Ancient City of Troy

Ancient City of Troy

Troy, the renowned archaeological site and a crucial starting point in modern archaeology, is a prime example of an oriental city in an Aegean setting. Its history dates back to the early Bronze Age and has undergone numerous transformations, with the city reaching its zenith as a pivotal trading center in the Aegean region.

Troy II and Troy VI are two significant stages in the city's development and represent typical examples of the ancient city's architecture. The citadel, enclosing both administrative buildings and palaces, was fortified, as was the lower town during pre-Hellenistic periods. These edifices are directly associated with or alluded to in iconic literary works such as Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid. Hellenistic tombs have been erected over the burial sites of key individuals, including Achilles and Ajax, who fought to save Troy, Hector, who attempted to infiltrate the city from enemy lines, as well as servants of Trojan leaders such as Patroclus.

Ancient City of Troy

Troy suffered significant earthquakes in 1350 BC, but the city swiftly recovered and was reconstructed in a more organized layout. However, in 1250 BC, Troy was devastated once again by a massive fire and brutal massacre, leading some scholars to identify this period as Troy VII, which culminated in the city's legendary siege during the Trojan War. Later research revealed that these disasters resulted from fierce commercial competition between Troy and the Mycenaeans, who vied for control over trade routes connecting Europe with Asia Minor's Black Sea region.

During 306 BC, Troy, the fabled capital of a league of cities in the Troad, flourished under Roman rule and was subsequently resettled by the Byzantines. It remained inhabited until the Ottoman Empire assumed control in 1402.

According to legend, Troy was founded by the descendants of Dardanus, the son of Tethys and the Titan of the Atlantic Ocean, Oceanus. Dardanus' wife, Electra, was Zeus' daughter and gave birth to him.

The discovery, exploration, and excavation of the Troy site date back to 1793. Heinrich Schliemann visited the site in 1868 but did not complete his work until 1893, after seven major campaigns. In 1873, Schliemann uncovered gold treasure, which some falsely labeled "King Priam's Treasure," although it came from Troy II rather than Troy VIIA.

Over a span of more than a century, 23 sections of Troy's defensive walls, 11 gates, a paved stone ramp, and the lower portions of five citadel fortifications have been uncovered through excavations. Most of these structures date back to Troy II and VI, but one section from the earliest period (Troy I) is located near South Gate No. 1.

Troy II's grand residential complex consists of five buildings with porches that run parallel to each other. The most notable of these is considered a precursor to Greek temples and is believed to have been some form of palace. The complex includes long rectangular houses from Troy II that are situated at the bottom of an excavated trench known as Schliemann's Trench, named after Heinrich Schliemann, a 19th-century excavator who unsuccessfully searched for "the Citadel of Priam."

Troy's Greek and Roman cities are represented primarily by the sanctuary complex, along with two other public buildings. This complex's architectural design reflects Roman urban organization and includes an odeon (concert hall) and tiers of seats made from limestone blocks.

In 1998, Troy was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Additionally, numerous archaeological sites are scattered throughout the surrounding landscape.