Home Travel and Places A Heritage of Thousands of Years: Assos

A Heritage of Thousands of Years: Assos

Harbor of Assos
Harbor of Assos

Asos is one of the most remarkable places to see in Turkey. If you want to taste freedom and be fascinated by the Aegean Sea and Gulf of Edremit, you must spend a couple of days in Assos.

Assos-Behramkale old town with its grey/granite stone houses and cobbled steep alleys
Assos-Behramkale old town with its grey/granite stone houses and cobbled steep alleys

A Brief Summary of Assos City

Assos was first settled during the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age cities Assuwa, mentioned in the Hittite texts, and Pedasos, mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, are both set to be equal to Assos. According to antique sources, Methymnians from the island of Lesbos founded the Greek city of Assos in the 7th century BC. In 6th century BC, Assos was among the western Greek states which became subject to Lydia. After the destruction of the Lydian Kingdom by the Persian King Cyrus II, it was incorporated into the Persian Empire. In 5th century BC, it became a member of the Athenian Confederacy but presumably reverted to Persian control in early 4th century BC.

Columns of Temple of Athens extend along sky
Columns of the Temple of Athens extend along the sky

Assos hosted so many civilisations throughout history. Ancient Greek cities, Persian Empire, Reign of Alexander the Great and finally Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empire ruled the city, which archaeological excavations have been still showing that the value of Assos. The village was also an important centre in ancient times because of a philosophy academy run by the famous philosophers Aristotales and Hermaios, a student of Platon.

Where is Assos City?

Assos, also known as Behramkale, is also known as Behram due to it appears as Behram on some ancient maps. Assos is a village in northern Aegon Region, Turkey. The city is the district of Ayvacık, Çanakkale, 90 km away from the city centre of Çanakkale. It’s located on the northern coast of Gulf of Edremit, just opposite the northern coast of the Greek island of Lesvos (known as Midilli in Turkish).

Assos and its blue and turquoise sea
Assos and its blue and turquoise sea

Assos Where The Story of Human Begins

Assos, the ancient city where the story begins, is one of the oldest settlements of the world. There are so many ancient and historical structures to see and discover around Assos. It can be named Old Town, Harbour of Assos, Amphiteather (archaeological site of Assos), 4000 thousands-year-old Ancient City walls, tombs, Temple of Athens, Murat Hüdavendigar Mosque (which was built by the ruin of Ottoman Empire in the 14th century) at first.

Must-See Places of Assos

  • Old Town

If we separate Assos city into two parts, Old Town would be the first one. Old Town is the village where people live and called Behram or Behramkale. It is on the top of a steep hill, rising nearly 234 metre above sea level, and commands panoramic vistas northward over the fertile valley of the River Tuzla (ancient Satnioeis), westward along the southern coastline of the Troad and the Aegean Sea, eastward up the Gulf of Adramyttion (Edremit Körfezi) and Mount Ida, and southward across the straits of Mytilene to the island of Lesbos.

Assos-Behramkale Village with its grey/granite stone houses and cobbled steep alleys
Assos-Behramkale Village with its grey/granite stone houses and cobbled steep alleys

  • Harbour of Assos

When you visit Assos, the harbour will/must be the first place you will see. Since the Ottoman Empire, it was used as a harbour, but nowadays it has been using for tourism and lives on with farming. In many cosy and alternative cafes, you can enjoy the view of the turquoise colour of the sea and rest while drinking your tea.

Assos, Harbor
Assos, Harbour

  • Archaeological Site of Assos

The first archaeological excavations were made by the end of the 19th century. Although many historical ruins (columns, sculptures, pieces of Temple of Athens) have been taken to America (Boston Museum) and France (Louvre Museum, Paris), it is still magnificent with Temple, tombs, amphitheatre and undoubtedly amazing panorama of like-endless Aegean Sea. According to mythology, Athens, daughter of Zeus and one of 12 Olympos gods, used to watch the world from her house in this Ancient City.

Assos Amphither
Assos Amphitheatre

There are two doors to the archaeological site in order to visit. The North Wall is the most used one. You can reach it by passing through the village. Another door is the old one which you see on the left while going down to the harbour.

Summer Period:

  • 1 April/31 October

Opening Hours: 08.30 a.m

Closing Hours: 19.00 p.m

Winter Period:

  • 31 October/1 April

Opening Hours: 08.30 a.m

Closing Hours: 17.30 p.m

The Archaeological Site, where the entrance fee is 15 TL, does not force you to leave the site at closing hours. So you can wait to watch the sundown, at the last point of the Asian continent.

Delicious foods and drinks in Assos
Delicious foods and drinks in Assos

What To Eat and Drink in Assos

Different than other famous Aegean and Mediterranean cuisine, Assos doesn’t seem to offer so much at first. Aside from all the rumours, you will definitely be surprised once you taste delicious fishes and octopuses of the wonderful sea of Assos. You should also order mussels to your table every night. You will never regret it!

Having ice-cream on the hot weathers is always a good idea. No matter what their brand, it is a refreshing option. Do not pass the chance of having famous Assos ice-cream.

For beverage, SAND COFFEE and wine are good choices. Red and white wines are recommended.

How to Get to Assos?

By Bus

Frequent public buses run by Küçükkuyu Town Council (Küçükkuyu Belediyesi) take passengers from Küçükkuyu (about 20 km to the east) to Assos and cost around 3-4 TL/person. There are also minibuses from Ayvacık to the north (5TL to/from Behramkale, 6TL to/from the harbour).

From Istanbul to Izmir
From Istanbul to Assos

İt is closer to get to Assos from Izmir:

From Izmir to Assos
From Izmir to Assos

Either way, there are so many bus departures to Assos during the summer season. For whom are going to take their way to Assos, the ferry is also another option. You can take one of three ferry voyages during summer time from Yenikapı to Bandırma, which will cost you around 65-70 TL and then by bus it can be reached to Assos. You can search for the tickets at the official website of İDO (İstanbul Sea Buses).

And for bus options, you can visit the listed companies below;

Pamukkale Tourism, Kamil Koç, Uludağ Tourism.

Aristo: Spirit of Time
Aristo: Spirit of Time

Philosophy School

Philosophy school in Assos has a history of thousands of years. It dates back to 347-344 BC when the time great philosopher Aristotle had lived here. During that time Aristotle and Xenophia set up a philosophy school here with their friends. Since then, philosophical investments and meeting on varied topics on update subjects are being held in Assos.

Accommodation

For accommodation, Assos offers a wide range of different options. There are many guesthouses that are located in the Old Town (Behramkale Village). On the other hand, relatively more luxury hotels take place on the cost. However, as a third option camping may be better for those willing to surrender themselves to the hand of mother nature. Kadırga Koyu (beach on the seaside) is incredibly rich to find camping areas.

  • IDA Costa Hotel, Küçükkuyu-Assos Sahil Yolu Üzeri Kozlu Köyü Altı,Assos, Ayvacık / Türkiye, +90 (286) 764 00 10+90 (530) 955 71 00+90 (530) 955 71 01.
  • Asosyal Hotel Assos, Köyün Kendisi, Köy Sok. No:7 Behramkale 17860 Ayvacık /Çanakkale – TÜRKİYE ☎ ±90 286 721 7046   GSM: 0532 666 07 59    Fax: 0286 721 72 35
  • Kamp_At, Kadırga Koyu, Ayvacık-Türkiye, +90 543 872 1884. If you wish to camp for an intimate holiday with nature, keep Kamp_At mind. With their lovely and smiling owners and employees, they would be just happy to be there for you!

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