today as Behramköy or Behramkale, the ancient city of Assos has
undoubtedly undergone many changes since it was first settled in the
third millennium BC. The site has been inhabited without interruption
over the intervening centuries. Unlike the ancient city, however, the
present village is situated on the north facing slope of the hill out of
sight of the sea. This is no doubt due to the piracy which was prevalent
along the Aegean coast from the Middle Ages onwards.
from Çanakkale to the north, a narrow, winding 17 kilometer asphalt
road leads to Assos from the town of Ayvacik. From the south, turn off
at Küçükkuyu to take the asphalt coastal road. A 2 kilometre road
links the village to the shore, where there is a tiny harbour. From
antiquity until the 1950s this was a small but busy commercial port,
with two bakeries, two hotels, ware houses for the acorns collected from
local forests and a customs office along the dock. When exports from
here stopped in 1950 these buildings remained empty until the early
1980s, when excavations began at Assos. This brought new vitality to
Behramkale. The old buildings were restored and converted into hotels
and restaurant, while bars, a discotheque and camping sites were opened.
Today the Yildiz, Behram, Assos, Kervansaray and Nazli hotels, pensions
and camping sites provide accommodation for approximately 500 visitor. As
well as the fascinating ancient ruins, the clean sea and pure air,
delicious fish and lovely scenery all contribute to the attraction of
Assos. Another advantage of this small and quiet resort is its easy
accessibility by road from Istanbul (a journey of six hours) and Izmir
new popularity of Assos as a resort over the past decade has reversed
the decline of traditional crafts in the region. The carpet and kilim
looms have been set up once again and are producing new and original
rugs which find a ready market.
sum up, Assos offers a unique synthesis of history,
scenic beauty and
is not known exactly who first settled in Assos. What is known is that
the city was settled, and has been inhabited, since the Early Bronze
wrote that the people who lived on the southern shores of Troad were
Lelegians and that they made their living as seamen and pirates during
the years of the Trojan wars. Strabo also confirms this information and
points out that the Lelegians' homeland ranged from Lekton (Baba Burnu)
to Mount Ida (Kaz Dagi) and that it included the neighboring territory
of Assos. It also claimed that the oldest name of the city was Pedasos
and the name Assos was derived from it.
is written in the Iliad the Elastos, who was killed by Agamemnon, lived
in steep Pedasos on the shore of the Satnioeis and that the Lelegian
king Altes (his daughter Laothe, whom he gave to Priam with a large
dowry, gave birth to Lykaon and Polydoros), who has the father in law of
Priam, king of Troy, also dwelt high up in Pedasos. The geographical
descriptions of Pedasos conforms to Assos but is the name Assos a later
derivation of Pedasos? In Homer's epic although a lot of settlements in
Troad are named, the name of Assos is not mentioned. This suggests that
the city must have assumed the name Assos during a later century.
the present name of the area, is a derivation of Makhram, Byzantine
official who came to Assos on duty. Yet Strabo tells us that Pedasos,
one of the Lelegian cities, was deserted in his days and never inhabited
again. So, it is probable that Pedasos and Assos are not the same place
since the settlement of Assos has continued uninterrupted since its
southern Troad where the Mysians of Thrace settled, first became the
settlement of the Aiolians, who came through Lesbos in the 7th century
B.C. According to Strabo, who informs us after Mysilas and Hellanicos,
the Methymnian immigrants from Lesbos, settled in Assos in the meantime.
After this date Assos established a satellite community at Gargara, a
place some 20 kms. to the east. But Strabo, referring to Demetrios of
Skepsis, says that the people of Gargara were semi-barbarians and
different from the people of Assos.
was the most powerful and the most important city on the northern shores
of the Gulf of Edremit when it was captured by the Lydians in ca. 560
B.C.. It is said that the wealth of Gyges, Alyattes and Kroisos came
partly from the rich mineral beds between Atarneos and Pergamon, which
were within the sphere of influence of Assos. Strabo also mentions some
excavated masses of land where these minerals beds were, a defunct mine
and a deserted mining city. Today it is known that this region possesses
rich silver and iron beds.
the Persian hegemony in Western Anatolia (after 546 B.C.), the city
remained within the borders of the Persian satrapy. Thus, the only power
to which both the city of Assos and Troad had been subject to, changed.
The Aegean cities had to wait for Alexander, the king of Macedon, to
gain their full independence. Although they had become semiautonomous
when the Persians withdrew from the Aegean as a results of their defeat
in naval battles at Salamis, Plataia and Mykale by the Hellenes.
increasing power of Athens in both leadership and in the formation of
the Delian confederacy in the 5th century B.C. provided opportunities
for the northwest city-states and especially the coastal cities to
participate in the confederacy was formed in 478 B.C.. Assos, along with
other cities such as Phokaea (Foça), Samos, Teos (Seferihisar), Pitane,
Miletos and Lesbos in the Ionic-Aeolic region, participated in this
confederacy as a founding member. Its annual tax payment was one talent.
