Thursday, 28 May 2009

Troy and the Trojan Horse, Canakkale ..... May 2009

17-21 May 2009

We came to Canakkale for two reasons. The first was to finally check out of Turkey after 11 months here, the second to visit the ancient site of Troy - the last major site we haven't been to. We caught the dolmus the 30 kilometres to Troy (Troia, Truva). This UNESCO World Heritage List site is relatively small but its 5000 year history and the tales woven about it make it an extremely interesting spot. First settled in 3000BC the ruins from this city are called Troy 1. It is placed on a 15 metre high mound, and was originally a port town ideally located at the entrance to the Dardenelles Straits. The harbour silted up over the centuries and the ruins now lie inland surrounded by a fertile valley. Over the very long history of the settlement it appears that during different periods a new Troy was built on top of the fallen Troys, either because of earthquakes, war or fire. Therefore there are 9 Troys, each interwoven into the previous one, the excavation work shows the different layers of stonework and materials throughout its interesting history. A completely different site to any of the others we have seen and well worth the visit.

Troy of course is also home to the legend of the Trojan Horse, originally told by Homer, many many moons ago. In short Priam was the king of Troy. His son Paris was asked by Zeus to judge the world's first beauty contest at Mt Ida. Aphrodite, Hera and Athena were the contestants and all tried to bribe Paris to name them as the winner. He chose Aphrodite who promised that the fairest woman in the world could be his. Paris left for Sparta to see Helen, then the fairest woman in the world. They fell in love and eloped back to Troy, Helen's husband Menelaus thought Paris had abducted Helen and was not too happy about this at all. He gathered his armies and attacked Troy, thereby starting the Trojan war which went for 10 years. Odysseus thought up a cunning plan, and had Menelaus and troops look to retreat, and as a leaving gift and acknowledgement of the Trojans winning left behind a huge wooden horse. After the troops had gone the Trojans took the horse inside the city walls. However that night the warriors who were hidden inside the horse got out, opened the city gates, and Menelaus' awaiting hidden armies attacked and Troy was taken.

It is now 21 May, we have been here much longer than expected but have had gale force winds all week. We are hoping the forecast is right and they will start easing this afternoon and we will be able to do the 60 miles to Limnos in Greece tomorrow, it is 2pm now and they are still howling through so we will see.

And while we sit in Ghetto the wifi cafe and look out to sea, not one but two submarines just went by. Of course they had more than just periscopes up or we wouldn't have seen them, but they just had the dome bit at the top showing, we haven't seen subs underway before. Then a even better surprise, up pops Tony and Lynn off Tactical Directions, they had just received a general mailout email from us saying we were in Canakkale and had just arrived themselves by car this afternoon, enroute from Istanbul back to the boat in Marmaris. The harbour and cafe area is compact and they tracked us down, well done. What a great surprise, we haven't seen Tony since October and it was great to meet Lynn. We probably won't cross wakes this year cruising, but we hope maybe again next year!!

Sightseeing Info:
Dolmus from under Sari River bridge (as per LP map) In weekend 10am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm, weekdays more regulary. 4Lira p/p each way. About 30 minutes.
Entrance fee to Troy 15Lira p/p
Other Info:
See previous update on the Southern Battlefields, all info on Canakkale there

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