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Izmir Bergama’s historic charm attracts record visitors in 2024

Izmir Bergama's historic charm attracts record visitors in 2024 Temple of Trajan at Acropolis of Pergamon, Bergama, Türkiye. (Adobe Stock Photo)
By Newsroom
Jun 17, 2024 11:07 AM

The district of Bergama in Izmir, rich with traces from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods, has seen a significant increase in visitor numbers in the first five months of this year compared to the same period last year.

Bergama as hub of historical, cultural wealth

Izmir Bergama's historic charm attracts record visitors in 2024
The Temple of Trajan in Pergamon, Bergama, Türkiye. (Adobe Stock Photo)

Bergama, recognized as a Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape by UNESCO in 2014, displays the historical and cultural wealth of various civilizations. The district’s preserved historical texture continues to draw both local and international tourists. The UNESCO World Heritage site includes nine components, such as Pergamon, the Kybele Sanctuary, Ilyas Hill, Yigma Hill, Ikili, Tavsan Hill, X Hill, A Hill and Maltepe Tumuli.

For those unfamiliar, Bergama, also known as Pergamon, is a historic town in the Izmir province of Türkiye. It boasts an array of ancient ruins and cultural sites that span several millennia. Key attractions include the ancient Acropolis, the Asklepion healing center and the Red Basilica – which is one of the seven churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation. Bergama offers a rich blend of history, architecture and archaeology, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and casual tourists alike.

Bergama sees increasing visitor numbers

Izmir Bergama's historic charm attracts record visitors in 2024
Temple of Trajan at Acropolis of Pergamon, Bergama, Türkiye. (Adobe Stock Photo)

In 2022, 367,000 tourists visited Bergama. This figure rose to 433,000 visitors last year. The interest continues to grow, with 185,000 visitors recorded from January 1 to May 31 this year, up from 151,000 in the same period last year.

Visitors to Bergama embark on a journey through time, experiencing historical structures from the Hellenistic period to the Ottoman era. The district also benefits from cruise ship tourists arriving at Izmir Port, with many opting to explore Bergama instead of the more famous Ephesus.

Nilgun Ustura, Director of Bergama Museum, noted a steady increase in visitor numbers. “Our UNESCO identity is a universal value,” she said. “Our audience is growing. We hope to expand our visitor profile systematically and beautifully.”

Ustura highlighted the diversity of tourists, mentioning that visitors from Europe, America, and East Asia come at different times of the year. Americans typically visit in spring and autumn, while Europeans favor the summer, and East Asians prefer the winter months.

Ustura also discussed the implementation of night-time museum visits, explaining: “Our museum and its affiliated sites – Akropol, Asklepion and the Red Basilica – will undergo infrastructure improvements. We are currently open until 8:00 p.m. in the summer. With night-time museum visits, we will extend this further. This will allow visitors to explore the sites at different times of the day.”

Domestic tourism peaks in Türkiye

Izmir Bergama's historic charm attracts record visitors in 2024
Pergamon Ancient city theatre, Acropolis and Temple of Zeus, Bergama, Türkiye. (Adobe Stock Photo)

Local tourism also peaks during holiday periods, with domestic tourists showing significant interest. Accommodation facility operator Yasmak Keskin noted the high occupancy rates during the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday, expecting a fully booked period.

Scottish visitor Catharine Macneal, in the region to visit the seven churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation, praised the area’s attractions. “I visited the Red Basilica yesterday. It is absolutely beautiful and mesmerizing. I felt wonderful emotions there. It is a fantastic place to visit, and I highly recommend it,” she shared.

Last Updated:  Jul 11, 2024 7:47 PM
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