Spartans, in compliance with an agreement made in 412 B.C. with Darius
II, helped the Persians in regaining their power on the shores of
Anatolia. The defeat at Aigospotamos in 405 B.C. after the victory of
Lysander (the Spartan commander), over the fleet of Athenians (407 B.C.)
with the aim of supporting the Persians, caused the governing bodies
which he had organized along the western Anatolian shores to fall under
the sovereignty of Persians again.
the King's Peace (Peace of Antalkidas) in 387 B.C., Eubolos, a banker,
declared himself the king of Assos. But later, his old servant, the
eunuch Hermeias, killed him and usurped power.
a student of Plato, was not actually from Assos but from Bithynia. He
was also a student and friend of Aristoteles. After becoming a tyrant he
formed a confederacy with Erythrai.
invited Aristoteles to Assos in 348-347 B.C. and married him to his
cousin Pythias. Aristoteles stayed in Assos for 3 years and gave
lectures at the gymnasium. Along with other Platonists Xenokrates also
lived in Hermeias' palace for a while. By doing so Hermeias kept his
good relations with Hellas and was invited to the Olympic games by the
independency lasted until 345 B.C.. Memnon of Rhodes, a general in the
Persian army, tricked Hermeias with a seemingly friendly invitation.
Hermeias accepted the invitation, was deceived and taken prisoner.
Having been put in fetters he was sent to the capital city of Persia to
be interrogated and later to be crucified.
sly Memnon had stolen his official seal and sent letters to all of the
cities that were in solidarity with Assos, bearing the seal of the dead
Hermeias. In these letters he informed them that he had turned his
hegemony over to the great king Artaxerxes. Thus Assos and the other
cities, passed into the hands of the Persians without any fighting or
problems. But it did not take Assos long to free itself problems. But it
did not take Assos long to free itself from the declining power of the
years later (in 334 B.C.) Alexander's victory over the Persians in the
war by the Granikos Stream liberated the whole region. Yet, it remained
the fate of Troad and Mysia to pass from one hand to another in the
post-Alexandrian period during the struggles among his successors.
see that during the Diadokhian period, Assos fell into the hands of the
Gallians, who occupied the Troad. Although temporary, the Gallians ruled
over a vast region, from Çanakkale to Macedonia for 60 years or so.
Gallians were driven out when the kings of Pergamon gained strength. In
241 B.C., Assos, in association with Eumenes and Attalos, refused to pay
tribute to the Gallians, which in turn pushed them from the region. In
fact, the decisive defeat of the Gallians was the war near Arisbe (216
B.C.). Assos, which was dominated by the kingdom of Pergamon, afterwards
shared the same fate with them when the kingdom was possessed by the
Romans upon the bequest of Attalos III.
real period of development for Assos was the period of Roman occupation.
In fact, Assos along with several other Anatolian cities prospered
greatly during the Pax Romana period.
Roman Senate gave the Eastern provinces to young Germanicus in 17 A.D.
in recognition of his victories over the German tribes. Along with his
wife, he visited Ilion due to the original relationship of this city
with Rome and then he went to Assos, where he was hailed as a "New
When Germanicus' youngest son, Gaius Caesar (Caligula) became emperor in the
East in 37 A.D., the people of Assos, in order to be first, considered
ascension to the throne to be the beginning of a new era and celebrated
it as such. Going a step further, the people of Assos sent a delegation
of 5 envoys to the emperor to express their good will and to inform him
that they now considered his allies their allies and his enemies their
enemies. The delegation made sacrifices to Jupiter Capitolinus while in
the Roman period when legislative groups were formed among the
provinces, Assos fell into the same group with Adramyttion. Mysia and
Troad were also in this group which was called the Dioceseis or
Conventus. Afterwards, during the Byzantine period when the Adramyttion
Conventus was shared among the other provinces, Assos, Gargara,
Antandros and Adramyttion were connected to the province of Asia. Assos
was one of the first cities in Western Anatolia to accept Christianity.
The main reason for this was St. Paul's and St. Lucas' visit to the
city. When St. Paul went to Mytilene he came to Assos from Alexandreia
Troas on foot and met St. Lucas there, then they sailed to Lesbos.
bishop Marinus' name and Assos bishop Maximus' name were mentioned in
the Nikaia (Iznik) Council, held in 325 A.D. and the third Ephesus
Council, held in 431 A.D., respectively. The city remained important
enough in the 5th century to be a center for a bishopric.
this period, under the influence of the edict of the emperor (381 A.D.),
many Roman buildings were destroyed, building stones and sculptures of
marble were burnt to obtain lime and reused in the new buildings. For
this reason one can hardly see any remains of marble in the city.
city became the target of several attacks during the Latinian, the
Seljukian and the Ottoman periods. By virtue of this, its population
decreased gradually and it turned into a hamlet (small village).
Suleyman Shah captured Assos along with the other peripheral settlements
in 1080, Alexius Commnenos, having sought and found an opportunity,
seized the territories up the Meander (Menderes) River during the years
that followed the crossing of the First Crusade and thus, the Seldjuks
retreated from Troad. Frederic Barbarossa had destroyed Assos and its
environment while he was going south after he passed Lampsakos (Lapseki)
from Kallipolis (Gelibolu) during the Third Crusade. At the beginning of
the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the region was captured by Henri de Hainault,
Emperor Balwin's brother who seized Adramyttion and remained under the
hegemony of the Francs for approximately 20 years.
pressure turned into Ottoman rule in 1330 after the victory of Osman I
at Lemnos (Limni) in 1288. The region has since been under the rule of
Turks with no interruptions.
and SOCIO-ECONOMIC STRUCTURE in ASSOS
was the most important city in the Southern Troad on the coastal line
which began at Cape Lekton (Baba Burnu). The road which led from Lekton,
along the western shore of Ilion, reached Assos, Gargara, Antandros and
Adramyttion. One of the roads, forking in Pergamon, went up to the
north, to Ilion in the hinterland.
present Lekton-Assos road follows almost the same route. But the Ayvacik
road, which runs along 17 kms., is rather narrow and full of twisting turns. On the other hand, when coming from the south, the ancient route,
which has been broadened from Küçükkuyu onward, saves traveling on
the steep, curvy road.
