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When Turkey was Greek

drawing of ancient Pergamon

In modern times this is a controversial subject so this article relates to ancient times only—only B.C., nothing Common Era.
Also I highlight just six ancient Greek cities in what is now Turkey; there are many others, including the most famous, Troy. These six have extensive remains that can be easily visited and viewed–although many are actually Roman.
I phrase it this way because my impetus for writing on this subject was a visit to the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany. I have been truly fortunate to visit many of the top museums in the world; this one rates at the top for impressiveness.

The government of Turkey is doing much to encourage archeological work on their ancient Greek cities. New Discoveries are continuously being made; some are included in my New Discoveries page.

Pergamon

At the Turkey location there are two ancient sites: The Acropolis of Pergamon and the ancient city of Asclepion (Asklepion). The latter a Roman offshoot from the Greek healing cult of Asklepios based at Epidauros.

Pergamon was founded in the third century B.C. by remnants of Alexander the Great’s army.

Model of Pergamon at its greatest
Pergamon theatre today
Ishtar Gate from Pergamon Museum Berlin

More of our photos from the Pergamon Museum in Berlin in this album

Aphrodisias

This city has an ideal location along a river in a lush valley so was occupied before 5,000 B.C. and settled by Greeks in the sixth century B.C.


But wasn’t named Aphrodisias until the second century B.C. when it was a Roman provincial city.

Pompeiopolis

Credit Carole Raddato CC BY SA 20<br>

Soli Pompeiopolis is a long running dig that is now being dubbed an archaeopark. The site leader said, “People will be able to see everything that can be found in an ancient city.” It is also near the Yumuktepe site that is traced back to 7,000 B.C.

In 2021 the dig team discovered a memorial tomb of the Greek poet and astronomer Aratus, a super star of his age (Born 315 B.C.) Although a moon crater bears his name he is best known for the long poem Phaenomena, probably number three in the ancient world after the Iliad and the Odyssey.

Priene

An ancient Greek port city that once overlooked the sea from its steep slopes and terraces is now inland due to silting of the Meander River. It’s most notable structure is the Temple of Athena, which was funded and dedicated by Alexander the Great in 334 B.C.

Image by Carole Raddato

Priene is just a few kilometres south of the best preserved and reconstructed ancient Greek (Roman) city in Turkey . . . Ephesus.

Antioch – Hatay

This mosaic believed to be 3rd century B.C. from Antioch continues to confound interpretation. Does it celebrate the good life or an early death, or both. Read about Greeks integrated lifestyle here and more about interpreting the mosaic HERE

Aizanoi

This city is so current and fascinating it has a page of its own: Aizanoi

Ephesus

This is another city that started out Greek but reached its zenith as an ancient Roman city.  Since I have been there the page for Ephesus and the Turkish city of Selçuk are found on my ParosParadise site

Theatre at Ephesus Roman

So, as you can see, there is very little of ancient Greece left to see in modern Turkey, but the sites are impressive, nevertheless. Turkey is a very enjoyable country to visit. Below is the small hotel where we stayed in Selçuk.

Also, India is a magnet for travelers seeking the unusual. Including followers of Alexander the Great: Ancient Greeks in India – Visit Ancient Greece (visit-ancient-greece.com)

Published by Michael

Publish travel web sites based on living and working in Ireland, Greece and Czechia

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