The controversial site of the Trojan War from Homer's "Iliad" is located on the west coast of Turkey, just south of Çanakkale. In addition to the excavation remains that can be visited, the myth surrounding Troy and its heroes is a particular attraction for visitors.
Troy, or rather its excavation site, lies about 35 kilometres south of today's Çanakkale and almost 300 kilometres north of Izmir. At least since the monumental Hollywood film "Troy", even those not interested in literature know the story of Paris, Hector, Achilles and the fall of the legendary city of King Priam. That is why it is also part of the top 10 sights in Turkey!
Troy was located in today's Troas landscape in the western part of Turkey on the then named hill Iliumn (today "Hisarlik"). The port city was used in the late Bronze Age mainly to wait for favourable winds. The city controlled access to the Black Sea and thus gained importance and wealth.
However, the city's worldwide fame at the time came from the tales of the legendary Trojan War. Homer, the first Western poet, created the myth of Troy in his literary work "Iliad". Until late antiquity, the scene of the Greek and Trojan heroes was highly revered, and it was only with the arrival of Christianity in the Middle Ages that it slowly fell into oblivion.
Debate about Troy
The significance of ancient Troy is still one of the most controversial topics among archaeologists today. In the "Troy debate", the opponents discuss the actual facts publicly and with media attention.
The settlement mound Hiersalik (which, by the way, means "provided with a castle") was first publicly described as the site of Troy by a Scottish amateur geologist in the early 19th century, which led to the first trial excavations with impressive finds.
However, further research was not supported. It was not until about 40 years later that the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann came across the information by chance and announced in 1873 that he had found Troy - and with it the (also disputed) "gold treasure of Priam", which brought him actual fame.
Did the Trojan War really exist?
The Trojan War is still controversial. Battles undoubtedly took place, but like any heroic saga, the "Iliad" probably cannot be called a historical work. Whether Homer's Troy or not, the excavation site is in any case a place of historical significance, which earned it a listing on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1998.
Even though there is not much left of the historic city apart from some excavation remains of foundation walls, columns and amphitheatres, walking on the ground where the great heroes of antiquity are said to have shed their blood is an unforgettable experience for many. Numerous visitors make the pilgrimage to the supposed battlefield of the Trojan War year after year.
Legend or not, the mythical place has something heroic about it despite everything. Myths come to life again between the ancient walls, there are no limits to the imagination.