Horsing Around in Troy, Turkey (Pun Definitely Intended)

From the epic poems of Homer – The Iliad and The Odyssey, written around 850 BC – to the star-filled 2004 film based on these poems, popular culture over the centuries has often made reference to the great city of Troy and the battles that ultimately led to its demise. Except they didn’t, as the city continued to exist for over 1500 years afterwards!

Me by some ruins in Troy, September 2013

Me by some ruins in Troy, September 2013

Well, during my time in Turkey in September 2013, I had the opportunity to check out the ruins of Troy, and although they are highly interesting, they were a bit of a let down. Compared to other archaeological sites which we had visited in Turkey (such as the amazing ancient city of Ephesus and pretty Hierapolis-Pamukkale), Troy, despite being one of the most popular places to visit in the country, leaves a lot to the imagination.

The Odeon, dating to Troy IX (Roman Troy, the last stage of the city)

The Odeon, dating to Troy IX (Roman Troy, the last stage of the city)

Troy, which was actually a succession of nine different cities which kept building over the previous one over a period of 3500 years, has now little to show but extremely weathered remains (mostly walls) of various eras of the city. Through its history, each era of the city was ravaged by war or natural disasters, so most of the sites of importance are now long gone.

Walls of Troy VII - This is the epoch of Troy where Homer's epic poems took place!

Walls of Troy VII – This is the epoch of Troy where Homer’s epic poems took place!

This is not to say that a visit to Troy isn’t worth it, all I’m saying is that you need to come with a lot of imagination, to recreate in your mind a city standing where all there is left now is rubble. Troy still has an interesting history, and it is a UNESCO World-Heritage site. It’s also good to keep in mind that some of the ruins in the site date back to over 5000 years ago – now, that’s impressive!

Horsing Around in Troy

Horsing Around in Troy

Very little – but some- remains of the first 2000 years of the history of the city (Troy I through Troy V), and most of the still-visible ruins were built starting the 6th revival of the city. The era in which the Trojan Wars took place was Troy VII around 1200 BC; meanwhile, the last city, Troy IX, was inhabited as a Roman city through until around the year 500 AD.

Most people have probably also heard at some point about the giant wooden “Trojan Horse,” which was allegedly used by the Greeks to enter the city under disguise and attack it from within. This legend, as fun as it sounds, is actually fictitious… but that didn’t stop a wooden horse from becoming one of the main attractions at the site of Troy!

The Wooden Trojan Horse is a bit of a gimmick, but we of course had to photograph it. We also did a jumping shot (a really good one too… but I’ll post it later!) and my friend Ryan forced me to let him ride me as if I was a horse myself, which seemed to really entertain the people around us!


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