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Alexandria Troas

Paul- It is mysteriosly exciting to have our summers spent in our vacation home on Tavakli (Larisa) beach. The wind, the sea, the mountains, Hill of Sakar, Holy Oaks, Kestanbolu Thermal Springs and , of course, Troas make this place unique in the world. It will take only minutes to take you in. The place will wrap you with this holy and remote ambience.

Troas is an Hellenistic and Roman ancient city located inAlexandria-Troas Northwestern part of Turkey (Troad).  It is very close to Dalyan, a village of Ezine (Neandria), Canakkale. The site was established about 11 miles from the historic city of Troy (Illium). This site was first called Sigeia.  Around 306 BC, Antigonus re-founded the city as Antigonia Troas by settling the people of five other towns in Sigeia, including the once influential city of  Neandria. Its name was changed by Lysimachus to Alexandria Troas, in memory of Alexander the Great of Macedon.

Modern archaeological research has confirmed a defensive wall system of 8 km length with 44 towers that enclosed an urban area of around 1,000 acres, or 400 hectars, with an estimated population of 100,000.

Remains of an ancient bath, gymnasium complex and an aqueduct can be traced within this area.  Currently, German archaeologists  are digging and surveying at the site. Their excavation has uncovered the remains of a large stadium dating to about 100 BC.

In 14th century the city was settled by Karasids (Karasiogullari) Turkmens and then controlled by Ottoman Empire after the beylik was conquered in 1336.

As the chief port of north-west Asia Minor, the place prospered greatly in Roman times, and even Constantine considered making Troas the capital of the Roman Empire. Roman sentiment attracted him to Troas, the alleged seat whence Aeueas, the fabled progenitor of Rome’s founder, originally migrated.This may be the reason why Turks call the place as “Old Istanbul”.

In Roman times, it was a significant port for travelling between Anatolia and Europe. Paul the Apostle sailed for Europe for the first time from Alexandria Troas and returned there from Europe (it was there that the episode of the raising of Eutychus later occurred). Ignatius of Antioch (Antakya) also paused at this city before continuing to his martyrdom at Rome.

The site of Troas has been looted over the centuries so that hardly a stone is left above ground, but beginning in the 1760’s scholars described the city walls and remaining buildings in a state before the last removals to build Istanbul. For example, Mehmed IV took columns to adorn his  Yeni Valide Mosque in Istanbul.

The site’s mystery reveals especially around Paul the Apostle. Paul, also known as Paul of Tarsus, is the most influential early Christian missionary  as a prominent apostle of Christianity spreading the Gospel through early Christian communities across the Roman Empire. For this purpose, Paul made 3 journeys in his life time, covering big part of Anotolia, Greece and Jerusalem. His second and third journey include travels to and from Troas.

According to the writings of the Bible (New Testament), during his second journey, when Paul arrived Troas, he had his famous vision. In his dream, he had a man from Macedonia beseeching to come over to Macedonia to help them. He passed to Samothrace (Semadirek Adasi) then arrived to Neapolis (Kavala) and Philippi.

Another mystery is about the roads Paul used to arrive Troas from Anatolia. It is mentioned obvious  to see how he arrived current central Anotolia, Galatia from Jerusalem. However the road taken by Paul from Galatia to Troas is still a mystery since there is neither a current plausible road nor a trace of it.

Professor Robert Jewett outlined a  project named “Troas Project” intended to verify the plausibility of Paul’s journeys. The troas project will investigate the transportation network around Alexandria Troas in order to clarify why the port was built at this particular point on the west coast of Troad before Dardanelles/Hellespont and whether the travels of Paul could be replicated via a replica of Roman trade vessel to be built for this purpose. His report is very interesting and takes us back to the times of Paul on the roads of Roman Empire. It can be found at www.philipharland.com/travel/TravelJewettTroas.pdf

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