Archeological Site of Troy

The archeological site of Troy is not only significant for Canakkale and Turkey, but it is significant for the whole world in terms of archeology and history. Witnessed lots of important events in history and became a guest for famous legends, Troy is a unique place with a soul. Additionally, the archeological site of Troy is mentioned in Homer’s famous poem, Iliad.

The archeological site of Troy is approximately 3000 years old and is a popular destination for both tourists and Turkish citizens. It is among the places history and archeology lovers adore. The excavations in the archeological site of Troy are being done by intervals since the year 1870.

It is an important area in terms of witnessing some of the firsts throughout history and remaining found in the area. Theatres, hammams, and a well-developed sewage system found in the archeological site of Troy are some of the most important remainings. The archeological site of Troy is on the UNESCO world heritage list since the year 1998.

Visiting the Archeological Site of Troy

Either if you are just in the area and wanted to stop by in the archeological site of Troy or you planned a whole trip to there, consider yourself lucky to have the opportunity to see this area. Even if you are not a big fan of history and archeology, such a place will enchant you for sure.

Where is the Archeological Site of Troy located on the map of Turkey?

The archeological site of Troy takes place in the city of Canakkale. Canakkale is located in the Marmara region of Turkey, and it is on the very west side of the map of Turkey.

Canakkale has lands on the Biga peninsula (also as known as Troia) as well, and the archeological site of Troy is located in the Biga peninsula. Biga peninsula contains the Marmara Sea, Edremit, and the Dardanelles Strait. The archeological site of Troy is located in the area called “Hissarlik” (Hisarlık), which is around 30 kilometers away from the Canakkale city center.

How do you get to the Archeological Site of Troy?

Since the archeological site of Troy is close to Canakkale city center, once you get to the city center you can get to the archeological site of troy easily. Either with public transportation or by car, from the Canakkale city center, it will take approximately half an hour to get to the archeological site of Troy.

If you want to get to the archeological site of Troy by using public transportation, you need to get to the bus station called “Cuma Pazarı” in the city center. You can use the maps on your phone to find the bus station, or if you ask someone around, most probably they will help you out. 

If you want to get to Cuma Pazarı bus station from the Canakkale pier, you need to take one of the buses that are named “Ç1, Ç2, Ç3, Ç4, Ç11”, and stop in the Cuma Pazarı station. Once you get to the Cuma Pazarı bus station, you can find minibusses that go to the archeological site of Troy there. The minibusses depart from under the bridge in the Cuma Pazarı bus station.

If you are planning to get to Canakkale from different cities, you can prefer one of the different ways to get to Canakkale, according to your starting point.

Getting to Canakkale from İstanbul

The distance between Istanbul and Canakkale is 310 and 398 kilometers, depending on which road you prefer to get to Canakkale. If you prefer the E84 highway, the distance would be 310.3 kilometers, and if you prefer the Europe highway, the distance would be 398.1 kilometers. It is equal to 5 hours and 20 minutes and 5 hours and 59 minutes of driving, respectively. 

You can either get to Canakkale by using buses or by car. The duration of your trip mentioned earlier could change with the breaks the bus will give, or if you are getting there by car, it could change with the breaks you will take.

Since İstanbul and Canakkale are close to each other, there are no direct flights from Istanbul to Canakkale and indirect flights would be strenuous.

Getting to Canakkale from İzmir

Just like İstanbul, since İzmir is quite close to Canakkale, there are no direct flights from Izmir to Canakkale. The distance between İzmir and Canakkale changes between 328.8 kilometers (if you use D550/E87 or D550/E87) and 457.8 kilometers (if you use O-5 and E90), according to your highway preferences. You can also find buses departs from Izmir to Canakkale.

Getting to Canakkale from Antalya

Even though Antalya is not close to Canakkale, unfortunately, there are no direct flights from Antalya to Canakkale. The most convenient way to get to Canakkale from Antalya using an airway would be getting to Ankara first and then taking another flight from Ankara to Canakkale. If you would like, you can prefer buses from Antalya to Canakkale. The distance between Antalya and Canakkale is 693.6 kilometers, which is around 9 hours of driving.

Getting to Canakkale from Ankara

If your starting point is Ankara, you can find direct flights to Canakkale. But keep in mind that flights from Ankara to Canakkale are not quite often and you need to follow to dates to find a flight. The flight from Ankara to Canakkale takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes. If you want to use the highway, the distance between Ankara and Canakkale is 660.4 kilometers and is equal to around 7 hours and 50 minutes of driving. There are also bus companies that operate between Canakkale and Ankara.

