On the western outskirts of Bergama, in a military area with restrictions on photography, lies the ruined site of the Asklepieion which was dedicated to Asklepios (Aesculapius) the god of healing. It ranked with Epidauros and Kos as one of the most celebrated places of healing in the Ancient World and was probably founded in the fourth century B.C. The sanctuary flourished particularly in Roman times when the famous doctor Galen (A.D. 129-199) worked here. The Emperor Caracalla was one of many who came to the Asklepieion in search of a cure. Treatment methods included suggestion and "incubation" in which patients were treated on the basis of dream interpretation.Description of the siteFrom the Sacred Way cross a colonnaded forecourt in the middle of which stands the Altar of Asklepios, a stone bearing the Aesculapian snake and then pass through a large propylon (gateway) into the Sacred Precinct. The northern colonnade, relatively well-preserved with seventeen columns still in place, leads from the Library to the Theater set on the slope of the hill. It has been restored and is used for the annual Bergama Festival when classical plays are performed.A Sacred Well with pool and the incubation rooms were situated in the square which was originally paved with flagstones. The Sacred Precinct was linked by a tunnel to a two-story round building just beyond known as the Temple of Telesphoros. The basement was used for water therapy and incubation. To the north beside the propylon stands the Temple of Asklepios a 20m/65ft high building with a domed roof. Patients had to visit the temple before leaving the sanctuary.Between Asklepieion and the Bergama Çayi is the Roman city, a site which has only been partially explored. It is covered with silt deposited by the river and a part of the site has been built over.
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