Published: March 17th 2010March 14th 2010
We are now on a tour and travelling through Turkey. The group is nice, only 10 of us plus two tour leaders - 2 Canadians and 6 Aussies. Our first stop was Gallipoli. We were here last year for ANZAC day and the place had left a real impression on us. It was good to visit the area without 7000 New Zealanders and Australians. We visited the Kabatepe Museum which is only small but it contained some really interesting exhibits - uniforms, photos (including one where during a break in the fighting the Australian soldiers played a game of cricket and another of an Australian soldier giving water to an injured Turk), letters and other finds such as a foot that had been blown off by a grenade - still in the shoe and a jaw bone with the bullet still lodged.
The principal battles took place on the western shore near Anzac Cove. There are 35 cemeteries in Gallipoli and we only visited a few and the key memorial places of Lone Pine (Australia), Chunuk Biar (New Zealand) and the 57th Regiment cemetery (Turkey).
We then caught the ferry to Canakkale where we stayed the night before heading
to the ancient city of Troy. The ruins of ancient Troy, made famous by Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey dates back to 3000BC and was discovered by a German called Schliemann who assumed that the poetry of Homer was more than legend. He is criticised as being a treasure hunter with his interest in King Priam’s treasure. While he discovered four cities he apparently destroyed three in the process. The treasure disappeared during WWI and was rediscovered in Russia.
Excavations have revealed nine cities, built one on top of the other, dating from 3000 BC to BC-AD 500, named Troy I to Troy IX. In terms of the Trojan war the short story is…Paris, a Trojan prince (who had been sent away from the kingdom by his mother to avoid being killed by his father) steals Helen of Troy, renowned for her beauty, who is already married. Her father-in-law, and the King of Sparta launches the 10 year long war. While less romantic, the war probably commenced not out of passion and jealousy but more to the strong trade winds in the area that were key for trade up in the Dardanelles. In any event, the war dragged on, and
the Achaeans tricked the Trojans, and built a huge wooden horse which was wheeled into Troy. The soldiers hid inside the horse and in the night torched Troy and the rest of the Achaeans army who had been hiding, marched in. It could have actually been an earthquake that destroyed Troy. The site was really impressive, some of the ruins were 5000 years old.
There are more photos below