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why hisarlik?

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 WHY HISARLIK?

Many visitors wonder why Hisarlık Hill was chosen by the Trojans to build their city.

First of all, prehistoric men always preferred to built settlements on hill tops. It is obvious that ease of defence is the main reason for this. Not only this, there are other factors for Hisarlık for being chosen as a place for building a city. For example, Hisarlık is a hill dominating a fertile plain. Besides farming and animal breeding, it was very convenient place for hunting. The swamp down on the plain was a heaven for hunters till the swamp was drained, only half a century ago.

On the other hand the topography of Troy was very different from today. "Paleo-geography", the geography of the past, is a new science which is widely used today in archaeology. It is sort of mixture of geology and geography, in other words the knowledge which is gained through geological researches is applied to georaphy. As a result of paleogeographic studies it is possible to make maps of river deltas or sea shores as the were centuries ago. Historical events or ancient civilisations are interpreted once again with the help of these maps.

John C. Kraft, head of the Geology department of Delaware University and Prof. Ilhan Kayan and Oğuz Erol from Ankara University made some paleogeographic studies around Troy. According to these scientists, 5000 years ago, that is, during Troy I. the sea came up to Troy, but later the two rivers silted up the plain. This shallow sea port at the entrance to the Dardanelles was therefore at that time an ideal place for fishing.

All these factors explain why this spot was chosen. As well as this, settlements in Anatolia first began being fortified after 3000 B.C. Troy I was one of the first cities in Anatolia to be fortified. This is another indication of the importance of Hisarlık hill. Later, with the development of international trade, the importance of Troy at the mouth of the Dardanelles increased. Because of its strategic position on this waterway it was occupied for more than 3500 years and destroyed and rebuilt nine times.

 

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