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Passing Through Alexander Troas

Approximately 45km (28 miles) along the road southwest from Çanakkale along the coastal road toward Gülpinar, the road passes over the mountains through a handful of tiny and timeless villages (trash and all). Just past the turnoff for Dalyanköy, no sooner do you ascend the hill than the silhouettes of stones -- not the ones that occur naturally -- begin to emerge. The site was buried and forgotten except for its utility: Alexander Troas (admission, if someone appears: 5TL; daily 8am-5pm) represents another one of those historically monumental sites looted as a building quarry. Many of the columns were removed and taken to Istanbul to use in the construction of the Yeni Valide Camii.

In the 3rd century B.C., seven of the neighboring cities were incorporated into Alexander Troas in what became at that time one of the largest cities in Anatolia, stretching as far as Troy to the north, Gülpinar in the south, and east to Evciler. So great was Alexander Troas's position, geographically, politically, and economically, that both Julius Caesar and Constantine are said to have considered the city as the capital of their respective empires. The scattered remains of this isolated site are also frequently included on biblical tours, as there are indications that St. Paul visited three times (for more information, see Acts in the Bible).

The first indication that you've arrived at the site is the sight of a neat stack of stones in the form of a tower. (There's a small spot for cars adjacent to this monument.) The tower is actually part of a cornerstone section of the famously photographed intact cradle arch. The arch and "tower" are both parts of the Herodes Atticus bath, built in A.D. 135. With its 100m-long (328-ft.) facade, it is the largest Roman-era bath in Anatolia. Prior to the 16th century, when the site was believed to be that of Troy, the structure was called the Palace of Priam, until later, when it was thought to be a temple. Because the site is still in the very early stages of excavation, a visit will find you wading through low Mediterranean brush and past olive trees and oaks -- probably accompanied only by the whispering of the wind. Some of the other structures you will stumble upon are sections of the 8km (5 miles) of city walls, interspersed by the remains of what was once a total of 44 intermittent towers. The foundations of a temple are visible in the clearing, where they've found a bust of Dionysius, a theater, and an aqueduct attributed to Emperor Trajan. After exploring the fields, continue down the road to the picturesque village of Dalyanköy, with its sandy beach and unpretentious waterside restaurants. This is the site of the ancient city's harbor, now a silted lagoon, artificially enclosed to protect ships from the high winds.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.