Apollo Smintheus

Temple of Apollo Smintheus at Gülpinar

The temple of Apollon Smintheus is situated in the town of Gulpinar in the Biga Peninsula in the Canakkale region. There is an abundance of water in Gulpinar which is the most likely reason that this place was chosen.

After the fall of Troy, Greeks settled in great numbers along this coastline. Evidence still exists of Greek structures and other ancient sites such as the ancient site of Alexander Troas at Dalyan.

Apollo Smintheus ( the destroyer of mice ) is mentioned in Homer’s Iliad as the temple where Chyrses was a priest. His daughter, Chryseis, was captured by Agamemnon during the seige of Troy and in response Chyrses asked Apollo to punish the Greeks which Apollo did by sending a plagued arrow into the Greek ranks. Legend has it that the girl was returned to her father.

In the Iliad, Homer of Smyrna, ( the old name for the city of Izmir ) the priest says:

“Hear me,…, O god of the silver bow, that protects Chryse and holy Cilla and rulest Tenedos with thy might, hear me oh thou of Sminthe. If I have ever decked your temple with garlands, or burned your thigh-bones in fat of bulls or goats, grant my prayer, and let your arrows avenge these my tears upon the Danans.”

(Iliad, I, 37-42, Samuel Butler)

The Temple of Apollo Smintheus has some intricate stone relief work which describes the Trojan war and parts of the epic story of Iliad are depicted in the ancient marble stones and vases.

The first excavations of this site commenced in 1866 but were followed by a period of abandonement. Excavations  commended again in 1980 under Prof Dr Coskun Ozgunel.

The museum features important artifacts and collections from the excavations as well as a detailed written account of the history of Apollo Smintheus.