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Assos (Άσσος)
Ruins of the Temple of Athena

Assos (Greek: Άσσος), also known as Behramkale or for short Behram, is a small historically rich town in Çanakkale Province, Turkey. Aristotle lived here and opened an Academy. The city was also visited by St. Paul. Today Assos is a Aegean-coast seaside retreat amid ancient ruins.



Though officially named Behramkale (pronounced [beh'ramkale]), most people still call the town by its ancient name of Assos. The town is on the Biga Peninsula, although the peninsula is known by its ancient name, Troad. The town itself is on the Adramyttian Gulf (Turkish: Edremit Körfezi).[1]

It is possible to see much of the surrounding area from the top of a Trachyte Crag. From this temple, it was possible to see Lesbos in the south, Pergamum in the southeast, and Mount Ida of Phrygia in the east. To the north, the Tuzla River flows. To the northwest, there is the gate to the city of two massive Hellenic columns that still exist today.[1]

Assos had a harbor, which was the only good harbor on the 80 kilometres (50 miles) of the north coast of the Adramyttian Gulf. This made Assos a key shipping station through the Troad.[1]


Athena Temple at sunset
The Ancient Theatre of Assos

The city was founded from 900-1000 BC by Aeolian colonists from Lesbos, who specifically are said to have come from Methymna. The settlers built a Doric Temple to Athena on top of the crag in 530 BC.[2] From this temple Hermias of Atarneus, a student of Plato, ruled Assos, the Troad and Lesbos for a period of time, under which the city experienced its greatest prosperity. (Strangely, Hermias was actually the slave of the ruler of Atarneus.[1]) Under his rule, he encouraged philosophers to move to the city. As part of this, in 348 BC Aristotle came here and married King Hermeias's niece, Pythia, before leaving to Lesbos three years later in 345 BC. This 'golden period' of Assos ended several years later when the Persians arrived, and subsequently tortured Hermias to death.[2]

The Persians were driven out by Alexander the Great in 334 BC. Between 241 and 133 BC, the city was ruled by the Kings of Pergamon. However, in 133 BC, the Pergamons lost control of the city as it was absorbed by the Roman empire.[1]

St. Paul also visited the city during his third missionary journey through Asia Minor, which was between 53-57 AD, on his way to Lesbos. From this period onwards, Assos shrunk to a small village, as it has remained ever since. Ruins around Assos continue to be excavated.[2]

The pillars from the ancient port lay in the harbor for over a millennia. Eventually they were probably sold.

In the early 1900s an attempt was made to move the contents of the Temple of Athena. Much of the art has been moved to museums like the Louvre.[1] The art found includes pictures both of mythical creatures and heraldic events.

Present day

Many of the old buildings of Assos are in ruins today, but Behramkale (the city's modern name) is still active. It still serves as a port for Troad. Temple ruins remain.

Down the steep seaward side of the hill at the water's edge is the hamlet called Iskele (meaning Dock or Wharf), with old stone houses now serving as inns, pensions and restaurants. There is a small pebbly beach. There are boat tours and tours of the hamlet itself. Although the one lane road to the hamlet is steep with sheer drops, the sea front has a constant stream of cars and minibuses arriving from dawn to dusk.

Sculpted architrave from the temple of Athena in Assos, Louvre

Notes and references

External links

Coordinates: 39°29′26″N 26°20′12″E / 39.49056°N 26.33667°E / 39.49056; 26.33667


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Temple to Athena overlooking the Aegean
Temple to Athena overlooking the Aegean

Assos, also known as Behramkale (or, rarely, as Behram, as it appears on some old maps), is a village in northern Aegean Region, Turkey. It’s located on the northern coast of Gulf of Edremit, across the northern coast of the Greek island of Lesvos.


This is a village that is consisted of two parts: the ‘real’ village on the top of a hill overlooking the sea, and a coastal part right down by the shore (which was the harbour of the village in the past). Both parts are equally old and full of stone buildings with traditional Mediterranean architecture.

The village lived as Behramkale for centuries, and with the advance of tourism in the 20th century, its ancient name of Assos returned back to the surface. Today, highway signs and the like always refer to the village as both (such as Behramkale-Assos), but travelling industry almost always refer to it as Assos only.

The village was an important centre in ancient times. It had then a philosophy academy run by the famous philosophers Aristotales and Hermaios, a student of Platon.

Get in

By bus

Frequent public buses run by Küçükkuyu Town Council (Küçükkuyu Belediyesi) take pessengers from Küçükkuyu (about 20 km to east) to Assos and cost around 3-4 TL/person. There are also minibuses from Ayvacik to the north.

By car

The village is connected to the main Canakkale-Izmir highway (numbered D550/E87) by a 20-kilometre-long, narrow but tarmac road. This secondary road joins D550/E87 near the town of Ayvacik (not to be confused with Ayvalik, which is a couple of hundred kilometres down south). Total distance from Canakkale in the north is about 100 km.

There is also another secondary road joining D550/E87 near Altinoluk in the east. This road is recommended for travellers from more southern locations such as Izmir as it shortcuts the mountain pass on the road north to Ayvacik.

It's also possible to arrive from Gürpınar in the west, which you can get to by following the coastal road south of Canakkale (turn right to the direction of Bozcaada about 30 km south of Canakkale).

Get around

The upper and lower parts of the village is connected to each other by a steep road which can be taken in about 20 minutes on foot. Alternatively, you can take Küçükkuyu Belediyesi public buses from the stop at the entrance of the old town (next to the statue of Aristotales) to the waterfront - their last stop.

  • Old town. Old part of the town with its grey/granite stone houses and cobbled steep alleys.  edit
  • Temple to Athena (Athena Tapınağı), (on the top of the hill over the old town). This is the major attraction of the village. It dates back to the 6th century BC and has the first ever Doric columns (still standing) built on Asian soil. A splendid place to watch the sun setting in the Aegean Sea. 5 TL/person. No student discounts.  edit
  • Old bridge, (next to the road north to Ayvacik, about 10 min on foot from old town). An old bridge dating back to Ottoman times.  edit
  • You may attend philosophy classes taking place in the village every summer. They choose a different major subject to think and speak about every summer.
  • The sea there is unbelievably clean, so swimming is also a good idea.


There are no supermarkets nor any ATMs in town. Only one of the grocery stores accept credit cards, the one located in the outskirt of the village, on the junction of the roads leading to west (Gürpınar), north (Ayvacık), and east (Küçükkuyu). Some fresh fruits/vegetables in addition to snacks, water, and drinks (alchoholic and soft alike) can be found there.

On the alleys of old town, villagers sell local produce such as thyme freshly picked from mountains around or castile soap at stalls.


There are open-air fish restaurants on the shore.


Most guesthouses (pansiyon) are located on the upper part of the village, while most hotels are located on the lower part.


Telephone code of the village is (+90) 286.

  • Babakale, some 20 km to the west, on the edge of the peninsula, is a village known for its well-preserved citadel which sits on a cape that is exactly the westernmost point of Asian mainland.
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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

a sea-port town of Proconsular Asia, in the district of Mysia, on the north shore of the Gulf of Adramyttium. Paul came hither on foot along the Roman road from Troas (Acts 20:13, 14), a distance of 20 miles. It was about 30 miles distant from Troas by sea. The island of Lesbos lay opposite it, about 7 miles distant.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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