It was the capital city of the Phrygians, the Hittites’ successors in Anatolia in 1200 BC. Gordion came to its prime in the 8th century BC, under Gordios and Midas. An oracle had prophesied that whoever undid the Gordion Knot would conquer all Asia: in 333 BC Alexander the Great severed it with his sword. On the acropolis mound you can see foundations of Phrygian houses called megarons, while over 100 burial mounds spread across the surrounding plains which are called Phrygian Valleys. The coal miners helped excavate the burial chamber of the largest, the Great Tumulus. Reconstructed in Ankara’s Museum of Anatolian Civilizations with its grave findings, it may have belonged to King Midas or King Gordios.
All artifacts are laid out in chronological sequence, these almost exclusively pre-classical finds. Neolithic man is represented in wall red paintings and Rubenesque mother goddess figurines in baked clay found at Catalhoyuk, near Konya. The Bronze Age section has famous Hatti bronze stag statuettes and gorgeous gold ear plugs, goblets and headbands found in the royal graves at Alacahoyuk. In the Assyrian Trading Colony section look for cuneiform tablets found at Kultepe, near Kayseri. The Old Hittite gallery’s highlights are the ceremonial bulls with grumpy faces from Hattusas. Many Phrygian artifacts are brought from Gordion. The most miraculously preserved Phrygian art work is an ornate wooden table. Numerous reliefs and monumental lion and sphinx statues in the central hall are displayed, all found in Alacahoyuk and Hattusas.
The ancient Troy was discovered by an amateur German archaeologist and Homer fanatic, Heinrich Schliemann, in 1871. The diggers have found nine Troys on the top of the each other. The oldest layer remains were from an Early Bronze Age settlement (3000-2500BC). During the Hellenistic and Roman ages, Troy became a metropolis between 334BC and 400AD known as Ilium Novum. Schliemann found a cache of jewelry known as Priam’s Treasure. Now, this treasure is in Moscow. Troy and the Trojan War were explained well in the Homer’s IIiad.
These were the scenes for some of World War I’s most ferocious fightings. In an attempt to seize the Dardanelles, the Allies hoped to capture Istanbul thereby creating a maritime supply route to Russia and opening up a second front against the Germans. But the Gallipoli assault, involving New Zealand, French and Australian forces, begun in 1915 and followed by nine months of trench warfares, was a disastrous failure. There were around 250,000 casualties on both the Allied and Ottoman Turkish sides.
Across Turkey, this city is well known for the oil-wrestling competitions and the superb Ottoman mosques. The Ottomans renamed Byzantine Adrianople to Edirne, after capturing it in 1361. It served as their capital for 91 years, and as the base for their conquest of the Constantinople. The following sights are Edirne’s top tourist attractions: the famous architect Sinan’s Selimiye Mosque, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, the Eski Mosque, the old Bazaar, the Three-balconied Mosque, the bustling Semiz Ali Pasa Bazaar and the 100-domed Ottoman health complex Beyazit which is located in the northwest of the city center.
The ancient settlers came here across the Greek island of Lesbos in the 7th century BC. The ruins here are the massive Hellenistic city fortifications and Asia Minor’s oldest surviving earlier Doric temple which is built for Athena. The Assos’ heyday was around the 4th century BC. One time, Assos became home to Aristotle.