Assos: City of Philosophy

Would you like to visit a city where Aristotales founded a school of philosophy, where he married and had children? What if there are magnificent bays around this city where you can swim? What if this city is very close to the ancient city of Troy?

Assos is an ancient city within the borders of Ayvacık district, 87 km south of Çanakkale. Today’s name is Behramkale. Assos, which has been a settlement since ancient times, is the name of the region extending from Babakale, which is the westernmost point of the Asian continent, to Küçükkuyu.

Location of Assos

History of Assos

It is not known exactly who first settled in Assos; however, it is possible to go back to the Bronze Age from the finds recovered in Acropolis of Assos. The first excavations at the Acropolis yielded fragments of pottery and stone axes dating to the Bronze Age. During the excavations in the Acropolis, an arrowhead made of flintstone showing that the first settlement began in the second millennium BC. was found. Archaeological data indicate that the city had been inhabited uninterruptedly since the EBA.

The data obtained from the researches and excavations proved that Assos was inhabited from the beginning of 7th century BC.

Assos, which was founded in the 7th century BC, came under the sovereignty of the Lydians between 560-549 BC and after the Persians after 546 BC. Upon the defeat of the Phrygian Satrab Ariobarzanes to the Persian King Artaxerxes in the battle of Assos in 365 BC, Assos was later led by Banker Euboulos. In 334 BC, Alexander defeated the Persians and became the ruler of Anatolia.

Assos was ruled by the Kings of Pergamon, between 241 and 133 BC. When Attalos III, the king of Pergamum left his lands to Rome, Assos came under Roman rule. After 395, Assos was under Byzantine rule. The city was later dominated by the  Ottoman Empire.

Aristotle’s Philosophy School in Assos

Aristotle, considered one of the greatest philosophers in the world, lived in Assos between 347-344 BC. Aristotle spent one of the most important stages of his life, married and had children there.

According to legend, Hermias King Hermias invited his classmate Aristotle to the city. During this visit, Aristotle fell in love with Hermias’ beautiful sister Pythias and could not forget her even after leaving the city. Hermias, who learned this, says that Aristotle would allow her to marry her sister, provided that he established a philosophy school in Assos. Aristotle, who accepted this requirement, established a philosophy school in Assos and taught philosophy for three years between 347 and 344 BC.

Assos is where Aristotales taught at gymnaseiori (high school) and began writing his famous work, Politic.

Behramkale Köyü

In the important part of the hill where the ancient city is located, there is the village of Behramkale, which is intertwined with the ancient city. The village, which consists of houses made of red andesite stone which is completely unique to the region, is the most suitable place to start your Assos tour.

Building in the City

The ancient city of Assos was founded on a volcano cone, so the town had a terraced structure extending from land to sea to protect the town from pirates. Today the village is located in the north.

The city is surrounded by walls with a length of 3200 meters and a height of 20 meters.

The terraced structure of the city can be seen clearly from the restitution work below.

Representation of Assos
Representation of Assos

Assos, which has two entrances, east and west, consists of two parts with its harbor and city surrounded by walls. Although it is a port city, Assos is located about 240 meters above sea level.

Buildings in Assos

The Acropolis of Assos and The Temple of Athena

The Temple of Athena is located at the sea-facing point of the Acropolis. The Athena Temple was built in the Archaic Age in Anatolia in 525 BC and dedicated to the Goddess of Athena. The temple was built in dor style. The Temple of Athena is the only temple built in Doric style in Anatolia during the Archaic Age. 

Athena Temple in Assos

Today, apart from the few pillars and the floor pedestal, there is not much left of the temple.

Athena Temple in Assos
Athena Temple in Assos

But you can enjoy the magnificent view of the island of Lesbos and the Aegean Sea from the location of the temple.

In the northern corner of the acropolis, there is a single-domed mosque built by the Ottoman Sultan Murat I in the 14th century.

The second temple which was found is Byzantine basilica belonging to the 4th century.

Bouleuterion (Council House)

The findings obtained during the sounding carried out in the interior of Bouleuterion are dated to the sixth-fourth centuries before Christ. Thus, the data in the plan, building inscription and foundation sounding revealed that Assos bouleuterion was built in the last quarter of the 4th century BC. This proves that the earliest assembly building in Anatolia is in Assos.

Amphitheatre

Amphitheatre of Assos

The Western Necropolis (The Cemetery)

The necropolis is derived from the words “necro” (dead) and “police” (city). The necropolis of Assos belongs to the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The tombs and monuments are lined along the road connecting the western and eastern gates of the necropolis. Findings from the western necropolis indicate that the tombs continued uninterrupted from the Archaic Age to the Hellenistic Period (2nd century BC).

The Western Necropolis of Assos

In the cemetery, the oldest treasures are pots which the body’s ashes in them and they are closed and then buried. Afterward deceased is imposed ın a greater earthenware jar like a fetus and it is closed with stone in order to he or she can not come back again according to their belief. If a man has died, his wife veils in order not to recognize her by him.

The tombs belonging to the next period had been robbed by treasure hunters in the past. However, bones and death presents have been found at the bottom of the tombs. The most valuable founding is a women orchestra sculpture that was made by terra-cotta belonging to 4 BC.

The Assos Port

The ancient harbor of Assos is a pretty small but charming place. The port is most preferred for accommodation, dining and beach services. You can swim from the wooden pier at Assos Harbor, whose beach is made of big stones and the seawater is almost always cool.

Assos Port
Assos Port

The Agora

The northern stoa is two-folded; the southern stoa is four-folded and in the center, there is a small temple belonging to the 6th century which is devoted to Goddess of Athena. Homer writes these words into Zeus-King of Gods mouth ın Iliad.

The ancient city of Gargara is an antecedent of modern Küçükkuyu. Küçükkuyu is a sea town with large and small accommodation facilities. It is a settlement with its beaches, clean sea, abundant, olive trees, pines, a flora, and a fauna.

Accommodation in Assos

In Assos, many boutique hotels were built with the restoration of old acorn stores.

İda Costa Hotel – T: 0286 764 00 10 
Ottoman Bridge Hotel – T: 0286 721 71 40
Assoyal Otel – T: 0286 721 70 46 
Club Beyaz Camping – Karavan – Restaurant T: 0286 721 73 91
Sunset Hotel – T: 0286 721 71 71 

Places to Go to the Sea in Assos

Kadırga (Galley) Bay

About 2 km. Kadırga Bay, which is located on the south side, is one of the preferred places for accommodation and sea in Assos. Kadırga Bay, which has a long, clean and stony beach, has a clean sea. It is one of the most visited places with hotel options for all budgets, campsites and restaurants along the coast.

Sivrice Bay

Sivrice Bay is reached by passing through the Bektas Village on the way from Assos to Babakale. The hostels and seafood restaurants in the bay offer accommodation and food at an affordable price.

Sivrice Bay has a relatively narrow and stony beach. Therefore, wooden piers have been built in front of each facility in order to easily enter the sea.

Sokakagzi Bay

Along the coast of Sokakağzı, there are hotels, pensions, restaurants and camping areas. It has a larger, sandy beach compared to Sivrice Bay.

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