The Archaeological Site of Troy is the traditional location of Homeric Troy.
In the 1870s Heinrich Schliemann, excavated the area. Later excavations revealed several cities built in succession to each other. One of the earlier cities (Troy VII) is often identified with Homeric Troy.
Troy is a legendary city and center of the Trojan War, as described in the Epic Cycle, and especially in the Iliad, one of the two epic poems attributed to Homer.
Map of TroyLoad map
I visited this WHS in Spring 2021. The vast majority of this site are ruins and foundations of old buildings. There are no "iconic" buildings here, in fact the only "iconic" aspect of the site is the modern Trojan Horse just after the entrance which seems like a playground for children and adults alike (the one used for the film starring Brad Pitt is along the Canakkale waterfront). That said, the highlight of this site are its superimposed strata marked as Troy I-IX.
Why does Troy have so many superimposed strata? The settlement mound of Hisarlik comes into being through a combination of circumstances. First of all its favourable position caused it to be reoccupied time and again over more than 3,000 years. Secondly, sundried mudbrick was largely used for building the walls of houses. Mudbricks, scarcely known in Europe, are the normal building material in the Near East. When rebuilding took place, the earlier mudbricks were of no value and buildings of the preceding phase were always levelled. Thus the succession of settlements gradually formed an enormous mound.
Within this mound archaeologists could distinguish finds and structures that are most recent (in the higher strata) from those that are earlier (in the lower strata). The many layers of settlement and the associated finds can be grouped in broad chronological periods or phases. Halfway through the very well organised audio tour (if you want to skip the audio tour there are several information boards in English) on the elevated boardwalk, from what is known as the "Middle Trench" of Schliemann, there is a great viewpoint of the Eastern profile with all the nine phases (and strata) marked with Roman numerals. The lower seven such settlements, Troy I-VII, contain remains of 41 building phases. On top of these come the remains of Greek (Troy VIII) and Roman (Troy IX) constructions. Altogether the process produced an artificial accumulation of earth that is nearly 20 metres high.
Closer to the entrance and the wooden Trojan Horse, you'll find the Pithos Garden where several large, tall and slender storage vessels known as pithoi were found, together with countless ceramic water pipes, grinding stones and pestles. Although Troy I was destroyed catastrophically, there was no hiatus in occupation or change in culture between the settlements. On the contrary, the culture of Troy I continued to develop in Troy II. This second city was carefully planned a fortified on an area of 9,000 square metres. The citadel was surround by a 300 metre fortification wall with stone foundations and a mudbrick superstructure. There was also a fortified lower city. Most of the architectural remains that are now visible derive from Troy II. They include a row of three parallel long houses with porches known as megarons. Moreover, there is also part of the citadel walls of Troy II and III which are preserved to a height of four metres and are covered with a protective roof since 2003.
Apart from the fortification walls, another highlight is the partially restored ramp of the Troy II citadel, paved with flat stones and flanked by mudbrick walls. The Troy II citadel came to an end with a catastrophic fire that left behind a burnt layer more than two metres thick. Near the remains of the gate, Schliemann found what was nicknamed as the legendary "Priam's treasure" with more than 20 "Troy treasures" scattered in 8 different location in 7 cities around the world, including Moscow and St Petersburg following World War II. A small part of these treasures can be seen in the great Troy museum just a few metres away from the archaeological site. The only "intact" building of the archaeological site is the restored Roman Odeion, a small theatre where lectures, concerts and other events took place.
The best preserved part of Troy is the eastern part with the East Wall, Gate, Tower and palaces of Troy VI. I'll surely never forget this part of Troy as while visiting, completely alone in the countryside, I could here clear whimpering and whining noises coming from beneath the boardwalk I was walking on. After the initial fright, I peeked through the wooden stairs, and to my surprise I saw a stray dog giving birth to a litter of puppies! I informed the security guard on duty and a while after a veterinarian came on site.
I visited Troy on the 18th of March 2020 and the place was almost empty. It was an emotional visit. I had been traveling for almost three years now and the evening before I had made a decision to return home. In the week before it had become clear that Turkey was not immune for covid19 either and nothing could be taken for granted anymore. Will the public transport still run? Will the site be open? Will they close the hotels? Troy would be the last visit on my travel and I did not know when I would be able to travel again.