Assos-Ayvacik road of today must have been used to travel north in
Antiquity and the Middle Ages. This is confirmed by the remains of two
ancient stone bridges built for this purpose.
coming from Troad, the Ayvacik-Assos road comes down to the valley of
the Tuzla Stream at Pasaköy. The stream has a broad valley basin. The
area on the both sides, which is convenient for agriculture, is shared
between two villages. On the Tuzla Stream are four bridges, built apart
from one another. Today, only one of them is usable. The arched Ottoman
bridge by the new one has been restored. Further to the west are some
remains of the other two bridges, one from the Roman times and the other
from the Hellenistic age. At this point, on both sides of the stream
parts of the road paved with broad plate stones, which comes from Assos
and goes on crossing the bridge can be seen.
paved road, which crossed the bridge, reached the city in the west after
having climbed a rather steep slope and forked into three branches.
Whereas one road having crossed the sacred road reached the city, the
other one reached the harbor, having curved down from the west slope to
the shore. On the other hand, according to visible traces, the third
road leads to the arable lands and terraced gardens, huddling in the
rocky valley to the west.
city was founded on the top of a conical hill and in the area skirting
this precipitous, rocky peak.
hill, which is 236 meters above sea-level, is surrounded by the strong
city walls, 3200 m. in length are vulnerable only in the south around
the cliffs looking down into the sea. In the east, the stretch south to
the cliffs and are separated by a valley. Along the city wall forming
the northern border of the West Necropolis, the rows of walls, one
within another, that were built with different techniques and have
differing appearances, can be seen.
wall, built with multi-edged (polygonal) stones without using clamps and
mortar is the oldest one and was put in the 6th century B.C.. One can
see pieces of this same polygonal wall in several other buildings.
western wall of the city has six gates, one of which is the main gate.
In fact, there were two main gates. One is in the west and the other is
the East Gate which has double towers. In comparison with the West Gate,
this one is in worse condition.
general, the towers of the city walls in Assos had four corners. Only
one tower, built in the form of a semi-circle on the flank looking down
the Satnioeis valley, has survived in near perfect condition. It was
built during the Hellenistic period. A great part of the remaining city
walls that can be seen today in Assos were built in the 4th century
B.C.. The height of the towers are 13-14 m. and the thickness varies
between 3-5 m., depending on the location. The walls were erected with
rectagonal stones. Cavities between the internal and the external
surfaces were filled with rubble. The city walls are good examples of
the military engineering of the period. A particular design was realized
for the mechanisms that throw arrows and stones, and defending the
soldiers from outside was taken into consideration too. There were also
loop-holes and fenestrae in the walls and towers.
ancient city developed on this rocky sub-structure which was surrounded
by walls on the southern part of the hill looking down to the sea. While
that direction of the hill was used as a quarry to obtain stone which
was a necessary material for the buildings which were placed on the
man-made terraces. After entering the city through the gate facing
northwest, the road curves like a bow just as the inclination of the
hill does and the buildings were originally situated on the terraces
parallel to this road. For this reason, instead of a grid-plan, a plan
in the shape of concentric bows, harmonius with the topography, is
observed. The roads that run like bows are connected from place to place
with stairs that were built perpendicular to them.
from the West Gate, buildings such as the gymnasium, bouleuterion, bath
and theater were erected and thus the city center was formed having
united the buildings for social and public purposes with a
multi-purposed structure like the agora. The area between the bow of
the gymnasium, agora, bouleuterion and the acropolis was not used very
for the habitation area in the city, it was on the southern and eastern
slopes, and developed as terraces. With this formation, the city gained
an original appearance in terms of urban landscape.
can easily imagine Assos with its magnificent buildings placed on the
terraces on the rocky slopes. This must have been impressive in
Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Assos has two necropolis. The first and
the main one, is the West Necropolis, on the terraces of the paved road
which leads to the West Gate. The other one is the East Necropolis, in
front of the East Gate. The West Necropolis was expanded during later
years and extended towards the skirts of Ayazma hill on the west. There
is a Byzantine church, some remains of buildings connected to it and a
few ceramic kilns on the Ayazma hill. It is understood that the city was
extended beyond the city wall to the west during the 4th and 5th
centuries. A.D.. On the other hand a part of the intramural area which
did not face the sea, to the north of the acropolis, was rather used as
a quarry to obtain construction material and not occupied perhaps until
the last century.
many other settlements on the southern shore in the Troad, Assos did not
have sufficient agricultural lands surrounding it to feed the city.
