away, and its fascinating ruins indicate that commercial, official and religious structures had been built side by side. These include two theatres, an amphitheatre, a library and a temple dedicated to Trajan. The Altar of Zeus and the Agora also lie in ruins nearby, along with temples dedicated to both Hadrian and Dionysus.
The ancient site of Pergamum is also famed for its Asclepion, which was dedicated to the god of healing. Renowned as one of the world’s most important ancient medical centres, its ruins include stone-framed sacred pools and elaborately carved marble columns.
After exploring the ancient site of Pergamum on one of our shore excursions, you can return to the idyllic town of Dikili and watch the sun slowly set over the Aegean Sea.