Troy, Turkey: Not for the Critics

I wanted to like Troy (also known as Truva or Troia in Turkish). I was very excited to visit the site– I’d read the Illiad and I thought I was intellectually prepared to step on the land of classical legend. Unfortunately while the ruins of this ancient city are currently billed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, nothing about it merits true awe other than the steep price of admission (20TL). The site, such as it is, is well-maintained and boasts a giant replica Trojan horse that visitors can climb in (as one would likely expect). There is also informative signage in Turkish, German, and English strewn throughout the well-marked and carefully restricted paths. However, none of the newly-installed frills change the unfortunate truth that the site was ravaged by the early would-be archeologists who excavated it, or that the natural topography has become so different over the years that one can hardly see the mighty Aegean from the hills of former Troy. Unless you have an incredibly active imagination the site does not give one any impressions of being the place that Hector and Paris once tried to defend while the beautiful Helen looked on. The sleepy surrounding villages, about an hour outside of the bustling port city of Canakale, feel as thought they are being unnecessarily trodden upon as huge tour buses and overeager classicists trundle their way through the countryside and into the tiny and tourist-financed town of Truva itself. This town boasts a hostel, a cafe, and a gift shop, all meant to service the actual archaeological site which can be completely seen in less than a half-day. One would be better served just lingering in Canakale and admiring the replica Trojan Horse from the movie Troy which is kept by the seaside there.

There are many other beautiful archaeological sites in Turkey which give the imagination a better spark, places where one can almost feel the presence of ancient civilizations still lingering in the rocks. Truva, Troia, or Troy is sadly more of an out-of-the-way tourist trap.

Written by Emily Pelka


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