Wheat and barley were grow in limited quantities on the lowlands, formed
in the basin on both sides of the Satneiois River (Tuzla Çayi).
from wheat and barley; fruit, wine and olives were important products
and were cultivated on the city's terraced slopes. The environmental
conditions have not changed much since the ancient times as these crops
are still existent in modern Behramkale.
forming was and still is an important activity in ancient times. As a
matter of fact, ancient sources inform us that Assos exported wool from
their sheep flocks. Apart from these, carpets and kilims woven in this
area were famous Aeolian goods.
these agricultural resources used in Assos was metal. Silver and iron
were the sources of wealth for region. Iron scoria, a kiln residue, seen
on the surface of the eastern slope in Assos, points out the existence of blacksmith workshops there.
by sea in ancient times had fewer risks and, of course, was faster than
overland transportation. For example, a ship that sailed from Azak in Black Sea
to Egypt would take a sea-route of 1200 miles. The voyage took
20 days with an average speed of 4 miles an hour. The sea-route of 550
miles from Assos to Egypt took 8.5 days. It is easy to see how the
centers that hoarded surplus products, and kept power in the own hands,
grew on the shores and at the mouths of rivers in connection with these
opportunities and factors.
is probable that Assos was a boarding harbor in early times. Loads would
be transported overseas to the harbors of the Marmara and offered a
place for goods from the Anatolian hinterland to be exported. Apart from
these facts, Assos was the only harbor, besides Sivrice Bay, that
offered sailors protection from the harsh winds on a voyage along the
shores between Cape Lekton and Adramyttion.
the beginning of the 4th century trade ships were able to transport
goods up to an average of 100-150 tons. During summer, ships of this
size were able to make daily trips up and down the coast distributing
and purchasing goods. These ships were able to make money at the various
harbors along the coast by exchanging goods that they bought from each
other and at places in each port of call. To transport the same goods a
great distance naturally raised the prices. Low cost in sea
transportation were only realized when larger ships, which could carry
larger cargoes, were built.
Assos lost its influence in maritime trade upon developments in maritime
technology and knowledge yet it kept its importance in the coastal trade
route. Assos continued to sell the goods from the hinterlands to the
Aegean through the island of Lesbos.
of these, without a shadow of doubt, were the conditions which
influenced the size of Assos and density of its population. Although the
population in the city changed due to various reasons in different
periods, usually varied in number between 4500-6000. One of the
important criteria to determine the population in Assos was the annual
funds paid to the Attic-Delian Confederacy. According to the rule each
member city paid 1.5 drachmae per capita Assos paid 1 talent of 6000 drachma, the equivalent of 1 talent is divided into 1.5 and the result
is 4500 inhabitants. This amount is equal to the number of people that
could settle in the area of 10 hectares on the eastern and southern
slopes. Assos has dwindled gradually beginning from the 7th century
because of political and economical situations and consequently come to
the present days as a village of 500 people.
in the life-styles and the living conditions of the social classes are reflected by the places where people lived. The life
life-style of an Assos citizen who worked as a laborer would, of course,
be different from his neighbor who was a land owner, an employer or a possessor
of a commercial fleet. On the other hand, another fellow who
was under the protecting wings of aristocracy going back many centuries
had a very particular way of living. Furthermore, if this fellow was
rich, he would have a very distinctive position in that city-state.
was the home of many valuable people too. The Stoic philosopher Kleantes,
the successor of Zenon of Kition, who was a famous philosopher, was from
Assos. In an inscription found in Assos, the people of Stratonikeia
thank the people of Assos for sending them a very efficient judge to
handle a lawsuit.
were, of course, foreigners in Assos as there were in Western Anatolia,
the islands and Hellenic mainland. A number of these foreigners, who
were called Metoikos, were numerous among the population of the city.
They could work in the agricultural and trade sectors but they did not
have the right to vote. Slaves were also included in this category.
These people who worked in gardens, field establishments, production
centers, harbors and ships became slaves because of various reasons.
They did not necessarily have to be foreigners, for example, it was very
common for a citizen who was not able to pay his debt to become a slave.
This mixture of classes was seen in the activities of daily life there.
who was the daughter of mighty Zeus and goddess of fine arts and war,
was the protector of Assos. She was also worshipped all along the
northern Aegean coast. Several Ionic and Aeolic cities built temples
dedicated to her. The most well known temples of Athena were located in
ancient Smyrna (Izmir), Phokaia (Foça) and Troy.
with Athena, Hermes was also worshipped as the protector of the
gymnasium, the god of travellers and thieves and the guide of the
deceased who went to Hades. Tykhe, Telesphoros and Asklepios, the god of
health were also worshipped in the Roman period. The attributes of Zeus'
thunderbolt and bull heads were depicted on the coins of Assos.
of course, minted coins as an independent city-state. But, according to
our present knowledge, the oldest coins of Assos do not go back earlier
than the 6th century B.C. There are some coins, with Athena's helmeted
head on one side and a griffon on the other. Sometimes an owl, one of
the attributes of Athena, was also represented in place of her. Motifs
such as a bull head, Medusa's head, a lion head, a bunch of grapes and a
swan were also minted on the coins.
money was in circulation during the Roman times too. The coins struck
during the periods of Augustus (late Ist century B.C.), Claudius, Titus
and Commodus are in the majority among the ones on hand. Among them is a
coin on which Asklepios is seen seated on his throne. It is understood
that teemed gods in Assos after the Ist century A.D.. An altar with
reliefs of Asklepios, attributes such as a serpent and a poison cup,
found during the excavations in the city confirm this.
broad road, paved with stone, reaches the Western Gate leaving behind
the Tuzla Stream (Satnioeis) after climbing the hill. Yet, 300 m. before
reaching the gate, the scenery changes. The road forks and one of the
branches, following the base of the city walls, goes to the small gate
in the vicinity of the West Gate. The other one is the main road, it
enters the city through a magnificent gate which has double towers on
both sides. During the Roman times, both sides of these two roads were
filled with grave monuments some of which were on the terraces while the
others were surrounded by walls built of finely dressed stones. Nearly
all of them are ruins today but the remnants narrate their splendour
sufficiently to the eyes which can see. In ancient times, cemeteries
were outside of the city and generally on both sides of the main road.
