Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Turkey 5: Troy

The archeological ruin of Troy, the site of Homer's legendary Trojan War, would be remiss if they did not have a life-sized model of the famous horse to greet visitors.

Visitors walk along a path by a portion of the legendary Troy walls.

Besides Homer, other references to Troy exist in Greek literature.  The Romans considered it an established fact that Alexander the Great visited Troy and made offerings there.  Still, ever since the time of the Byzantine Empire in the forth century, Troy was thought to exist only in Homer's imagination.

Heinrich Schliemann proved that thinking wrong in 1868, when he found positive evidence of Troy's existence in a field owned by Frank Calvert.

Archeological evidence at the site shows that Troy flourished as a thriving city from 3000 BCE until the first century BCE.

Mud-brick walls, circa 2500 BCE

The evidence also suggests the Trojan War did actually occur around 1200 BCE.

Notice the sophisticated stone carving, an example of which is seen here.  We saw this type of design, typically used to decorate the underside of lintels that spanned between stone columns, at other sites as well.

Thirteen different layers of Troy have been found, though some archeologists number the distinct layers above twenty.  At some time in the distant past, it is also believed that Troy was destroyed by an earthquake. 

Notice the holes in the bottom of these column pieces.  Iron pins were placed in those holes when the columns were erected to keep the pieces from sliding off of one another.

This gash in the ground above is known as Schliemann's Trench.  The tour guides tried to be as respectful of Schliemann's excavation methods as possible. However the sad truth was that he basically hacked his way through all the different layers here, and did so with out much regard for keeping track of what he found.

He basically discarded everything that was not considered treasure.  Fortunately, not all areas of Troy were looted quite so badly.  This ancient road survived his efforts.

We found the amphitheater to be in remarkably good shape for being well over 2000 years old.

Anyone know Greek?  Out here in the western United States, anything over 200 years is considered old.  I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that artifacts like the one above were ten times older.

Troy lies south and, believe it or not, west from Istanbul.  To get there we had to cross the Dardanelles Strait from Europe into Asia.  That morning we had boarded the bus early and driven along the Sea of Marmara down to the ferry landing at Canakkale, and had lunch at this cozy restaurant by the water.

After lunch, a modern car ferry took our bus and us across roughly the 17 nm Dardanelles Strait to the Asian side.

I snapped a few frames as we pulled away from shore.  These buildings are fairly typical of what one see's in Turkey.  They are all constructed of some form of masonry. I saw no stick framed buildings anywhere.

Continue on to Post 6: Aegean Sea and Pergamon, by clicking here.


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