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Alexandria Troas

Alexandria Troas is an ancient city located south of Canakkale province on the Aegean Sea. It was one of the major sea ports in the Aegean connecting trade routes in Asia Minor to Neapolis in Macedonia by sea lines and then to Rome by road. The city was founded in 310 BC and its original name was Antigonia Troas, named by Antigonus, but then it was changed into Alexandria Troas by Lysimachus and dedicated to Alexander the Great.

During the Roman period, especially under the reign of Cesar and then Augustus, the city lived its heydays thanks to its busy port. In the 1st century BC Augustus built a colony of Roman soldiers at this site thus making it a Roman metropolis, during which period it was called as Colonia Alexandria Augusta Troas. The city was surrounded by a 8-9 km long wall and equipped with a fine aqueduct carrying water from Ida mountain. During the Byzantine period emperor Constantine considered making Alexandria Troas as the capital of the Roman Empire, but later on the city lost its importance and abandoned with the coming of the Ottomans.

Alexandria Troas is an important site for the history of Christianity, it was mentioned several times in the Bible. In the 1st century AD Saint Paul passed some time in Troas during his second missionary journey where he had a vision of a man calling him to Macedonia to help them (Acts 16.9), so he sailed to Europe (Acts, 16:8 - 11) where he first preached. Also, in Troas Luke joined Paul and they continued their mission. On his third missionary journey Saint Paul had a long preach during which Eutychus fell down from the third floor of the building (Acts 20:6 - 10). There are other biblical references to Troas in 2 Cor 2:12 and 2 Tim 4:13. Alexandria Troas remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.

When you enter the ancient site today you can clearly see traces of the city walls which were fortified with towers, some sections are well preserved. One of the major entrances to the city was the Eastern gate, known as Neandria gate, which was built in the 3rd century BC. It has a circular atrium (20 meters in diameter) with towers on both sides.

There are remains of a bath and a gymnasium. The baths were built in the 2nd century AD and its dimensions are 123 x 84 meters. It was badly damaged by earthquakes. The aqueduct was built by emperor Trajan. The harbour is fully silted today.

On the highest point of the site you can see the Hellenistic theater, which offered spectators a great view of the city as well as of the ancient Neandria city to the east, Lesvos island to the south, Tenedos (modern Bozcaada) island to the west and Dardanelles strait to the north. To the northwest of the theater you can notice a square building which could be a palace connected to the street with a corridor. Its function is still unknown today.

There are several remains of public buildings towards the west of the old city center. During the latest excavations they discovered an old temple which was built by the Roman emperor Augustus. The base is made of cut stones from hellenistic period. Colored marble fragments, friezes and statue pieces including a Dionysos head were also recovered during the excavations, showing us the richness of the city.

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