From Pat's Journal:
It was a hazy, grey and humid wakeup in Izmir. Our hotel was full of tour groups which we followed around all day. We headed north to Bergama, to the Pergemum ruins. Bergama is a new town, with most of the houses on a "preserved" list. They climb a road which ends and Pergemum begins - on the top and flanks of a large hill. It became prosperous when one of Alexander's generals got it after Alexander's death.
It's mostly a quite limited ruin (most having been carted off by the Germans when they built the railway through here), but they are artfully placed in this dramatic setting/drop dead views of the town below - hills and vllages surrounding it. The amphitheater is the steepest known. The temples are not extent, but a headless statue remains.
The wildflowers are a riot everywhere besides the deep reds of the poppies and the white/yellow of the cammomile. There's a bright yellow (small) composite, a blue-pink, creeping geranium, and two clovers. The general mugginess drives us back into the bus, but not before stopping at a small oak tree that had sprung up where Demeter's altar was. The lower branches are wrapped with short lengths of white clothes meant to express visitor's "wishes and willings", as our guide explains.
Back in the bus, we head for Troy. It's a long ride, but we hit the Agean at Ayralik. It's very flat and laifless with a grey sky blending with a colorless sea to the horizon. We cutaway from the sea, and climb over a winding saddle road over the mountain. The island of Lesbos appears to our left on the sea. We pass through Ezine, where our guide says the Turks' most favorite cheese "that you will not get in your hotels" is made. Oh well.
We come upon Troy -Troia. Our guide tells us that his is unlike any other ruins. That there is a model of the Trojan horse built in 1962 on the site, and another built for the Brad Pitt movie in Cannukkale. He sets us up to be underwhelmed by the remains, but it turns out to be quite an interesting gem. Maybe because it marks the famous "myth" of the Greeks beating the locals.
The site was thought to be a myth until a German, Schlieman, came from California in the 1870's bent on finding the legendary city - and surprised all when he did. He actually caused great damage, and sacked the treasures, removing them to Germany. They were then confiscated by the Russians who have them still.
Anyway, the town was built between 5000BC and 100AD in nine levels. It was a hill with great ground water, and a good view of the Dardanelles. Ships would stop here and await favorable winds to move on the the Sea of Marmaris. It has a much more subtle charm as a ruin, and holds plenty of history and mystery.
On the way out, we stop at a shop owned by a seasoned guide (Mustafa Askin) who has written a book which he autographs for us. We drive to Cannukkale, and are staying at a hotel right on the waterfront. It's a lovely esplanade and we stroll it up to the mosque after dinner. Tomorrow, we are up at 6:30am for a trip the Gallipoli. Ataturk called the victory at Gallipoli the revenge for Troy.
For a look at the day's photos, click on: Turkey Wednesady May 21