This was so that someone who came to city could see the tombs, each of
which was a monument itself and greet them. A cemetery within a city is
uncommon. The tomb monuments, rarely seen here, were privileges given by
the special permission of the city Council to the persons who had made
an extraordinary contribution to the city. The thick earth layer that
covered the necropolis area until the excavation began in 1881 had
preserved the remains as much as it possibly could, but when the
excavation ended in 1884, all of the unearthed remains were then
destroyed. When the works were resumed in 1981 the restoration of the
previous findings were also handled. The necropolis was arranged on the
terraces of the upper side of the road because of the inclination of the
amount of attention paid to choosing the place and of importance given
to the tomb monuments shows that a cult of the dead had a deep seated
past and that is was very important for the ancient peoples. The
connection of life and death is one that was in the minds of all people
in the community in these early days.
those days sleep (Hypnos) and death (Thanatos) were known as children of
the Black Night. White sleep was peaceful and relaxing whereas black
death was painful and relaxing whereas black death was painful and
caused grieving. "He who is caught by the hands of death can never
escape them, he who descends to Hades, the realm of darkness, in other
words, he who meets death can never come back again." So says
Hesiodos, a writer living in the 6th century.
work of preparing the dead for journey was the duty and the
responsibility of the family, especially of the son. If he/she had a
relative, a close friend or the authority of the region, he undertook
all the deeds. A stranger was not allowed to touch the dead except in
extraordinary cases. In general, the corpse was prepared for the
ceremony by women. If the dead was a man, the woman had to be older than
60 years or had to be his close relative. A day after the death the
corpse was washed, because it was believed that death soiled everything.
After having been cleaned the corpse was anointed with olive oil. Then
his chin was tied, he was dressed and wrapped in a linen cover. When
this procedure, called prothesis, ended, the corpse was laid down on a
table, a bed or a kline on a thick cover (stroma) like a carpet, then a
pillow (proskephalia) was placed to raise his head. Another custom was
to place a coin in he mouth of the corpse, under his tongue. According
to the belief, this coin was the fare to be paid to Charon, the boatman,
for his transporting the dead across the River Styx in Hades. After
completing these deeds the mourning ceremony began. During the ceremony,
which usually lasted nine days, women wailed in tears for the dead, tore
out their hair and beat their heads and chests. It was also a custom to
scream, raising both hands to the sky. Men came to visit the house of
the deceased, where the ceremony was performed, on foot or on horse back
and raised their right hands up turning their palms outward. Music also
accompanied this mourning ceremony.
next day, which was third day after death, the corpse was silently
passed through the streets on a stretcher, or coach, on its way to the
burial ground. This ceremony was performed before down and the silence
was strictly enforced to the point of being a legal necessity. Women
could attend the funeral ceremony only if they were related to the
deceased and of a certain age. This ceremony was so important even the
manner of dress determined by law.
reaching the necropolis, the coffin was lowered into the grave with a
simple ceremony, and although it was sometimes forbidden, a sacrifice
was made and a libation (offering wine or water) was performed. During
burial, the deceased favorite personal objects and gifts were buried
with him/her too. It has also been discovered that the insides of the
wooden coffins were painted red.
coming home from the ceremony, a jar filled with water was put in front
of the door. This symbolized that there was mourning in that house. It
also expressed that the house was soiled by death and one who left the
house had to clean himself/herself with the water from that jar. Food
was prepared in the deceased's house and relatives ate this funeral meal
(Perideipnon) all together and memories of the dead were shared.
nine days relatives came together again at the graveyard and performed a
commemoration ceremony (Taenaia) and mourning ended on the thirtieth
day. Respect for the dead did not end at this point. Every year a
ceremony to commemorate the deceased was performed. That day was called
either Genesis, Nemesia, Epitaphia or Antesteria. Flowers, food and wine
were brought and offered. The grave was visited on this day also.
Necropolis architecture of the Roman period in Assos has a
characteristic style and richness. Along with outdoor family graves
surrounded by walls there were also compositions which consisted of huge
sarcophagi on rather high podiums and stone benches next to them. Grave
monuments having a single or double tunnel vaulted rooms were built in
the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The most interesting one in this category is
Publius Varius' monument at the immediate foot of the north tower of the
West Gate. It had a tunnel vault inside and a gabled roof outside. A
restoration of it can be drawn based on the scattered pieces around.
with the island of Marmara (Prokonnessos) in the Sea of Marmara (Propontis),
Assos was famous in the Roman era for its production and exportation of
sarcophagi. Yet, the sarcophagi of Assos were of local andesite. It is
understood from the examples in the Istanbul Archeological Museum that
Assos sold them to Byzantion in that period. Assos did not sell only
sarcophagi, for a long time it also marketed half-embellished stones
obtained from its quarries. There are two big columns from Assos at San
Marco Square in Venice today.
offerings found in the graves dating from the 6th and the 5th centuries
B.C. were transported to the museum in Boston. The remaining Monuments
is under going restoration with the remnants found during excavations,
which were resumed in 1881.
began in the houses and offices at dawn in the cities and villages.
