Dikili (Pergamum), Greece

The tiny port of Dikili lies on the northwest coast of the Aegean Sea. Its closest landmass neighbor is the Greek island of Lesbos, which is connected to Dikili by a local ferry service. Although Dikili is off the beaten tourist path, the port is a starting point for excursions to ancient and modern Pergamum. Passing through the fertile plains watered by the Selinus River, Pergamum is a site settled by one civilization after another before falling to Alexander the Great in 334 BC. When Alexander died, control of the city passed to one of his generals, Lysimahchus. After his death a cascade of kings and emperors ruled the city and the kingdom of which it was the center, until it became a part of the Roman Empire. 500 years later, around 300 AD, this already great city’s golden age began with the invention of parchment in the city. The city’s most famous landmark is a library that contained 200,000 volumes and put Pergamum on a par with Alexandria as a cultural center of the Roman Empire.