Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

South East Europe / Via Anatolia

The Asklepion

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The Asklepion

About the site

Corridor: Via Anatolia
Country: Turkey, Bergama, Izmir
Type: Ancient Site
Epoch: Antiquity
Theme: Antiquity
World Heritage:
AntiquityAntiquityAncient Site

The Asklepion is a famed ancient medical centre built in honour of Asklepios, the god of healing. It was also the world's first psychiatric hospital.
The Asklepion gained in prominence under the Romans in the 2nd century AD, but a sacred site existed here as early as the 4th century BC.
Access to the Asklepeion is via the Sacred Way, which at 807m (2,690 ft.) long and colonnaded, originally connected the Asklepeion with the Acropolis. The sacred way becomes the stately Via Tecta near the entrance to the site and leads to a courtyard and fallen Propylaeum, or Monumental Gate. The first courtyard, an altar inscribed with the emblem of modern medicine, the serpent are good to be seen. To the right of the courtyard is the Emperor's Room, which was also used as a library.
The circular domed Temple of Asklepios, with a diameter of 23m (78 ft.), recalls the Pantheon in Rome, which was completed only 20 years earlier. Reachable through an underground tunnel is what is traditionally called the Temple of Telesphorus, which served as both the treatment rooms and the sleeping chambers, an indication that sleep was integral in the actual healing process.
At various spots in the centre of the complex are a total of three pools and fountains, used for bathing, drinking, and various other forms of treatment. The semicircular Roman Theatre flanks the colonnaded promenade on the northwest corner of the site.

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