Mothers prepared their children and officers called "paidagogos",
half-governors and half-instructors, left the court gates of their
houses, built back to back on the terraces of the eastern slope and took
the children to the gymnasion near the West Gate. The gymnasion, built
in the 2nd century B.C., perhaps in place of an older one at which
Aristotle had lectured for three years, was a simple building which
consisted of an open area with the dimensions of 40x31.25 m. for
physical exercises and classrooms, dressing rooms and dining rooms
behind the colonnaded porticos surrounding it. The porticos were on the
north, south and west sides of the palaistra whereas there was a wall on
the east side. The basalt columns of the porticos are monolithic. Behind
the northern portico, 4.92 m. in width, was an Ephebeion (Epheb's hall)
with a double column in front. A bathing place, with a diameter of 8.50
m., was added to the northeast corner of the building. The main entrance
of the gymnasium was on the south façade opening of to the main road.
The south portico was reached by a semi-circular stair-way consisting of
three steps and a corridor. Apart from this, there was also another
entrance on the west. It is very probable that the classrooms were
one-story. Although the functions of the four rooms and a portico
arranged diagonally on the right of the main entrance have not been
completely understood, they belong to the gymnasion. As water had always
been a problem in Assos, there was a cistern carved from a rock but
later covered with a stone vault beneath the palaistra. They drew water
with a bucket and carried it to the bathing rooms. Carrying water,
cleaning the rooms and the exercising area were all the duties of
students. The seniors controlled whether the juniors fulfilled these
duties properly or not. From morning until noon physical exercises such
as wrestling, boxing, discus throwing, javelin throwing, long jumping
and racing alone one stadia (200 m.) were performed under the
supervision of instructors and the youngsters started these activities
after they massaged themselves with pure olive oil produced from the
groves around Assos and naturally, when they were bedaubed with sand
they scraped them selves first with a bronze or iron instrument called a
striglis and then took a bath. If the gymnasion was not on the bank of
running water, they bathed at the head of a marble basin at the northern
end, added to the building later.
school in the afternoon, the subjects were language and grammar,
rhetoric, geography, mathematics, philosophy and music. Mathematics and
music were as important as physical exercises in the education system of
were over as the sun set to the west of Assos behind the city of the
Methymnians from Mithylene, who colonized Assos and children took the
road to their homes carrying their books, abacuses, sports materials and
perfume bottles called aryballos.
can be understood from inscriptions on the architrave, found during the
excavation of the northern portico, that this protico was rebuilt in the
late Ist century, In the inscription it says "Quintus Lollius
Philetarios, who is a priest of the God Caesar Augustus and to the
people". The principal of the gymnasion bore the title of
gymnasiarkhos and was honored with a golden crown. Later in the 6th
century A.D., the believers of the new faith destroyed Aristotle's
school, building a church in the middle of this gymnasion. Building
materials from the gymnasion were reused for the church in the basilical
plan which consisted of there naves and an octogonal apse added to the
east façade and thus the building was demolished.
for the adults, life was different for them according to their
professions and interests. Free and rich, or aristocratic by blood, men
of the family who could be admitted as members of the City Council, left
their homes on the eastern slope by noon, well-dressed and with perfumed
beards and came directly to the agora, passing through the streets paved
with stone. The Agora was the hearth of the city in Assos as it was in
every ancient city. The agora in Assos, built in the late Hellenistic
Age is a structure which has a very original place among its peers. In
fact, it should be called a building complex. There was a small temple
on its west side and a bouleuterion, a council house, on its east side.
On the south there is a bath. The board space, measuring 4000 m2 was
limited with two long and narrow buildings, or stoai, one on the north
and the other on the south sides. The northern stoa in Assos, which is
115.5 m. in length and 12.42 m. in width, was a two story building. The
five stepped building was oriented to the south, seaward. On the first
floor, a row of 37 columns with an intercolumnar span of 2.63 m.,
supported the upper floor, divided the building longitudinally into two
nave. There was no covered space in the north stoa. The building was
rather designed to provide a shelter for citizens who came to the agora
on rainy days, a shady place to protect against the sun and a walking
place. In other words, this kind of stoai were places for public
gatherings and walking. Peddlers, salesman who displayed their books and
pawn brokers also practiced their work. While building the north stoa, a
rock surface was cut and a wall with roughly dressed stones was erected
in front of it and the rear wall of the agora was erected 0.70m. ahead
of that wall. The rear wall was composed of thin and thick courses
(pseudo-isodomic) and regular and rectagonal stones were used in the
courses. Holes seen today on the surface of the wall, with the
dimensions of 40x50 cm. and aligned with a span of 35 cm. are the places
where the wooden floor timbers of the second floor pierced. On the upper
floor a row of columns composed of marble half-columns clung to one
another back to back supporting the entablature. In the northern stoa,
the height of the floors was not same. The height of the first floor is
6.90 m. whereas that of the second floor is 4.40 m. The upper floor was
linked with a gate at the west end to a rear passage paved with stone.
