Parchment paper, one of the first versions of modern paper, is now going to be produced again on a large scale to promote the tourism industry in Bergama.
Originally invented in this district of present-day İzmir 2,000 years ago, parchment paper made Bergama (then Pergamon) an "advanced civilization of the ancient world" and "the capital of art and thought." Now the Bergama Culture and Arts Foundation (BERKSAV) has taken on the task of giving new life to parchment.
The project to reproduce parchment paper, which began two years ago with the cooperation of the Municipality and District of Bergama, has at last been completed. BERKSAV opened a department within its building where parchment will be produced and related products will be sold. The inaugural ceremony of the department brought together Bergama District Governor Hüseyin Eren, Bergama Mayor Raşit Ürper, the chairman of BERKSAV and other notables.
Ürper and Eren both drew attention to the possible contribution of parchment to tourism activities in Bergama. During the opening speeches Eren emphasized his desire for everyone to support this project and Hüseyin Ürper noted that the word "parchment" itself comes from "Bergama" etymologically. "Thanks to parchment Bergama developed a huge library of 200,000 volumes and hosted the first scholars and thinkers of history as well as many of today's disciplines. We are now glad to tell 21st century people the significance of parchment paper and to represent parchment to the world," he added.
Origins of parchment paper
The biggest library of the ancient world was in Alexandria. However, declaring himself as the protector of art, Attalos, the king of Bergama, founded a library in Bergama. As a result of this "library war" the Egyptians banned the export of papyrus to Bergama. Upon this, the people of Bergama processed goat leather and produced a more durable, practical and advanced paper type than papyrus. They named the paper "parchment" after the city's name then, Pergamon.
Folks were writing on skins before, of course, but the Pergamenes appear to have perfected a rather more regular/large scale production ...