about 90 km south of Çanakkale,
Assos is a lovely tiny fishing harbour and holiday
resort very popular among
Turkish people because of its preserved natural
appearance and rustic charm.
The ruins of ancient Assos lie within the village
of Behramkale on a hill offering scenic views
of the Biga Peninsula, Edremit Gulf and the nearby
Greek island of Lesbos (in Turkish Midilli Adasi)
and also unforgettable sunsets.
Assos has been inhabited since the Early Bronze Age however
it is not known who were the first settlers. According
to Homer's accounts,
the southern shores of Troad
were inhabited by Lelegians and Mysians and Pedasos
might have been the name of a former city from which
Assos is derived. According to Strabo, and what
is known for sure is that the Aeolians from the
city of Methymna on the island of Lesbos (Mytilene)
settled in Assos in the 7th century BC. Assos was
a rich and most powerful city when it was captured
by the Lydians
in ca. 560 BC, remaining under their sovereignty
until 479 BC. The city came under Persian
hegemony from 546 BC but participated in the formation
of the Delian League
in 478 BC against the Persians. From the Persian
wars to about 350 BC Assos enjoyed at least
partial independence. It was about 348 BC that Aristotle,
Plato's most famous student, spent three years at
Assos at the head of a philosophical
school. He was invited by the eunuch Hermeias,
one of Plato's students who killed his former master
Eubolos, succeeding him as tyrant of Assos. Aristotle
left for Lesbos when Hermeias was taken prisoner
by the Persians who later killed him. Thus Assos
and other cities passed into the hands of the Persians
again. In 334 BC, with Alexander
the Great's victory over the Persians at the
Battle of Granikos (Granicus) by the Granikos Stream
in Mysia, Troad and Mysia were liberated but at
the same time came under his generals-successors'
hegemony. During a short period, the region fell
to the hands of the Galatians
who were defeated by the king of Pergamon Attalos
I. Assos thus came under the rule of the Kingdom
of Pergamon and later of the Roman
Empire. During the Byzantine
period, Assos was one of the first cities in Western
Anatolia to accept Christianity
and became a bishopric. This could be considered
as the result of St.
Paul's (he came on foot from Alexandria
Troas and set sail from the harbor of Assos
to the neighboring Island of Mytilene) and St. Lucas'
visit to the city. Assos came to be known as Makhram
from which the name Berhamkale is derived. From
the 11th century, in turn the city suffered the
attacks of the Seljuks,
the Byzantines and the Latins.
The latter largely destroyed the city. Finally,
Assos became an Ottoman
possession under the reign of Murat
I in the second half of the 14th century.
ancient upper city, which developed on the terraces
on the rocky slopes of the hill, was defended by
a 4C BC double fortification wall3 km/1.9
miles long. Just outside the main western gate,
which can be reached by a broad stone paved road,
lie the main necropolis (a second one is at the
eastern gate) and a Byzantine church. Within the
walls, the ruins of a 2 BC gymnasium
(perhaps in place of an older one at which Aristotle
had lectured for three years), Hellenistic agora,
small agora temple converted
into a church after the 5th century, stoas,
a late Hellenistic
theatre can be seen... The Temple of Athena,
erected circa 530 BC on the highest spot of the
acropolis, overlooks the sea at a heigth of 238m
/780ft. The temple, constructed of andesite stone
blocks, was originally in the Doric
order as shown by its surviving
columns. It measures 14x30m/ 46x99ft and
had 6 by 13 columns.
The mosque, the fortress and the bridge over the
Tuzla stream were all built in the 14th century
under the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Murat I.
the harbour, the wharf is lined with old Ottoman
warehouses converted into boutique hotels and restaurants
with waterside tables serving delicious fish.
The Assos International Art Festival is held every
year in September.
km away from Berhamkale is Cape Baba (Babakale)
the most western point in Turkey.
the east of Berhamkale, a scenic road through
olive groves rising one above the other
and above the sea, reaches the village of
Adatepe. Anatolia's best olives have
been cultivated in this region of northern
Aegean for centuries. Cold pressed olive
oil obtained from these olives is one
of the finest kind.
to it as "liquid gold", and it
has been used for cooking, medicinal and
cosmetic purposes ever since.Olives
from Ayvalik are judged to be the best in
Turkey. However Flower of Olive
olive oil, produced in Adatepe by Huseyin Meral, has the particularity to be the only
olive oil in Turkey obtained from stone
ground olives without using any pressure
at all. This rustic method of extraction
gives the oil unmatched nutritious qualities
and is superior to extra virgin olive oil.
Adatepe is a lovely mountain village amidst
pine and olive trees on the skirts of the
kazdagi, Mount Ida
of Antiquity. Its
beautifully restored old
traditional stone houses with typical
architecture reflect the times when Turks
and Greeks coexisted happily in this village.
The Greeks emigrated to Greece under the
by the Turkish and Greek governments in
The Adatepe Olive Oil Museum is housed
in an old soap factory building in Küçükkuyu.
the village cemetary in Adatepe, a path
leads to the hill where the Altar of
Zeus also known as Zeus's cavern is
located, offers a fine panorama over the
village and the gulf of Edremit.
Views over the Gulf of Edremit and the village of Adatepe from the Altar of Zeus