Where Giants of Troy & Pergamum Lived and Died

Trip Start Aug 15, 2007
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Trip End Jun 01, 2012


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Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Break arrived and we decided to take a quick 50 minute flight to Izmir on the Aegean Coast... rent a car and drive up the coastline to Troy... enjoying a few sights along the way.  As I have mentioned so many times before, Turkey is endowed with massive historical sights protruding throughout the country's landscape...  A land that has been tread and transformed by many historical "Giants"...  The stretch of the country that we took in is covered with the remnants of their aspirations... 

As I have much to complete for school work this week... and little time for frivolities,  I am going to make this entry quick in words and heavy in pics...  Some of the sites we enjoyed were Pergamum with numerous monuments erected to Alexander the Great for his liberation of the city by the Persian King Darius III... an ancient city adorned with Eumene's Library that rivaled the world's greatest library, Alexandria's Library in Egypt... with Mark Antony whisking away its 200,000 plus scrolls to the Alexandria Library in Egypt, for a gift to his love, Cleopatra... It is also the home of Galen's Asclepion, a famous ancient hospital that modernized medicine... becoming the basis of "modern medicine" well into the 16th century... As well as home to the Red Basilica, built within an ancient temple to the Egyptian God Serapis, preached in by Saint John the Divine and labeled as one of the Seven churches of the Apaocalypse... also known as the throne of the Devil...  a place where today's locals set up their food stands and sell fruit and chickens tethered on strings, tied to remnants of ancient walls... 

After Pergamum we drove to Assos and set up our base there... exploring the surrounding region... Assos is a beautiful and quaint fishing village nestled on the coast of the Aegean, 6 miles across from Lesbos, the famed home of Sappho,  from the Ancient Greek land of lesbians...  Above the rock hued fishing village lies the ancient ruins, a beautiful conglomeration of structures spanning thousands of years of inhabitance... a temple to Athena, massive sarcophagi lining the necropolis to the edge of the city walls, building remnants lived in by Aristotle as he studied physics and biology before becoming Alexander the Great's tutor...  and the smallish Roman theatre where St. John preached on his way along the coast... and also where Carsten and Aidan sang and put on performances for Mom and Dad as we hung out on the half moon marble seating... 

The very tiny village of Babakale, with the last Ottoman Turk fortress was built to fight off invading pirates... and where the locals graze their endless herds of sheep and goats on the green hillsides... 

Troy... needing more description than one would ever imagine... an archeological site revealing 9 Troys, each layered on top of each other... stretching back over 5000 years to the bronze age...  with Troy VII, the city of King Priam and his son's Paris and Hector and the lovely Helen... with it's destruction by Menelaus, King of Sparta... with Achilles at the forefront of the battle... All written by Homer and possibly lived by the character's that live immortally in pages of his Iliad...  isolated on a patch of land inhabited by ruthless snakes and gentle hedgehogs... 

Gallipoli was another site of death and destruction where Ottoman Turks fought off the invasion of British, Australian, New Zealand and French forces... a WWI battle where over 500,000 lost their lives and where the iconic Ataturk made his mark on history, to become the first leader of the Turkish Republic... dragging the old Ottoman Empire into a new era of unknown freedoms and change...  where one can find wildflowers covering the rolling hillsides that have become the graves of many lost soldiers... 

Our last stop before catching our flight home was in Izmir, the most "European" of Turkish cities... bathed in the cool breezes of the sea and surrounded by coastal mountains... displaying couples holding hands and kissing in the park... a rare scene in many parts of Islamic Turkey... 
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