Thursday, 7 June 2012

Troy and Pergamon

A late start this morning because we missed the 9.00 am ferry from Eceabat across the Dardanelles to Canakkale by a couple of minutes because we got chatting over breakfast to a NZ couple who are travelling round Turkey by public bus. Rode up the coast to the next town and caught the ferry from there rather than waiting until 10.00.

Got to Troy at about 10.30. Troy is the city the Greeks attacked in the Trojan War of  about 1184 BC, though Greece as a nation didn't exist then so nobody really knows who they were. The only documentation is Homer's Iliad which he wrote nearly 500 years after the event. The city itself existed from 3,000 BC to 1,000 BC though it went through at least 7 distinct building phases. It fell into ruin and lay buried until it was rediscovered by the German archeologist Schliemann in the 1870s when he carted away all the relics and treasures that he found and either kept them for himself or sold them to museums and collectors round the world. The Treasures of Priam for example are scattered in 7 countries.

Today there isn't a great deal there to look at, just a few walls and the foundations of several of the different phases of the city, and lots of bits of marble columns and lintels. We spent about an hour there.

Followed the coast south on roads that varied from bad to excellent past several Aegean Sea resort towns that are bviously booming with massive apartment blocks going up everywhere. The 4 to 6 lane highway ran very close to the sea in places and we were riding just a few metres from shell and shingle beaches with flat calm crystal clear water lapping up to them. Lots of people in the water and lazing in the sun.

Eventually headed inland to the city of Bergama where we were riding around the old part of the city looking for a hotel when a guy on a scooter pulled alongside and said he has a gusthouse just 100 metres away and could he show us.

So that's where we ended up. It is a restored Ottoman villa up a quiet alley where we have a double room with ensuite and airconditioning  with breakfast for $45 a night. I am typing this in the pleasant central courtyard having eaten dinner at a restaurant round the corner which featured "head soup" which I think was sheep head soup with lumps of brain in it. It was very nice.

But I am jumping the gun a bit. In the afternoon, after tea and cakes with our host and his wife, we went for a walk to the Red Hall which looks like the ruin of a large mosque but we weren't quite sure. After some lentil soup and bread at a cafe we went back to the hotel and asked our host, who is also a taxi driver, if he could take us to the Acropolis to save us having to get into our motorcycling gear again. He drove us the 3 km or so to the top of the hill where the ruins of the Acropolis dominate the city and showed us how we could walk back to town via a shortcut using a rough footpath down the hillside.

The Acropolis dates back to 700 to 600  BC when it was the centre of the Kingdom of Pergamon.

Beacause we were there in the late afternoon the crowds had all gone and we had the place almost to ourselves.

The walk back took us through some interesting little alleys and staircases but using the Red Hall as a landmark we found our way towards home and had dinner, including my head soup, on the way back.

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