Ayasuluk Hill on the western outskirts of a small town called Selçuk is a remarkable location. The oldest traces of human settlement discovered there date back to the Early Bronze Age, i.e. the third millennium BCE. In that period, this free-standing mound, with rocky slopes on three sides, was located directly on the seashore, at the deep bay that extended to the chains of mountains to the north, south, and east.
The tale of mighty Troy has tempted the travellers for thousands of years. The tragic fate of the powerful city of King Priam, sung by the semi-legendary bard called Homer, has been one of the most frequently retold dramas of all times. Even in the ancient times, when Asia Minor was colonised by the Greeks and later controlled by the Romans, the site of Troy was a great tourist attraction. When visiting this World Heritage Site, you will be following in the footsteps of the Persian ruler Xerxes, Alexander the Great of Macedonia, Roman Emperor Hadrian, and the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror.
Even if it is difficult to say with certainty that the archaeological site first excavated in the 19th century is the location of the Trojan War, the visit here brings many emotions and evokes the scenes from the Homer's story. By following this guidebook, you will be able to imagine brave Achilles chasing the Trojan prince Hector around the mighty fortifications of Troy. The book will also help you to understand the geography of the site and the surrounding countryside. On a bright day, you will see the remote Aegean Islands where the Greek ships had been hidden before the fall of the city. Looking in another direction, you will glimpse the distant outlines of Mount Ida - the favourite location of the Olympian gods who had played with the mythical heroes' fates like a game of chess.
Many travellers dream of visiting an ancient city that has been preserved not only in the form of modest ruins. Would it not be so much more exciting the see such a city in its glory or at least in the state that would echo the magnificent past of the place? While many experienced tourists can point to Pompeii in Italy as such a city, there is also another great location where history is still alive. Ephesus, the pearl of eastern Mediterranean, is a perfect demonstration of the ostentatious wealth of the Greek settlements on the shores of Asia Minor. While Pompeii was erected mainly of bricks, Ephesus shocks the visitors even today with the generous application of the best and most expensive construction materials, including many variations of marble.
Naturally, such a splendid archaeological site as Ephesus receives thousands of visitors daily, and it may seem that it does not hold any secrets from them. Millions of photos are taken there every year and then appear in books, leaflets, websites, and social media channels. Can we hope to discover something not published on Facebook or Instagram there? Is it possible to find a peaceful and quiet corner or see the grand theatre and the lavishly decorated Library of Celsus without the crowds? This book has been prepared with the hope to assist all of the readers ready to find out more than can be learned about Ephesus from popular guidebooks and information boards.
A visit to Ephesus Archaeological Museum in Selçuk is the perfect complement to the tour of the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus. This small but fascinating institution has in its collections a number of exhibits from the area of the ancient city, the Temple of Artemis, the Basilica of St. John, and the fortress on Ayasuluk Hill. Moreover, other archaeological sites situated nearby are represented, including the finds from the Belevi Mausoleum and Çukuriçi Mound where the oldest artefact in the museum's collections was found – a stamp dating back to 6200 BCE.
December 2019 brought wonderful news for the new Troy Museum, as it was shortlisted for the European Museum of the Year Award. Moreover, the new tourism season of 2020 should see two new museums opened in Turkey. The first one is the Museum of the Story of Hazelnut in the Black Sea province of Ordu. The second venue is the Cappadocia History and Culture Museum, being built underground by carving volcanic tuff rocks in the Avanos district of Nevşehir. On the other hand, UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List Diyarbakır city walls are sold and dismantled, and the historical city of Hasankeyf is disappearing under the waters of Tigris River.