To students across the world, the story of the siege of Troy (Ilion in Greek, Truva in Turkish) is a familiar one. Most don’t know, however, that the historical city of Troy is located inside the borders of modern Turkey. Once thought to be only a mythical city invented by Homer, most historians now accept that this city was his inspiration, and was perhaps even besieged (for ten long years!) at the time specified by Homer in the Iliad. Alexander the Great, always modest, declared himself a descendant of Achilles and made a pilgrimage here in 334 BC.
Though the city shows evidence of 5000 years of habitation (in nine levels), sadly few structures remain intact, making it rather difficult to evoke the images of the remarkable ancient city of warriors, heroes, and beauties, among them Paris, Hektor, and Helen of Troy, whose face originally launched the 1,000 ships. Some rather exciting sites do remain for you to see, however, such as Troy’s ancient walls, some palaces and houses, as well as a Roman theatre, the Pillar House- believed to be the Palace of King Priam, and of course, a giant replica of the Trojan Horse. The real Trojan Horse, if there was one, was stuffed with Greeks during the war and given to the Trojans as a gift, but led to the credulous Trojan’s demise when soldiers emerged from inside and began to sack their city, giving us the saying, “Don’t trust Greeks even when bearing gifts.” (You didn’t think you could get away from Troy without that story, did you?)