Çanakkale: "The Towers of Ilium"
11 November 2009
Cc: Family and friends
Thank you, Oscar, for encouraging me to travel to Çanakkale to visit the ruins of Troy.
The guidebooks praise the hilltop view to the valley and the Dardanelles – the strait that connects the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean Sea. And the ruins themselves, even for a non-professional, are impressive. What is truly seductive is that when I gaze into the archeological dig, I look down into 5000 years of human settlement in this area. (“Was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships, and burnt the topless towers of Ilium?”)
To satisfy us non-professionals and tourists, the entrance to the grounds is graced with a replica of the hollow wooden Trojan Horse. (“Beware gifts bearing Greeks!”)
Çanakkale itself is now one of my favorite towns in Turkey. The weather was crisp and sunny so I strolled along the harbor, watched the fisherman and the ferries, and sat outdoors for a hot tea among the men playing cards and the young men and women smiling and gabbing with each other. Even the weekday afternoon was noisy and festive.
I booked my onward bus ticket. At dawn, the huge intercity bus will clamber up the ramp on to the ferry across the Dardanelles – the long 61k (40mi) strait that separates Asian Turkey from European Turkey. I decided to pass through the Gallipoli Peninsula and miss the Gallipoli battlegrounds and cemetery in the Marmara Region and head directly to Edirne in Thrace.
I am looking forward to the sunrise over the sea. I am only wondering how the ferry will bear the bus.