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Published: November 5th 2011
TROY! I get to see Troy! First, we left Izmer this morning and headed toward Pergamum, moving north along the Agean Sea.
Our guide told us the is a position for people who live in apartment complexes called a doorman, but not like the doorman we know. This person goes out to get stap,e groceries each week for you and is available for you to call with any request, like a craving for ice cream in the middle of the night, and they go get that for you. He told how his doorman knows his tour schedule and makes sure he gets up on time and has some dinner ready for him if his flight gets in late. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
He told us at businesses in Turkey don't have coffee breaks as we know them. There is a full time position at the company that is responsible for making tea and coffee and bringing it around to the employees.
Mentine, our guide, told us that everybody is covered by state insurance regardless if they work for the government or private business. They can purchase private insurance if they want as a supplement.
The employees portion is about 120-200 lira a month depending on their salary. That's about $120-200 a month but that also includes retirement as well as health. At retirement you get 80% of your salary for life plus a bonus based on years of service and education level. There are a few retirement homes but it is really frowned upon if you place a relative there.
He also told us thar one has to apply for welfare and prove their need and that there are so few homeless there are no statistics and the crime rate is very low.
Pergamum was a Hellenistic kingdom eventually captured by the Romans and finally destroyed by the Arabs, just like all the other historical site we've seen. The 2 main claims to fame for this city is the library with 150,000 scrolls, which was the second largest library in the ancient world behind Alexandria, and the development of parchment after the Egyptians cut off their supply of papyrus.
Pergamum is built on an acropolis, on the top of the hill, for protection. We had to ride a cable car up to the top and still had to climb a bit
to reach the actual site. They also built the steepest theater in the world, directly on the hillside. The elite of the city actually lived on the acropolis whi.e the lower classes had to live onthe hillside.
Another unique item to this site is that it had a mental hospital where they actually treated the ill, not just lock them up. They treated patients with musical therapy, physical therapy, gave them opium to help them sleep then would wake them up periodically to discuss and analyze their dreams. I think this is pretty impressive for the 2nd century.
For lunch we went to a restaurant owned by a friend of our guide to have "the best kabobs in Turkey". We could choose lamb, chicken or mixed beef and lamb. Both E and I ordered the mixed and it was the best kabob we've eaten so far. However we had to rush through lunch unexpectantly since our guide got a call that the gov't decided to close Troy on Sunday, a national holiday.
So we rushed out of restaurant as fast as we could and our driver started booking it down the road. Unfortunately, we got pulled over
by the police. Our guide told the officer a little story that we were headed to the airport and absolutely had to catch the plane so he only gave us a warning. So our driver booked it again and we made it to Troy an hour before they closed.
I've been looking forward to visiting this site for months. Of course our guide retold the story of Helen and Paris. While evidence has been found of a major battle around that time period, the general consensus is Homer was telli g a great story. That doesn't matter much to me. This place is so unique for archaeology with 7 distinct strata or layers of the different Troys that existed here, being destroyed and rebuilt on top of each other for more than 3500 years.
We saw the original walls from 13-1400 BCE, ruins of homes, the base of the Temple of Athena where you can see the Agean. We saw a wall section that dates back to 3000 BCE, from the 1st Troy. At 5000 years old, it is the oldest wall in Turkey. We saw Scliemann's Trench where the German first discovered Troy and a hoard of
gold items from the 1st Troy. The Homer Troy was the 6th Troy.
It was a great day for me but I think I'm the only one on the tour that was very excited about it. Oh well....
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