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30km (19 miles) south of Çanakkale

Like the conglomerate of nearly 100 ancient cities that make up the province of Çanakkale, this is the land where the lines between history and mythology are blurred. King Priam, Helen, Agamemnon, and Odysseus were lead characters at Troy, made timeless by Homer in his Iliad and Odyssey. The Iliad and Odyssey have made Troy one of the most recognizable mythological events in the world, and few can resist the chance to tread among its remains.

Until 1871, when Heinrich Schliemann decided to go dig for buried treasure, finding Troy was about as likely as finding Atlantis. There was (and to a certain extent, still is) no concrete evidence that the civilization of Homer's Iliad existed. One of the arguments is that the poet's epic account of the Trojan War is an amalgam of battle stories based on geopolitics of the day, with a little Aaron Spelling thrown in for flavor.

Then Schliemann, a self-taught archaeologist with an ancient-Greece obsession and an even stronger lust for buried treasure, descended upon the nearby village of Hisarlik and started poking around. His shoddy excavation resulted in significant damage to the site, and when the dust settled after his looting, there was some dispute over what it was that he actually "found" there. But there's no disputing that he began the significant excavation and reconstruction process that continues to this day.

The fact that nine civilizations were built one on top of the other is no surprise, given the strategic location. Two thousand years ago, Troy was a port city at the mouth of the Dardanelles, and it would have been surprising if a war hadn't been fought here. While it's anyone's guess just how heroic the goings-on were on these ancient shores, the possibility of stepping into a legend is an exciting proposition -- as is climbing into the belly of a wooden horse that Walt Disney would be proud of.

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