Canakkale and the Ruins of Legendary Troy

In 1871, a businessman and amateur archaeologist named Heinrich Schliemann began excavations of an ancient city near the northwest coast of Turkey. His goal was to prove the city mentioned in Homer’s Illiad was real and not just a legendary location. After years of digging he proved the connection and an ancient city once thought lost was found once again.

After setting up in the nearby city of Canakkale, we took a drive over to see the historical site, located about 30 minutes to the west of the city. Troy is close to the the northwest tip of Turkey, just below the entrance to the Dardanelles.

We stayed in Canakkale nearby

After paying for parking, we paid the entrance fee and walked in. Near the main gate was a model of the Trojan Horse.

The stairs were blocked so we couldn’t walk up

Added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1998, Troy was first settled around 3600 BC. It went through successive empires, from the Bronze age era through the Hittite empire to the Greeks and Romans. Although it doesn’t much resemble the city in the Iliad, it was an important place for millennia. This is in spite of the fact it never had Brad Pitt or Orlando Bloom hanging around the premises.

Apart from his discoveries, Schliemann also smuggled a sizeable amount of treasure found at Troy out of Turkey, and was later sued by the Turkish government over it.

If you like walls, you’ve come to the right place

Destroyed and rebuilt over the course of 4000 years, the ruins of Troy is divided into nine archaeological layers. Schliemann’s work went to the bottom, and he was criticized for digging through all of them during his excavations in the late 19th century. Troy I starts in the early Bronze Age and Troy IX was the Roman period.

The Troy site showing the remains from different time periods
Schliemann’s trench. Signs indicating the various time periods of the excavations
Part of Troy II (2300 BC to 1750 BC)
Greek-style odeon from the Roman period (Troy IX)
The South Gate, where the main entrance would have been. Only a roadway remained\

We spent a couple of hours at the site. Troy has a great sense of history, but keep in mind that only some of the structures are reconstructed. Unlike our previous trip to Pergamon, the effect at Troy like visiting an archaeological dig with much left up to the imagination. While not as impressive as it originally must have looked, we were glad to visit. There was also a modern museum a short distance away from the site.

We drove back to Canakkale in the late afternoon in time for dinner and a walk along the promenade in the city.

Canakkale near the waterfront

There were a number of pedestrian zones close to the water, with bakeries, coffee shops and restaurants around. Apart from driving the narrow one way streets and the parking issues, we enjoyed our brief time in Canakkale.

Along the waterfront at Canakkale
One more wooden horse in Cannakale

Before making our way back south, we had one more stop to make: the Dardanelles and the Gallipoli peninsula.

2 thoughts on “Canakkale and the Ruins of Legendary Troy

    1. Wow, it must have looked different back then! We enjoyed the region–it seems to be quieter than other tourist areas in Turkey in spite of the improvements with new highways and bridges.


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