Beautiful Assos ancient city is in the Ayvacık district of Çanakkale. The ancient city, which is located right across Lesbos Island, is in Behramkale Village. Assos, which is one of the important settlement centers of ancient times, is on an extinct volcanic hill, between andesite rocks. These andesite stones were used in the construction of yourself. Assos has become an open-air museum with its mystical atmosphere and ancient city ruins. You can feel that magical atmosphere while walking around the city. When you leave the ancient city and wander inside the village, you can taste the restaurants with a bay view, delicious and natural dishes unique to the region. In addition to the historical beauties of Assos, you can swim in Kadırga Bay, Sivrice Bay, and Sokakağzı bays in the summer and enjoy that enormous view.
Assos Ancient City is located in Behramkale Village of Ayvacık district of Çanakkale. Behramkale was established in the Ottoman Period and is also a protected area. You can enter the Assos Ancient City, which has a history of 3000 years, by going uphill from the cobbled village road that still preserves its historical texture.
One of the aspects that made this ancient city especially dominated by different powers such as the Lydians, Persians, Macedonian Kingdom, Pergamon Kingdom, Romans, and Ottomans in time, according to the writers of the ancient philosopher Aristotle who lived in Assos for 3 years, during the times of King Hermeias in 348 BC.
It is known that Aristotle established a philosophy school here, and so the city became a science and philosophy center at that time. According to legend, Aristotle fell in love with the daughter of the king Pythias while he was here and married her.
Excavations in Assos
The first excavations in the Ancient City were carried out in 1838 and the architectural blocks found were taken to France. The subsequent excavations were done by the Americans between 1881 and 1883, and the Goddess Statue and reliefs at the Temple of Athena were taken to America at that time. Today, many works belonging to this ancient city are exhibited in the Boston Museum of America and the Paris Louvre Museum. The remaining ones are in Çanakkale and Istanbul Archeology Museums.
Location of Assos
The ancient city of Assos, which rests on the back of the Kaz Mountains, was built in a state of terraces along a line starting from the hill where the Acropolis is and stretching towards the sea. In the upper parts, there are the living areas of the nobility and the other part of the people downwards. For this reason, areas such as the theater called odeon, the intellectual and physical education center called a gymnasium, and the bazaar of the city called agora were established in the areas extending downwards. There is an ancient harbor right on the seashore.
Things to See in Assos
Temple of Athena
Acropolis, which is the settlement at the top of Assos Ancient City, which was established in the 6th century BC, is located on an extinct volcanic hill. Located at an altitude of 236 meters from the sea and overlooking the island of Lesbos and the magnificent Gulf of Edremit, the Temple of Athena is the most worth seeing structure at this point.
Each of the cities founded in ancient times has a god or goddess who was the guardian of each. Here, Goddess Athena, identified with wisdom, art, and peace, one of the 12 Olympian Gods in Greek Mythology, was also chosen as the protector of Assos Ancient City, and this temple was built in her name at the highest point of the city.
Two important features about the temple, which was built in 540 BC, come to the fore. Both features are actually related to the architectural structure of the temple. Although the Ionian order architecture originating from Western Anatolia prevailed in the archaic period temples in Anatolia, we see that Doric order was used in this structure. This shows us the effect of Ancient Greece reflected from the Greek peninsula.
Again, we know that marble was processed in such structures in the archaic period. However, this situation is different in Assos Ancient City. Andesite stone was used in the architecture here, andesite is already a special stone here. It is known as a very hard stone that is hard to process. In fact, it was traded using a sarcophagus in that period and became one of the livelihoods of the people of this place.
A model that reflects the origins of the temple can be seen just below the Athena Temple area. Looking at this model, it is even better understood how magnificent the temple was once.
Odeon – Theater
The theater, which still survives for thousands of years and earthquakes, rests on the slopes of a natural rock. It is known that this theater, which sees Lesbos Island overlooking the sea, has approximately 5000 people. In fact, this also gives us information about the size of the ancient city of Assos.
Some changes were made in the architecture of the theater during the Roman Period. Especially the fact that the section belonging to the first sitting group was cut and raised and railing plates were added, as proof that gladiator games were performed in the Roman Period. Today, it continues to host various shows and concerts from time to time, with the capacity to host 1500 people.
The ancient port of Assos
This is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable places in the region. We can say that it is the heart of Assos with its boutique hotels and fish restaurants. While the port was active in the ancient period, the port, which is a shelter for the fishing boats you see today, still maintains its glory 3000 years ago.
Hotels and Holiday in Assos
Staying in Assos for several days is a good decision if you plan an itinerary more than a week in Turkey. Behramkale has a lot of small bed and breakfast hotels with reasonable prices. I recommend bed and breakfasts since Assos area has some of the best Turkish cuisine and also fish restaurants Turkey can offer.
Tour Guide to Assos
Assos is one of the favorite ancient cities of mine in Turkey. Beautifully located Acropolis of Assos gives a great view and history of Assos astonishes any visitor. You can always write to me if you need to learn more on Assos and contact me to book tour guide to Assos ancient city in Turkey. See you soon, Hasan Gülday