Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Turkey 7: More Pergamon

As mentioned before, Pergamon sits on the top of a hill overlooking the Turkish city of Bergama.

According to Wikipedia, Pergamon's amphitheater seats 10,000 people and has the steepest seating of any known theater in the ancient world.

Some high school kids, barely visible here, were singing on what used to be the stage for this amphitheater while I was taking this picture.  The acoustics were still perfect.  Their voices were crystal clear. 

Some of seats are missing, but I was surprised at how much of the amphitheater remained intact more than two thousand years after it was built.

Now we're at the bottom looking up.

I remember learning in college about how important the discovery of the arch was to ancient builders.  I also remember yawning through that lecture.

However, traveling to the ruins of these ancient cities was almost like going back in time.  I saw example after example of just how stable the ancient arches were compared to previous methods of construction, and how they allowed the creation of structures that were simply impossible before.   

Not only were arches structurally superior to any other way of enclosing spaces, but they added grace and beauty to the structure as well.

 Contrast that to the lintel method of construction as seen above.  Melony is descending down through the outer walls of the city into the hillside amphitheater.

Pergamon's library was considered second best in the ancient Greek civilization.  Apparently the Egyptians became concerned about the competition and quit exporting papyrus to them.

This led to the Pergamenes inventing a new substance to take the place of papyrus.  We now call the new substance parchment.

I suggest clicking on this image for a larger version.  Here, with Melony for scale, one can see the intricate detail with which the Romans decorated the lintels that were often placed on top of their columns.  I take my hat off to the quality of their workmanship.

I'm standing on the floor of a ruined temple. One can only imagine what this place must have looked like back in the day.

I was thinking, as we descended back to the bus, that no matter how many photos I took, it wold be impossible to accurately convey what we saw here.  As always, the best I can do is whet your appetite to come and see it for yourself.

Contue on to Post 8: Ephesus, by clicking here.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home