Troy Ancient City

Troy Ancient City
Troy Ancient City

The Archaeological Site of Troy which the excavations are continuing with support from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and led by Çanakkale 18 Mart University Professor Dr. Rüstem Aslan is located within the village limits Tevfikiye, Çanakkale. The German businessman Heinrich Schliemann, after long perusal of the famous poet Homer’s Iliad, found himself fully convinced that the Troy lay beneath on the 150 x 200 m-mound of Hisarlık, just south of the straits of the Dardanelles (the Hellespont).

This mound is located on a limestone tableland between the rivers of the Scamander (Kara Menderes) and the Simoeis (Dümrek), only 4.5 km from the Dardanelles and six kilometers from the Aegean Coast, therefore in a most strategic position. Frank Calvert, a consul who had taken up residence in the area, had already concluded that Hisarlık was a settlement mound representing many centuries of deposit; he had even opened some small sondages between 1863-1865 with the conviction that the Troy celebrated by Homer lay here.

Following the preliminary sondages in 1870, large-scale excavations in the management of Schlieman was carried out in 1871-73, 1878, 1879, 1882 and 1890. Schliemann, invested large sums from his private estate to the cause. After Schliemann’s decease, the architect Wilhelm Dörpfeld (1853-1940), his assistant and architect for the project, continued in 1893 and 1894. After this date, excavation work was temporarily halted. Later, between the years of 1932-38 American archaeologist Carl Blegen, continued the excavations in Troy. The new phase of excavations started in 1988 by German archaeologist M. Osman Korfmann and continued until his death in 2005.

Troy, is the first area where the prehistoric period excavations is done and turned into a science. On September 30, 1996, the Turkish government declared the site of Troy and the immediate surroundings a National Historical Park and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1998. 2018 was declared “Year of Troy in Culture and Tourism” to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Troy’s addition to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The ancient city of Troy, conveniently located geographically has been continuously inhabited between the years 3.000 BC and 500 AC. Kerpiç (sun-dried bricks) was used during the construction of the walls of houses in the settlements. Therefore after a long chain of settlements an artificial hill was composed of containing the different layers of the city. After the excavations carried out 10 different city layers and more than 50 building phases were identified. These cities in short: Troy I – III (Littoral Troy Culture): This name especially given due to the distribution of settlements in the Mediterranean region. This period stars nearly 3000 BC and ends in 2500 BC. Troy IV – V: Anatolian Characterized Troy Culture: It begins in 2100 BC and continues until the 1700’s BC.

Troy VI-VII (From 1700 BC to 1100 BC) was defined High Troy Troy Culture by archaeologists. After a gap of several centuries the settlement of Greeks in Troy VIII, continued from 700’s BC to approximately 85 BC. In Troy IX, there was a Roman settlement from 85 BC to 500’s AC. In Troy X the Byzantine settlement which started from 12th century continued to 13th century. After this time, due to great political changes in that period, Troy has lost its importance in the cultural life. Especially European intellectuals’ growing interest in Troy after 17th century, culminated with Heinrich Schliemann and this importance has continued to the present day.

The main significance of the ancient city of Troy, lies in the scene about Trojan War in epic Iliad, that was told by Homer the most famous poet of the ancient era .However, while there is no precise information we have about the life of Homer, researchers compromise that he was born in İzmir, which has the ancient name Smyrna and spent big part of his life in that area. What makes immortal Homer was making written epics Iliad and Odysseus which were told in oral tradition since 8th century BC.

The epic Iliad covers a small part of the myth of Trojan War. It begins with; Akhileus anger against the commander Agamemnon and his withdrawal from the war as result. The epic continues Akhileus’ return to war and killing Troy’s hero Hector and then dragging his body around the walls of Troy behind a chariot before giving his father Priamos.

The second epic Odysseus tolds that, Greeks who understand that they could not conquer the city, wangle Trojan Horse trick. The Achaeans build a wooden horse and hide their most powerful soldiers inside that horse. They leave the horse as a gift in front of the city. Trojans who believes in cheating takes the horse into the city. Soldiers who got out of the horse in the night opened the door of the city and ensure the penetration of the enemy in.

The majority of modern researchers believe that there’s a historical essence in epics. We can  summarize the importance of the Troy in the history of civilization as follows: The first systematic excavation of the prehistoric period on the the lands of Anatolia started at Troy. The most magnificent structures of megaron buildings which are the pioneer of the ancient Greek temple plan is seen in Troy since 3000 BC. In the periods that the iron don’t known, cut stone masonry is observed in Troy since 2500 BC.

Extracted from layers of Troy in 2500 BC in Turkey and incorrectly referred to as The Treasure of Priapos which was smuggled from Turkey, provides evidence of Troy’s trade network from Egypt to Mesopotamia. The intensive use of fast potter’s wheel for the first time in Anatolia is emerged in Troy in 2500 BC. Troy is the most important ancient city in Anatolia which many rulers and commanders from ancient Persian commander Kserkes to Alexander the Great and from Hadrian to Fatih Sultan Mehmet, visited and sacrificed in their efforts of combining West and East.