Visiting hours of the Archeological Site of Troy

Visiting hours of the archeological site differs in the wintertime and the summertime. In wintertime (October 24- March 15), it is open to visitors between 10:00 AM and 04:00 PM. In the summertime (March 15- October 24) it is open to visitors between 10:00 AM and 07:00 PM.

You can check up to date visiting hours from here.

Entrance fee of the Archeological Site of Troy

The entrance fee of the archeological site of Troy is 50 Turkish liras. You can check up to date entrance fee from here.

If you are a resident of Turkey, you can get a museum card for 60 Turkish liras and visit the archeological site of Troy (in addition to many more historical landmarks and museums) free two times annually.

If you are a tourist who is not resident in Turkey, you cannot buy a museum card, but you can buy a museum pass. A Museum pass is pretty much the same as a museum card, but it is only valid for 15 days starting from your first use. There are different kinds of museum passes according to the region you are visiting. If you buy a museum pass Turkey, which is 550 Turkish liras, you can visit every historical landmark and museum in Turkey for free for 15 days.

How long to spend in the Archeological Site of Troy?

You can explore everywhere in the archeological site of Troy in 45 minutes, but this duration might change according to your reason to visit.

History of the Archeological Site of Troy

It is estimated that the archeological site of Troy was first built around the year 3000 BC, and this time was when the area was used as a place for settlement. Troy was known as Ilion in the ancient Greek language, and also in the Hellenistic period, it is referred to as Ilion as well. It is known that the Troy war took place in this city, and the world’s first beauty contest was conducted here as well.

The settlement in the archeological site of Troy was begun with the Bronze Age and ended up by Romans conquering the area, between the years 85 BC and 8 AD. Archeological site of Troy consists of 10 city layers. This feature is due to the archeological site of Troy being destroyed and rebuilt numerous times throughout history, and this also leads to finding information about human history including over 5000 years.

The evidence shows that the first people who settled in Troy were people from Anatolia. The city was important due to its geographical location providing significance for sea trade. This significance of Troy led to a conflict between East and West, and Troy witnessed the first great war between East and West. The area was ruled by Persians, Alexander the Great, Pergamon Kingdom, and Romans, respectively.

Discovery of the Archeological Site of Troy

The archeological site of Troy was discovered by Henrich Schliemann following the traces on Homer’s Iliad poem. Henrich Schliemann, who is a German businessman, read the Iliad poem and noticed that there must be a city in Canakkale in the history according to what is written in the poem.

When Henrich Schliemann noticed that the information in the Iliad poem is leading him to the Hissarlik area, a few people were familiar with this hilly. There was already an excavation going on in that area at that time, but they had no clue about what they would face once they properly excavated the hilly. Henrich Schliemann wanted to know if what is written in the Iliad poem is true because since it is just a literary text, Troy could be a figment of the imagination.

Small Theatre in Archelogical Site of Troy, Canakkale
Small Theatre in Troy

Henrich Schliemann achieved his purpose and proved that indeed, there was a place named Troy in the Hissarlik area. Evidence shows that on the 6th layer of the city when counted from the bottom to top, could be the Troy that Homer mentioned in the Iliad poem.

City layers in the Archeological Site of Troy

As I mentioned earlier, 10 city layers were found in the archeological site of Troy. Each layer represents a different time period, and the findings tell us so many things about that period.

Troy I

According to the remaining in this layer of the city, it is estimated that the first settlement was conducted in Troy I, which corresponds to the years between 3200-2600 BC. The city gained significance with its geographical location in the Troy I. period. Remaining such as big walls, towers, and gateways, was found and those structures were encircling 20 rectangular-shaped houses creating a tower. The Troy I layer had a diameter of approximately 300 meters.

Troy II

In the Troy II layer, it was observed that the area of the city was doubled. Troya II had a small town and an upper castle in addition to the structures in Troy I. In the upper acropolis, there was a palace that is made of megaron style for the king, and this palace was covered with walls.

According to findings in the Troy II layer, researchers estimate that a fire occurred in this layer. After the damage in this fire, they rebuilt the city.

Troy III, IV, and V

Those layers are mainly characterized by the attempts to rebuilding the city after the fire occurred in Troy II. While rebuilding the city, people pay attention to houses to be smaller but more frequent in terms of number. 

Ruins of Archelogical Site of Troy, Canakkale
Ruins of Troy

Researchers estimate that the way the houses were built in Troy III, IV, and V was due to protecting the city from a possible attack. Because at that time, the city was improving in terms of economy and development is always a predictor of attacks in history. Another prevention to possible attacks was the walls built at that time. In Troy III, IV, and V, people continued to build big walls.

