Troy ( Truva, Troia ) is a world heritage site famous for its Trojan horse and mentioned in the epic Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer. It is located 30 km from the city of Canakkale and some 5km inland from the Dardenelles.
Troy is well documented in history even though its very existence was doubted for years. It was supposed that Troy might have been a mythical city or that it had existed in far off lands including the unlikely Scandinavia. It is recorded that Alexander the Great visited Troy in 334 BC.
The city of Troy was originally right up against the sea but over the years the build up of silt and shifting tides have placed it inland. The city of Ilium was also founded on this site during the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustos but its importance faded with the growing success and expansion of Constantinople.
There is no easy way of explaining it but the early excavations of this site have been disasterous. An English archaeologist by the name of Frank Calvert carried out the first excavations and when he teamed up with a German archaeologist called Heinrich Schliemann investigation of the area confirmed that several cities, on nine different levels, had been built over each other at the same location.
Schliemann could only use information that he had at the time but unfortunately he dug through several layers of cities and deeper than the original city of Troy thus creating confusion and displacement of valuable ancient material. Schliemann is reputed to have found numerous treasures at the site which became known as Priam’s Treasure. He sold them to the Berlin Museums but there are doubts about the authenticity of the objects.
Recent excavations show evidence of a deep ditch covering a much larger area that may have marked the boundaries of the city of Troy and attributed to around 1250 BC. There now seems little doubt that this was indeed the site of the famous city of Troy.
The story of Troy is famous and steeped in legend. Odysseus found that breaking the seige of Troy was becoming impossible and ordered that a huge hollow wooden horse be made that could accommodate soldiers hiding within it. The horse was placed outside the city walls and the Greek fleet sailed away as if in an admission of defeat.
The horse was dragged into Troy as a trophy and late at night the Greek soldiers climbed down from the horse, opened the gates to the city of Troy and the Trojans were slaughtered. Priam was killed and Cassandra was raped. This magnificent city had been overcome with cunning and deceit. The expression “beware of Greeks bearing gifts” comes from the Trojan horse.
Anyone visiting Troy will find the nearby village at Hisarlik totally reliant on the sale of Troy related souvenirs and refreshments. In the 1980’s the site was pretty forlorn and devoid of much information but in recent times the excavations have revealed a much more comprehensive picture of what Troy may have been like.
Car parking and facilities at the site have been improved and there is a dedicated gift shop.
Visitors to Troy should not visit expecting to experience the breathtaking grandeur of places like Ephesus, Pergamon and Aspendos which have been carefully re constructed in less complicated environments than what have been found at Troy. These sites were not subject to the same level of damage and looting and were therefore much easier to piece together.
Although the ruins of Troy were only discovered in 1873, it quickly became one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. It is a World Heritage site and if you find yourself anywhere close to this region of Turkey a visit is highly recommended.
The province of Canakkale does not benefit from the high volume of tourists found in other regions of Turkey. This is the real turkey –hospitable, unexplored and untainted for the most part by mass tourism.
A part of me wants to keep this quiet and not tell anyone how beautiful and natural this region is. The stifling hot July and August temperatures of the south coast are instead the breezy and temperate summer winds of the Aegean.
The olive groves and orchards provide a distinctly green countryside even in the height of the summer season. Water is generally in no short supply here with underground springs and a good natural supply from the nearby mountain ranges.
For me this is the place to get away from it all. Forget your troubles, the stresses of every day life and the hustle and bustle of city life. Lose yourself in the sparkling clear waters of the Aegean sea. Relax under the sun and take in the magnificent views this province has to offer.
The city of Çanakkale is located on the south side of the Dardenelles. Steeped in legend and myth this region of Turkey has seen the Greeks and the Romans come and go. The strategic importance of the straights of the Dardenelles have seen Sultans and Royalty, battles and bloodshed, settlers and traders all passing through its waters. This famous region of Turkey is best known for the Trojan War and the city of Troy and the Gallipoli Campaign of World War I.
Today, Çanakkale, with it’s windy climate, plays host to a number of foreign tourists interested in wind surfing and visiting the war graves and battlefields. Tourism in the area is heavily bolstered by locals from Istanbul and Izmir.
Troy, or Truva in Turkish, was the centre of civilization in its prime. It used to be a sea port but the land has silted over and it now lies inland near Hisarlik. What should be a fine example of an ancient historical site will be of great disappointment to visitors because sadly what is left is the result of the destruction of the site by Heinrich Schliemann, a famous German archaeologist who basically plundered the site between 1870 – 1890 and took away its treasures.
Pretty much all there is to see in Troy is a replica wooden horse and some stones scattered around. Of all the fine historical treasures that Turkey has to offer, it has to said that Troy is not very prominent in the league tables.
Leaving Troy and travelling south you will see signs to Bozcaada or the island of Bozca. Not far from here is the ancient city of Alexandreia Troas. Most of the traffic leaving Çanakkale goes directly through Ezine and on to Ayvacik on route to Izmir but they are missing out on one of the most forgotten and unspoiled areas of Turkish coastline.
Those who branch off from Ezine to Geyikli now have the chance to explore the pretty island of Bozcaada or take the coast road south passing through small villages and spectacular coastline with its varied countryside and natural rock formations, against a backdrop of mountains and hills.
Between Geyikli and Assos you are within easy reach of Ezine and the numerous inexpensive restaurants and guest houses of the beautiful coastline. Get off the beaten track and turn inland once in a while and visit some of the little villages like Pinarbasi, Kemalli or Tavakli. Here you will experience the hospitality of the local people and it is here that you will find tranquillity and a slow pace of life that is enviable to many city dwellers.
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