City of Troy and Acropolis
After a long tiring day in Gallipoli, we woke up early again and checked out from our hotel in Çanakkale to head for the archeological site of Troy.
Even though the weather forecast was showing a clear and warm day, it was fiercely cold and windy.
Made famous by Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Troy is known to almost everyone. Our guide Ahmed told the story of Helen of Troy and the Trojan horse is well known.
A 5000 years old city, Troy was resettled nine times. The excavation shows nine levels of construction of rock and mud-brick walls, built one upon other, making it really confusing to understand which part belongs to which era. Just to give a context to how old the city was, the story of Helen and Trojan horse happened during the sixth settlement of the city.
It was a prosperous and important city by the harbor but lost its significance when the sea receded. The construction was very impressive with water cisterns, ramps, rock, and mud-brick walls.
For a long time, the city of Troy was believed to be a mythical city until a German treasure hunter found it with the help of locals. His belief was, if the war happened, then the people wouldn’t have had the chance to move the treasury. He did find some gold jewelry but not from Helen of Troy period but 1200 years before that.
Treasures discovered from the site are now in nine different museums in the world including the St Petersburg of Russia.
Our next stop was the city of Pergamon. Pergamon was a place where Greek and Turkish lived side by side until the exchange of people happens between two countries.
The drive from Çanakkale to Pergamon was scenic, to say the least. On the right-hand side was the Aegean Sea while on the left was the mountain range covered with native olive trees most of them grow by themselves.
The Olive trees are to the Mediterranean like the Eucalyptus trees are to Australia. Their average life span is 400 to 500 years. The oldest tree in the world is an olive tree and it is about 2000 years old.
The trees are kept fresh by cutting off the top and grafting it with a younger tree.
The whole area was peppered by small towns which have holiday houses that get used only for three months of the year.
It is quite common for the older middle class of Turkey to own two houses, one primary and other a summer house or a village house. But the younger generation is finding it difficult to own a house. Renting is the only option. The average rent in Istanbul is the US $450 a month, which compared to the salary is quite a lot.
We also crossed a number of cotton fields. The textile industry is providing a livelihood to a lot of people and Turkish cotton is quite sought after.
After lunch, we drove to Pergamon Hill to visit Acropolis, a Greek city established by one of the generals of Alexander the Great. It is 2200 years old city, a bit better preserved than Troy.
With its impressive temples and library Acropolis was a big cultural at the time. With two hundred thousand scrolls its library was the second largest in the world after Alexandria.
Acropolis was surrounded by a good water supply. Aqua ducts were developed to bring water to the city. Force of water was used to bring the water uphill.
After the death of the General, the city was passed on to Romans without any conflict. Roman didn’t like its location because it was not a harbor city. They preferred Ephesus and abandoned Acropolis slowly.
Tomorrow we will visit Ephesus.