Troy VI 

Researchers estimate that in Troy VI, Trojans witnessed a big earthquake, and like in the fire that occurred in Troy II, the city was rebuilt. This time, people paid attention to building sturdy structures that would be safe in a possible earthquake.

One of the most important contributions of Troy VI to the city could be the columns built in the south gate. Since there is no evidence supporting that the columns were a part of a bigger structure, it is estimated that columns were serving as a religious place, or a place to worship and pray.

Another important feature of Troy VI is the streets with cobblestone. Additionally, Mycenae potteries were found in the Troy VI area. The presence of Mycenae potteries is a sort of evidence proving the trade between Troy, Greece, and the Aegean region. The remaining Mycenae potteries created the debate of whether Troy was a part of Mycenae or Anatolia.

Troy got the city statue in Troy VI, with the peak point of the population since its establishment. Evidence supports that another earthquake occurred in Troy VI. Additionally, most of the evidence is the favor of Troy VI being the Homeric Troy, meaning that the Troy mentioned in Homer’s Iliad poem was about Troy VI.

Troy VII

In Troy VII, most of the population was living in the inner parts of the walls and this was due to the Mycenae’s intimidation to Troy. Troy VII was taking a place in the 13th century BC, and it was thought that Troy is mentioned in Homer’s Iliad poem. The remaining from the Troy war described in the Iliad poem supports this theory.

Calvert’s thousand-year gap

Since Schliemann believed that Troy II was the Troy mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, this belief created a sort of prejudice and everybody was looking for evidence of Troy II being the Tory mentioned in Iliad. The term Calvert’s thousand-year occurred the founding of Troy VI by Dörpfeld. The 1000-year gap refers to the 1000 years Schliemann did not calculate while claiming that Troy II was the Homeric Troy. The mentioned 1000 years correspond to the years between 1800 and 800 BC.

Troy VII

Troy VII is also as known as the “Hellenistic Troy”, and culturally, it was similar to the Aegean region. In Troy VII, lots of important events occurred.

Troy IX

Troya IX is another layer in Troy and witnessed so many historically important events. The following are some of the most significant events that occurred in Troy IX:

  • The city ​​came under Roman domination.
  • The city started to suffer economically.
  • Julius Caesar worked as a referee to solve a problem in the city.
  • Athena donated to the city for the restoration of certain buildings.

Homer, Iliad, and Troy

As I mentioned earlier, Homer’s Iliad poem plays a big role in the discovery of Troy, and the Trojan war. Iliad is accepted as the first great literary work in Western literature. Iliad is a simply structured poem with a chronological flow, but in some parts of the poem, there are flashbacks present. It is estimated that it was written in the 8th century. The subject of the Iliad poem is the war between Achaeans ad Trojans. Iliad poem includes 16.000 verses.

From Iliad, 6th Century AD (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The main character of the Iliad poem is the great Greek warrior Achilles. In the Iliad poem, Achilles relinquishes from the war because he is upset about his lover was sacrificed to gods, with the Achaean commander’s order. Since the best warrior of them is not participating in the war, the war does not come to an end. Achilles does not join the war until his best friend Patroclus was killed by Trojan warrior Hector. After this event, Achilles joins the war and ends it by killing Hector.

This poem was the first of many legends about the archeological site of Troy.

Legends about the Archeological Site of Troy

The legend about the Trojan War is so popular that, sometimes it is referred to as the greatest story in history. There are fiction books written about it, movies made about it, and even idioms created about the Trojan War. Naturally, various legends were born in the light of Troy and the Trojan war.

Trojan horse legend

Perhaps the most popular legend about the archeological site of Trot is the Trojan horse legend, and it is the first legend that would come to mind when you talk about Troy and Trojan War.

Trojan horse legend is about how Achaeans win over the Trojans in the Trojan War. As I mentioned earlier, the Iliad poem is about the Trojan war and how the Trojan war did not come to an end because of the most skilled warrior withdrawing from the war. While everybody was so sick and tired of this war not coming to an end, an idea comes to the mind of Odysseus, who is a brilliant scholar of that time.

Trojan Horse that is used in the movie Troy, Canakkale
Trojan Horse that is used in the movie Troy

Odysseus offers the idea of entering the city of Troy with a horse made from wooden. After Athena approves his offer, they build a huge horse from wooden. They offer this wooden horse to the Trojan as a sign of withdrawal from the war, and they say things such as we give up, you won. Unaware that the wooden horse is full of soldiers, the Trojan people accept the gift and think the war is over now. They even think that Achaeans gave this gift to them because they were terrified of them and they give it to them to not hurt them anymore.

Trojan people were convinced that the war is over, so they started to celebrate the end of the war on the same day. Soldiers inside of the horse wait until all people are drunk enough to not being able to respond to their attack.

