Bergama is one of the Turkey's oldest civilized settlements, which has been inhabited from pre-historic times through the Ionic, Roman and Byzantine civilizations. To the south-west of Bergama, Asclepion, an important health center of the ancient world, the acropolis founded on top of a steep hill (300 m) and the Temple of Serapis (Kızıl Avlu) make this area a fascinating stop for history-loving tourists. The Altar of Zeus was smuggled to Germany in 1897.
The modern day name comes directly from its ancient name, Pergamum. Known for centuries for its monuments, it was a great city and served as the centre of Pergamum Kingdom. Its location made it strategic in the Middle Ages and was the centre of the Karesioğullari Principality before it finally became a part of the Ottoman State. The city's golden era was during the reign of Attalos I and his son Eumenes II, the time when an acropolis, theatre and other important projects were completed. It was an important city in the Roman period.