The other entrance to the building on that floor was on the narrow east
façade. The ground of the agora was paved with plate stones. In front
of the north stoa was a water reservoir buried beneath the floor.
southern stoa is smaller but multi-storied. It was built in front of the
agora terrace. Near the rear wall of the stoa was also built about 1 m.
ahead of the terrace section. It is a floor building with a water
reservoir and a basement. The front part of the basement, facing the
south is open and its floor is for water storage. One of these cisterns
is 41.60 x 2.75 m. and the other one is 14.85 x 2.37 m. The cisterns
were connected to a Roman bath by stone channels. The top floor of this
building, which is 69 m. in length and 12 m. in depth appeared as a
one-story building at the agora level. This floor, opening onto both the
agora area and the seaside façade, is like a covered terrace. The floor
below was an intermediate floor, reached internally by stone stairs in
the west corner and there were also exterior stairs in the east. This
intermediate floor was divided into 13 rooms behind a corridor along the
front and was joined to the ground outside by a stairway to the east. On
the basis of water installations found during the excavation, it is
thought that these rooms were bathing rooms and thus, this floor was a
bath. Later, during the Roman era, an additional bath was built in
front of the south stoa. On the other hand, there are remains indicating
that there was a market-place to the south-east of the agora and the
east of the north stoa.
tomb monument with a temple façade was built at the foot of the west
wall of the south stoa. From an inscription found during the excavations
of 1881 it is understood that this building was built an intramural
tomb, given by the people of Assos to Kallistenos and Aristias, sons of
Hephaistogenes, for the services they had rendered to the city.
agora in Assos was not merely a market-place. The heart of the city beat
there, the people's assembly, called Ekklesia, met there, referanda on
important subjects were practiced, feasts were celebrated and even
athletic contests were sometimes organized there. The officer of the
agora, elected for one year, was called agoranomos and he was accepted
as one of the two top officers in Assos. His office was in the agora.
were responsible for the order and security of the agora and all kinds
of trading along with the qualities, measures and prices given by the
City Council. It is understood from marble moulds found in the
excavations that measures of weight and volume were standard and that
they were controlled. Various measures of amphorae and roof tiles
indicate those standards. Agoranomoi were also authorized to act as
security forces. Apart from these, we have to add, that in Assos, which
has a harbor city, they were also authorized to charge customs duties
for the goods that came to and sailed from the harbor.
begun early in the morning, were colored with lectures on rhetoric,
philosophy, poetry and ethics given by itinerant teachers (sophists),
who sat on shady stairs of the stoa of the agora, with students encircling
them. They made their living with fees paid to them at the end
of these long lectures. On the other hand, at one corner of the stoa a
writer marketed the reproductions of his latest book while enthusiastic
debates took place at the other corner. People who spent time going from
one group to another downstairs went to the baths, or they were on duty,
went to the City Council (Bouleuterion) near the east exit of the agora.
(town council house)
Council met regularly, discussed administrative matters and reached
decisions. Fifty people, elected from among the representatives (prytans)
were on duty permanently. They lived in a guest house of the state and
they ate and drank there on the states account.
council had duties such as sending and accepting emissaries, collecting
taxes, controlling officials and administrating fleet and monetary
affairs. Apart from these, they were authorized to assess penalties up
to 500 drachma. Members of the council had the privilege of free
entrance to the theater and sitting in the honor arm-chair.
City Council of Assos had approximately 150 representatives. As 50
representatives came from each phyle (tribe), it can be deduced that
satellite settlements governed by the city-state consisted of three
groups called phyles. The Council house is a one-story building,
measuring 20.62 x 21 m. It has five gates opening onto the agora. Four
inner columns of stone, two of which were found during the excavation,
supported the wooden roof that covered the building. None of the stone
benches, on which the members of the council sat, has been found intact.
columns in Doric order on the front porch of the building are 63 cm. in
diameter. The columns which supported the inner roof are 75 cm. in
diameter. We do not have detailed information about the building, which
has been considerably ruined. It descended into a subway by the stairs
near the entrance gate of the agora on the south of the Bouleuterion.
The subway leads to a water reservoir. On the south of this gate are the
remains of a building.
the west entrance to the agora is a prostylos temple with dimensions of
16.50 x 10 m., resting on a podium. Only the foundations of the
building, that is thought to have been converted into a small church
after the 5th century. A.D., have remained until today. It is very
probable that the temple is contemporaneous with the agora.
stone-paved road, coming down from the west gate of the agora reaches at
first the baths and then the theater. The theater, facing the sea and
the island of Lesbos was built into a natural rock cavity to the south
of the city center. According to the construction technique and the
planning specifications, it is a late Hellenistic theater. It is very
probable that it was built in place of an older one. Admittedly,
cavities on the rock surface were filled with earth and rubble, then
both ends of the auditorium (Theatron) were completed with vaults, one
on each side, thus a semi-circle was obtained. But due to the
topography, the arch of the circle was not completed externally.
