Destinations, Turkey

Can You Pronounce Çanakkale?

After visiting Troy, our first overnight stay in Asia was in the port town of Çanakkale (pronounced Cha-knock-ka-lay). We stayed at the Hotel Akol which was right across the street from the waterfront and we even lucked out and got a room overlooking the water.

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Çanakkale is the nearest major town to the ancient city of Troy, but even then, I wasn’t expecting it to have its very own Trojan Horse! But there it was, smack dab in the middle of the busy waterfront walkway. If you ask me (which you haven’t, but I’m telling you anyway!) this Trojan Horse is way cooler than the cheesy rendition at Troy itself! Çanakkale’s horse is the actual model used from the blockbuster movie Troy. That’s right ladies…Brad Pitt touched this one! The model was gifted to the city in 2004.

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Çanakkale lies along the coast at the narrowest point of the Dardanelles Strait. The lively waterfront in this quaint town is filled with street vendors, happenin’ bars and restaurants, and is the perfect place for people watching. We even happened upon a bride and groom.

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Unfortunately, our time there was short as we were scheduled to depart early the next morning. But we very much enjoyed our brief stay, capping off the evening at the Hangover Bar with a refreshing Efes (Turkey’s delicious local beer!)

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Destinations, Turkey

Maybe Troy, Maybe Not

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Our first stop after crossing into Asia was Troy, or the area that they believe to be Troy. While these ruins are generally identified as the site of the legendary Trojan War, the evidence is not 100% conclusive. However, most historians and archeologists are convinced that this was in fact the ancient city of Troy, which apparently was enough for this area to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1998. Sounds good enough for me! Let’s call this place Troy!

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According to the Iliad, the ancient city of Troy sat atop a hill, across the plain of the River Scamander. But today, Troy is about 3 miles from any body of water (you can see the water if you look closely at the picture below). Historians believe that 3,000 years ago, the field shown below was actually a large bay that has since been filled with sediment. Geological evidence supports that this location would have matched Homer’s geographical description of Troy.

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Troy was a city that was continually built upon and expanded. For this reason, archeologists have uncovered several “layers” of Troy. These layers are called Troy I – Troy IX and they cover the periods of 3,000 BC – 500 AD. You can see placards in the picture below marking different layers of the ancient city.

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Troy VII (1300-1200 BC) is the layer associated with Homer’s story and the Trojan War. The picture of the wall below is a part of Troy VII and a likely site of the Trojan War. Our tour guide pointed out that the lower portion of the wall was designed with a slight slant to make it appear like it would be easy to climb. But towards the top of the wall, the slant disappears leaving potential wall jumpers at the mercy of the Trojans. Our guide informed us the Trojans would pour boiling oil onto invaders and then light them on fire! Scalded Spartan, anyone?

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Remains of the Temple of Athena

Remains of the Temple of Athena

Well built in 300 BC

Well built in 300 BC

Ramp built for chariots to enter the city (on the friendly side of course)

Ramp built for chariots to enter the city (on the friendly side of course)

Sacrificial grounds (with built-in wells to drain blood)

Sacrificial grounds (with built-in wells to drain blood)

Believed to be the tomb of Achilles

Believed to be the tomb of Achilles

Theater

Theater

Not convinced this is Troy?

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Well surely the placement of this Trojan Horse replica will be the only remaining proof you need!

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