The legend of the origin of the Trojan War

Another popular legend about Troy is the one where Trojan War happens. This legend is popular worldwide, and it is quite an interesting legend. 

According to the legend, it all started at the wedding of the goddess Thetis and Peleus, who is a mortal. It was a big wedding in which everyone in the city was invited, except Eris, who is the goddess of strife and discord. Naturally, Eris becomes very angry since she is the only one who did not get an invitation to the wedding. As revenge, she wants to start a fight and throws a golden apple at the wedding venue. The words “for the most beautiful one”, is written on this golden apple.

She knows that this act of her would start a fight because Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena were all at the wedding, and each of them would think that the apple was for themselves. It seemed that the dispute between the three of them will not end without a referee, and Zeus, the god of the gods and goddesses, does not want to be the referee since he is married to Hera and has an affair with Aphrodite.

Zeus assigns Paris, who is the Trojan prince living in the Ida mountain and is a shepherd. Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena start to give bribe to Paris. Aphrodite says that if he chooses him, she will make the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Troy will be in love with him. Hera says that if he chooses him, the whole Asian Kingdom would be his. Athena says that if he chooses him, she will give him infinite success and knowledge.

Evaluating the options, Paris decides to choose Aphrodite, and kidnaps the Helen of Troy, and this kidnapping was the reason for Trojan War to start.

Facts about the Archeological Site of Troy

The archeological site of Troy is a mysterious and magical place, and perhaps it will never be fully explored. The following are some of the facts about the archeological site of Troy that you might find interesting.

  • Europeans in the Middle Age believed that Trojan people were Turkish.
  • Today, the excavations in the archeological site of Troy are being conducted by Ernst Pernica.
  • In the 50 states of the USA, 33 of them have a city or town named Troy.
  • In Homer’s Iliad, the Trojan horse is not mentioned.
  • The Trojan horse built for the movie Troy (2004) was gifted to Canakkale municipality.
  • At first, nobody believed Schliemann about the presence of the archeological site of Troy.
  • Researchers suggest that the finding of the archeological site of Troy does not necessarily mean that Trojan War actually took place in history.

Troy in popular culture

As I mentioned earlier, the Troy, and Trojan war has a big place in popular culture. There are different movies inspired by the city of Troy and the Trojan war. In addition to movies and books about Troy and the Trojan war, the Trojan horse is an idiom in Turkey, referring to someone who is insidious.

Helen of Troy (1956)

The first movie ever made about Troy is a movie named Helen of Troy (1956). This movie is an adaptation of the legend of the origin of the Trojan War. In this movie, Trojan prince Paris is a shipwreck survivor, and one day he runs into Helen, without knowing that she is a queen. The movie further explains how they fell in love and how the Trojan War started because of their love.

Helen of Troy (2003)

There is an adaptation of the movie Helen of Troy (1956) with the same name, but this one was made in the year 2003. The events are quite similar in those movies, but as a natural outcome of advanced technology in 2003 in comparison to 1956, the 2003 version of the movie Helen of Troy is a lot more satisfying in terms of visuals. The whole movie of Helen of Troy (2003) was filmed in exotic areas.

Troy (2004)

This movie is another movie inspired by the Trojan War and includes the love of Trojan prince Paris and the queen of Sparta, Helen. In this movie, Trojan War is started because Helen’s husband was so mad that she cheated on him with the Trojan prince Paris.

Troy: Fall of a city (2018)

This is a UK based TV show about Troy and the Trojan War. This TV show is known for the comprehensive information it carries about Troy city. There are lots of unlocking in terms of the secrets of Troy and of course, the love of Paris and Helen is not overlooked.

Further information and travel tips

As I mentioned earlier, there are lots of books, movies other media that you can find both information and entertainment sources about Troy. If you are interested and want to learn more about Troy, reading Homer’s Iliad poem is highly recommended.

Frequently asked questions about the archeological site of Troy

The archeological site of Troy has always been a place that is wondered a lot. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about the archeological site of Troy.

Did Troy really exist?

Evidence proves that Troy indeed existed in history.

Who killed Achilles?

According to the legend, Paris killed Achilles.

Is there a real Trojan horse in Canakkale?

In Canakkale, there is a Trojan horse that was built for the movie Troy(2004).

Did anyone survive in the Trojan war?

Yes, and the survivors were held captive.

İsmail Çamönü

Hi! I am Ismail. I am a digital nomad from Turkey. I lived in many cities around Turkey during my life and I am passionate about traveling. At Nomad's Guide to Turkey, I share travel tips for nomads, expats, and tourists who would like to visit Turkey.

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