Troy is not very big and I could imagine how different it would be full of tour groups and tourists, but today I could imagine myself a Schliemann, as if discovering the place for the first time. I felt sad that all this beauty would be closed soon for an undetermined period of time. Troy as a civilization was sacked many times but our civilization nowadays is so rich and sophisticated that we are able to open this history to anyone who is interested in it, and on this day it was very clear how extraordinary this is.
The museum is magnificent too, it honors both the history of Troy and the Turkish national pride. The presentation is fresh and modern though in a few parts it felt the building is a bit too big for the exhibition.
I visited Troy in July 2018. Despite the fame, legend and mythical side of the site, I remember it as a rather banal archaeological site. I was taking part in an organised trip through Turkey and we made a stop in Troy on the road between Selçuk (Ephesus) and Çanakkale (we were travelling with private transport for this part of the journey). The guide who followed us during the whole trip also acted as a guide for the visit of the archaeological site.
Troy is surrounded by an aura of mystery and legend. It is an extremely ancient site of settlement of human civilizations. However, today, it is difficult to separate facts and legends. For example, we do not know how much of Homer's stories are true and how much are fiction. I admit that this aspect makes the site a little less interesting for me. As much as I love history (the facts!), spirituality and mythology leave me cold.
The site itself is rather small and has no remarkable structure. It is a series of stone and brick walls, without much personality or artistic value. The city, as is often the case, has expanded by building on the structures of the previous city, creating a succession of several layers (nine in this case). Nevertheless, the fact remains that a 4500-year-old brick does not differ much from a contemporary brick, and impresses me very little when the structure it formed has long since disappeared. The oldest parts are protected from the weather, but the best preserved section seemed to me to be latest, such as an access ramp to the city (the one used by the horse according to the legend) and a small theater.
Unfortunately I did not visit the museum. The site is home to a gigantic wooden horse in which it is possible to climb (ideal opportunity for a nice group photo). The horse from the film with Brad Pitt is in the centre of Çanakkale. This town is located near the TWHS Gelibolu (Gallipoli) Battles Zones in the First World War.
Troy is perhaps one of the most iconic sites, not because of the ruins but because its legendary place in history and literature. It is a good moment to visit Troy again. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Troy becoming a UNESCO site the new Troy Museum was opened in 2018, and has quickly acquired the reputation of one of the best museums in Turkey if not in Europe with educational displays, animations, interactive films and simulations. We visited in January 2020, and we had the entire Museum to ourselves, same was at the Troy archaeological site, the historic setting of the Trojan War as eternalised by Homer in the Iliad. The weather was gorgeous, a bit cold but sunny with a deep blue sky; the view was great from the Museum’s roof top across the archaeological site; and all the way to Mount Ida from where the gods were watching the Trojan War and the island of Tenedos where the Greek ships were hiding before the city fell; and in the distance, across the Scamander plains and the entrance to the Dardanelles, the glittering snow covered mountains of Samothrace.
The Museum is built as a cube, construction started in 2013, and was completed in 2018. It reaches the height of the pre-excavation hill of Hisarlık, the modern name of the Troy site and is meant to resemble an artefact that was excavated. The building’s outside walls are made of steel that are meant to put on rust over time. While the interior focuses on the exhibits, the building itself sports an industrial look with grey concrete walls and a ramp running from the ground floor to the roof. About 2000 artefacts, among them 24 golden pieces, from the many layers of Troy’s 4000 year history and the surrounding area are displayed. Many more are in a nearby underground depot. At theTroy Museum the principle is applied that findings should be exhibited where they were excavated. Reinforcing this point, a special area is dedicated to pieces that are not in the Museum, in particular ‘Priam’s Treasure’ which is currently kept in Russia.
Visiting the museum first gives you a good overview of the site itself which does not have many well preserved remains and given its layered history is difficult to visualise. The Museum is structured by themes’ including “Troas Area Archeology,” “Bronze Age of Troy,” “Troas and Ilion in Antiquity,” the “Ottoman Period,” “Archeology History,” and “Troy's Traces.” A special section is dedicated to Homer’s Iliad. The ruins of Troy were rediscovered in 1870. This story alone makes good reading. If you are lucky, as we were, you meet the head archaeologist either in the museum or at the nearby dig. He will ask you to find the Trojan Horse hidden in the Museum. It’s there, it’s big, but you really need to look out for it ....
