Thursday, August 7, 2008

Turkey - Day 4

Ruins of Troy & The Acropolis ...

Morning came too soon. Seems like sleep is never enough in tours. But once I get out of bed and think about the amazing places awaiting for the day, I just have to control myself from jumping up & down.

First stop of the day is Troy. Never has Troy been so famous until Brad Pitt flexed his muscles in Troy the movie. Along the way, we were entertained by the story of Troy and its legend. Here goes…

Once upon a time, in the times of the Greek God and Goddesses, Zeus, the King of Gods threw a massive party for the Gods and Goddesses. However, Zeus did not invite Indivia, God of Jealousy. So, Indivia sent down a golden apple. Written on the Golden apple is “To the most beautiful Goddess” This sent sparks of jealousy between all the Goddesses. Each of them thinks they deserve the apple as they are more beautiful than the other. The competition narrowed down to 3 Goddesses. Hera, Athena and Aphrodite . They made Zeus to be the judge of the contest. Zeus knew to be fair, he cannot judge the competition. So, he sent Paris, his half mortal son to judge the contest.

Hera aka wife of Zeus, the Goddess of Life promised him an eternal life if she is crowned. Athena, the Goddess of wisdom and warfare aka daughter of Zeus, promised him endless victories in his life if she shall be crowned as the winner. Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love promised Paris that she will give her the most beautiful woman on Earth to be his wife.

Guess what Paris chose? Aphrodite’s offer! Paris, Paris, what was he thinking.
So, Aphrodite won the contest. Now, it was known that the most beautiful woman on earth was Helen and she was also married to the King of Sparta. As Helen was brought to Troy, the King of Sparta was so outraged that it sparked the war between Sparta and Troy.

Then in comes the story of Achilles. The warrior during the war. Achilles was also one of Zeus’s half mortal son. He was the strongest warrior and no weapon can kill him. However, Achilles has a weak point- his heel. Where the famous Achilles’s heel we heard. He will die if a weapon struck his heel. How he got that heel, well, the story goes..When Achilles was born, Zeus held Achilles by the heel and dipped him into the holy water of immortality. Achilles turned semi mortal as the water of immortality covered him except his heel where Zeus held him down.
After the long battle, Troy emerged as the winner. Now, the legend goes that the God of the Underworld, Hades, Zeus’s brother was always jealous of Zeus.

At night when Troy was celebrating their victory, Hades, sent them a large wooden horse as a token of Victory. Unaware that hidden inside the wooden horse were an army of enemies they have yet to defeat. As the Troys celebrated and drink the night away, the enemy waited patiently inside. When the Troys got wasted and fell into slumber, off came out the enemy from the horse. Unprepared and caught in the middle of sleep, Troy was defeated and that night marks the end of the majestic empire.

Now, if you ask me how true was the story above? Myth of no myth, it’s up to the choice of the believer.

Ruins of Troy

Finally we arrived at Troy (above). The main attraction was just the horse of Troy. It looks too new to be the real horse from the legend of Troy. But what the heck? We all climbed into the horse. It was narrow and the steps are extremely steep. Not recommended for acrophobics as most of us got so excited to climb all the way up but were too scared to come down.

Troy was so much smaller than I thought. The site was totally ruined. Only rocks and stones are seen. There was a small theatre in the middle but basically, that’s all! If we wanted to walk from one end to the other of Troy, it will take only 5 minutes. Bayazid did gave us a heads up on the size and truly, it was really tiny! And this was the great city of Troy? Hmm…a bummer I should say.

After Troy, we moved to Acropolis of Pergamon (see below).

The Acropolis was located at the top of a mountain. As our bus approached Acropolis, I could see a part of the ancient world at the tip of the mountain. Our bus steadily climbed the steep mountain. It was sunny as we stepped out of the bus. Sunny but the wind is blowing strong.

We entered Acropolis. Acropolis appeared more intact than Troy. It is much larger as well. We walked upon the ruins as the magnificent structures came into sight. Some of the more prominent structures are the Temple of Artemis and the Theatre of Pergamon. The theatre was claimed to be one of the steepest theatre in the world and holds a capacity of 10,000. One look from the top of the theatre made all of us gave up our will to climb down to the theatre. It is indeed very, very steep and not to mention some risks to take if one decided to climb down those steep steps.

We descend down some stairs into a tunnel like pathway. Along the pathway, stone arches hovered on top of our head. The arches had a peculiar built with a longer stone jutting out in the middle of the arch. I came to know that this is the centre point of the arch which holds the arch together. Clearly this was a proven engineering as these arches still stayed strong and survived earthquakes throughout the centuries. These structure are not eye candy. They are actually built to level the entire city as Acropolis was built on a mountain terrain.

For those tall people out there, if you ever had a chance to visit the Acropolis of Pergamon, make sure you watch your head. As I got some bumps from some low arches!

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