Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, in northwest Turkey, south of the southwest end of the Dardanelles / Hellespont and northwest of Mount Ida. It is best known for being the setting of the Trojan War described in the Greek Epic Cycle and especially in the Iliad, one of the two epic poems attributed to Homer.
The story has it that the Greeks besieged Troy after Helen, the wife of the Menelaus, the King of Sparta, was taken by Paris of Troy. Historical accounts suggest the reason for the Trojan War was a bitter commercial rivalry between the people of Troy and the Mycenaeans.
Troy was the subject of Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid, in which the Greeks laid the famous “Trojan Horse” trap for the people of Troy. The Greeks, pretending to have left Troy during the Trojan War, placed a wooden horse at the gates of the city as a purported trophy of the Trojans’ victory. In fact, Greek soldiers were hiding inside the horse and, once taken in by the Trojans, proceeded to destroy the city and claim victory. The archaeological site of Troy has an obligatory replica of a Trojan horse for visitors.
The vast ruins now found at Troy lay witness to thousands of years of history, with the oldest section dating back to the late fourth millennium BC. Over the millennia, Troy became a bustling commercial hub, particularly from 1700 BC. However, a combination of natural disasters, invasions and occupations led to the city being rebuilt numerous times. Each part of the site is numbered, correlating to a specific period of time. The famous walls of Troy, which played such an important role on the Trojan War, some of which remain, can be seen in the VII section.
It is said that Alexander the Great visited Troy in 334BC, at the start of his campaign against the Persians. The Macedonian leader is believed to have paid his respects at the Tomb of Achilles.
The archaeological site of Troy, being a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a fascinating place and a top tourist attraction in Turkey.