ASSOS

Located 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.

The ancient upper city, which developed on the terraces on the rocky slopes of the hill, was defended by a 4C BC double fortification wall 3 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, bouleuterion and 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.

At 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.

Behramkale

Athena Temple

Athena Temple

Assos harbour

Assos harbour

Assos harbour


25 km away from Berhamkale is Cape Baba (Babakale) the most western point in Turkey.

To 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. Homer referred 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 great population exchange signed by the Turkish and Greek governments in 1923.
The Adatepe Olive Oil Museum is housed in an old soap factory building in Küçükkuyu.

Past 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