Anyone familiar with the stories of the Trojan War will find it difficult to imagine the city of legends in this jumble of layers of ancient ruins. The well marked walking path that takes you in a loop around the site, the viewing points and platforms help however. You start at the Trojan horse, an artist’s impression that stands at the entrance; you can climb up two levels inside the horse (there is another horse - the one from the Hollywood movie - in front of the Çanakkale Governor’s office). You continue to the Pithos Garden with its open air collection of storage vessels, and the Eternal Stone of Troy which is a modern day artefact that symbolises that Troy was one of the early sites where rectangular masonry blocks were used, and it is inscribed with the names of famous visitors throughout the ages. The route takes you to the massive fortifications of Troy VI (supposedly the Troy of the Iliad); these fortifications include a long stretch of walls of ashlar masonry, a cleverly designed gate, and the Eastern Tower. You pass a viewing platform from where you get a good impression of the 330 meters of the wall that are still standing. Next are the sad remnants of the Temple of Athena; then the Citadel and Megaron of Troy II/III. The place is covered by a sail-like, modern roof, a reminder that the wind brought wealth to Troy. Past the fortification walls of Troy I you reach the infamous Schliemann trench that cuts through many layers of Troy and ironically may have destroyed a large part of what Schliemann was looking for: the Troy of the Iliad. On a positive note it enables a better understanding of the multiple layers of the city. You can see the levels of Troy spanning more than 2500 years of settlements. Next are the walls, the gate, and ramp of Troy II and the palatial area of Troy VI. Soon you reach the Lower City of Troy which stretches outside the citadel, and is still being excavated. The Odeon is the last highlight before the exit. On the other side of the path you will see a ditch following an ancient lane leaving the city through its old walls. Apparently already in antiquity the remains of the Homeric city were being preserved as tourist attractions.
The Troy Museum and archaeological site of Troy are located near the village of Tevfikye (with several restaurants and accommodation), 30 km from Çanakkale. Opening hours are 08:30 to 19:00 in summer and 08:30 to 15:30 in winter. Entrance to the Museum is 42 TL (children below 8 go for free). The combo-ticket for the Museum & the Troy archaeological site is 60 TL. There are washrooms in the museum and at the entrance to the archaeological site, also museum shops in both places.
The car park next to the site entrance is free of charge. Regular minibuses (roughly every hour) connect Troy with Çanakkale. The terminal, Minibüs Garajı, is situated close to Atatürk Street, near Sarıçay Bridge. If you travel by car, take the D550 from Çanakkale.
At the time of writing efforts where underway to prepare for the close-by Gallipoli memorial, its battlefields and cemeteries to be inscribed on the UNESCO list. This would mean sites from two world wars, one from antiquity and one from the beginning of the 20th century, only separated by the Dardanelles.
A visit to the site of Troy was a highlight of our trip to Turkey. The local guide was quite knowledgeable and the site is well marked for understanding the various levels of the nine "Troys" including the siege of Troy 6 or 7 which inspired the foremost classic of western literature.
As other reviews have said the jumble of 9 different settlements makes it hard to work out what is what. It helps if you have read the story of the first excavations. The site has a number of very helpful boards explaining what you are looking at. The wooden horse is kitsch - the nearby town of Canakkale has the one from the movie, which is more impressive but you can't climb inside it.
The greatest thing - to have stood on the same ground as KIng Priam and Achilles!
Visited in 2000.
The site is not very big, but is well worth a visit if you have an interest in Troy. The site is a bit of a jumble, as Heinrich Schleimann's excavation was hodgepodge, so it's worth it to get a map. The Trojan horse is pretty kitschy, but a fun photo op.
For WWI buffs, it's worth it to stay in Canukkale to combine a visit to Gallipoli as well.
This archeological site which is assumed to be Troy named in Illiad of Homeros, actually is not one ancient city. Instead it is the ruins of at least 9 different settlements built one on the top of the other, dating back to early bronze ages.
Although there is not much to see for someone who is not interested in the history and the myths; for anyone interested, this site represents a chance to take a glimpse to the wound of modern western civilization on the green skirts of Mount Ida.
The Archeological Museum of Canakkale gives a chance to view some of the ancient artifacts taken from the site.
The old road to Assos might be a focus of atraction cutting through the ruins of more that 20 ancient settlements predating Christ; in addition Gallipoli, with the monuments and other traces of the well-known epic drama of World War II.
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