"Troy is not your average, restored ancient site!" Top 5 Page for this destination Troy by WorldPassenger
Troy Travel Guide: 64 reviews and 371 photos
Pulling up to Troy is kind of an anti-climactic experience. For someone who has seen Rome or Pompeii or other restored Greek and Roman sites, Troy just doesn’t compare. It is still a mound of rubble with a few walls, a few roads, a lot of trenches and bits and pieces, and a nice theater but very little else to feast your eyes upon. It is up to your imagination to supply the sights and sounds that were prevalent 3,200 years ago when this was a large and thriving commercial center. But in some ways that is OK too. You can see why it was so easy for one culture to build on top of another culture’s ruins. And someday, who knows, maybe the splendor of Troy will come back to life as archaeologists recreate the past magnificence of this citadel.
But let me discuss the ruins that are here and now. King Agamemnon of Greece had laid plans to control the entire Mediterranean. The stealing of Helen by Paris, a younger son of the Trojan king, gave him a handy excuse to lay siege to Troy, a city with about 5,000 to 10,000 wealthy and warlike people. It was one of the most powerful and wealthy regions of the late-Bronze Age. Agamemnon raised the greatest fleet ever assembled in the ancient world. And Helen would go down in history as the face that launched a thousand ships. But, of course, that was probably exaggerated. It was more likely that it was 100 ships. But those ships still carried about 5,000 fighting men, a massive army even by today’s standards. It was the biggest invading force ever to cross the Mediterranean.
There were 10 years of battles that finally climaxed with the sacking and burning of Troy. But did you know that these two opposing forces used cutting edge military technology to overpower each others defenses?
The Greeks very probably had advanced war machines such as fortress busting “tanks” and deadly technology that resembled “hand grenades”. Other ancient cultures did, so too must have the Greeks. The Trojans used everything from slingshots, spears and bows to engaging in some biological and chemical warfare with Greece during the battles. Each side had sophisticated fiber, wicker, wood and bronze weapons and defenses that could be produced on a mass scale. Chariots and horses were used extensively.
Homer’s Iliad provides a powerful account of warfare and weaponry from the ancient world and a fascinating insight on how battles were fought by late-Bronze Age warriors.
In the ancient world traditional warfare was waged on a seasonal basis. Each summer the Greek forces would sail back to Troy in an attempt to sack the city and win back Helen from the Trojans. Then in the fall they would return home to see to their harvests and to the general economy of their country that funded their armies. In the spring they would plant their crops. Then, soon after, they would kiss their families goodbye and return to war with Troy. When the Greeks left there would be celebrations at Troy and a hopefulness that they might not return the next year. But for 10 years they did.
The battle of Troy, 1200BC, was fought by two superpowers. The Greeks who would be led by their commander and chief Agamemnon and the Trojans ruled by King Priam. Troy was an extremely well defended city. It had huge walls of thick, massive masonry. The Greeks had no easy way of breaking through them. Archaeologists have determined that large siege machines existed at this time in history and indeed for about 600 years before these battles. One siege weapon was a huge wheeled machine with a movable timber arm beam with metal heads. The beam was used as a wooden drill that could be moved about from inside the machine and used to batter the fortress wall in many ways in order to bring down the walls. But Troy’s walls were specially constructed and withstood all attempts to breach them. Ditches were dug near to the walls to make it difficult for a siege engine to approach them. The walls themselves were built at an angle which made them impossible to breach and which allowed the defenders cover from which to shoot and throw things down at the attackers. The specific wall construction of Troy (30 feet high and up to 15 feet thick) ensured that even the biggest and best siege machine would not be able to penetrate the walls of the city. So Agamemnon’s wall bashers were almost useless to him.
Worse than this conventional technology, we now know that the ancients had access to chemical and biological weapons. Pottery jars containing scorpions or poisonous insects made a fearful bomb when heaved into the attackers. Naphtha, and oil from coal, is an inflammable chemical substance much like napalm. Placed into small pottery vessels they could be thrown like hand grenades. And clouds of smoke could be generated to confuse a battlefield. The Iliad reports that scorpion poison would be used on the tip of an arrow, by Paris, to kill Achilles.
Both of these cultures prided themselves on personal combat, looking into the whites of an enemies eyes, fighting hand to hand and fighting to the death. The duel between Hector of Troy and Achilles of Greece was to have ended the war between them but it did not. This style of fighting was similar to gladiator fighting that was in vogue at a much later date in Rome. These Bronze Age warriors had to be incredibly fit with lots of stamina to swing swords and throw spears in a prolonged battle and eventually they got tired. So the chariots of the day were used as battlefield taxis to rotate warriors onto and off of the battlefield. That left tired defenders fighting fresh foes which could sometimes turn the tide of battle.
After ten years of difficult and fruitless battle with the impregnable Troy, the Greeks decided to attempt to defeat Troy with one last ingenious siege engine – The Trojan Horse.
This was an audacious plan put together by Odysseus one of the Greek Kings and a superior commander and ally of Agamemnon. Odysseus got his Greek military engineers to create the most famous siege machine ever to be written about in history. Only through the subterfuge of the Trojan Horse could the Greeks possibly win a war with the mighty, and so far unbeatable Trojans.
But how could the Greeks get a wooden horse into the city of Troy anyway? Troy was a fortress built on a high bluff after all. But recently archaeologists have learned that there was also a big lower town with mud-brick walls that would have given the Greeks an entry point into the town. The Greeks would have realized that this was an easier area for them to penetrate. Therefore the Trojans surrounded their walls with a system of ditches to prevent soldiers, chariots and siege machines from attacking the wall. Some of the ditches were 4 meters wide and 2 meters deep. But the ditches terminated at the road that lead through the huge gates and into Troy’s lower town. This left a small gap in the defense. And that is where the Trojan Horse could have been pulled through the gate and into Troy.
The city of Canakkale, Turkey lies at the narrow, 3,900 foot (1,200m) entrance to the Canakkale Strait (the Dardanelles) that connects the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean Sea.
The site of Troy is about 19 miles (30km) southwest of Canakkale. The small towns near to Troy are just specks on the road. There are a few souvenir shops and cafe's near to the historic National Park of Troia.
- Pros:Good for about a 2-3 hour visit; a few miles from Canakkale
- Cons:Very little restoration has been done; often narrow paths; sometimes lots of people
- In a nutshell:Very interesting to visit but it will leave you wishing that more restoration had been done.
Troy VI was located in history from ~1700 to 1250BC when an earthquake destroyed their city. When these people took up... more travel advice
As you enter Troy one of your first sights will be a garish replica of the Trojan Horse. Many people get into it to have... more travel advice
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