Spectators were able to reach the auditorium directly through a double
vaulted subway under the rear wall of the theatron where the stone-paved
road, coming from the agora, ended, as well as through the passages between the stage (skene) and the theatron. These passages and the
subway were unearthed during the recent excavations. There is a corridor
(diazoma) after thirteen rows of seats and there are fifteen more rows
of seats in the auditorium. The auditorium ends with eight rows of
narrow and upright seats after the second diazoma.
the both sides of paradoi are two rooms with tunnel vaults. It is
thought that these small rooms, which opened nowhere, were offices for
selling tickets and books or maybe they were built for officials.
small stage was expended during the course of time. Its width is 19.14
m. and it is a two-story building. The foundations of the first floor
are well preserved. The stage was divided into three rooms which were
connected to one another with doors. The facade of the building, as is
frequently seen in classical theatre plans, is comprised of three doors,
the one in the middle is both wider and higher than the others. These
three doors open on to the proscenium (proskene), which is usually 3.5
m. higher than the floor of the orchestra circle. One of the small doors
is the exit (exodus) and the other is the entrance (eisodos). The door
in the middle symbolizes both the entrance and exit of the palace. The
proscenium, where the actors played, was 2.5 m. in width. The performance
area was supported by twelve half round columns, situated in
orchestra, where the chorus and musicians stand, is 20.5 m. in diameter.
This flat ground is separated from the auditorium by a stone parapet.
The building, which had a 5000 seat capacity, slid during an earthquake
and was ruined considerably and most of the stones were taken away
because it was used as a quarry during the later centuries. Now, it has
been excavated and prepared for restoration.
theatre had an important role in the urban life of Assos, as was the
case in almost all Aegean and Mediterranean cities. Drama contests were
organized exhibiting both tragedies and comedies by writers such as
Sophokles and Euripides. Celebrations, processions and entertainments
such as Dionysian wine festivals also took place in the theatre.
Performances often began at dawn and continued until sunset. Spectators
came with their cushions, awnings and food and watched the
entertainment. The plays were enjoyed in a fairlike atmosphere.
Although theaters lost their influence with Christianity, they were used for
certain purposes. The theater in Assos owes its survival to this.
RESIDENTAL AREA SOUTH OF THE GYMNASIUM
exploratory study of the terraces south of the gymnasium in 1992, finds
indicated that this was one of the city's residential areas. Excavations
carried out here in 1993 and 1994 revealed a fascinating street of
area of approximately 1000 m2 now uncovered consists of a main street in
a northwest-southeast direction, crossed at right angles by a side
street. The main street with its large paving stones is lined by
rectangular houses with ground areas of around 90-110 m2. The courtyard
of the house to the northwest is paved with large stones, and to the
north are the remains of a large cistern. The pottery found here
indicates that these dwellings were inhabited between the 1 st and 3 rd
centuries A.D. When they fell derelict, other buildings were constructed
covered sewer emerging from the west wall of the house at the southeast
corner leads to the road.
houses were made of rubble held together with mud. Their walls were 60
centimetres thick and they were probably single storey. They are not
particularly well built.
of this small area has sufficed to show that the city had a regular grid
ON THE EAST SLOPE
from the important and magnificent, buildings on the south slope of the
city, it is possible to get some information about the urban planning,
the economic and political characteristics and the architectural concepts; but very little can be said about the houses in which a part
of the daily life was spent. During the soundings on the east slope,
realized with the aim of meeting his requirement, houses built adjacent
to one another on the terraces were unearthed. The examples which have
been found did not have regular plans. It is understood from the
alterations that they were used for a long time. Each house consists of
two or three rooms. They were built with split stones and clay mortar.
In ancient times, people, especially men, preferred an extroverted
life-style so houses were not big and elaborately adorned in general.
Furniture was also simple. The concept of a country house was not
developed until the Roman era. Furthermore, people lived in houses of
simple materials, standing back to back and adjacent to one another as a
consequence of difficulties of building big houses in a city like Assos,
which did not have flat open areas. Each house had a small court. It may
be learned later whether there was a general water distribution center
in these courts. Except for a cistern, the evidence outside of the city
indicates that water was brought to the city from Mount Ida using the
were no shady gardens or avenues with trees in the city. Visitors can
easily imagine the ancient city observing the structure of the present
village. Existence of a drainage system has not yet been proved.
According to evidence on hand, the house unearthed during the soundings
had been lived in for the last time in the 6th century A.D.
the cleaning process around the temple of Athena on the acropolis the
existence of a series of houses having encircled the stylobate of the
temple on both the north and south sides and having used it as a middle
court was found. The one-story houses, having stone walls and floors
were built during the fortification at the top of the mound to defend
the acropolis as an inner citadel, drawing back into the walls due to
the increasing attacks of pirates. Semi-circular and square shaped
towers, seen today around the acropolis and partly restored and the
curtain walls of lime mortar that link them, were built in that period.
nutrition of the ancient people was as simple as their domestic life.
The development of fishing was natural since Assos was a coastal city.
Fish was a nutrition element of the poor. Along with fish; cuttle-fish
and calamari were eaten as well. Vegetables were scarce and species were
limited so they were expensive. Beans were eaten a lot and as was onion
and garlic. Beef could only be seen frequently at the tables of the
rich. The middle class and poor tasted meat only during the sacred
festivity ceremonies, when animals were sacrificed on bema and their
meats were roasted and distributed. On the other hand, it can be said
that poultry and pork were cheaper. One ferkel of pork was 3 drachma.
breakfast, cheese, goat and sheep milk, raised abundantly in Assos and
pine smelling honey and olive from the skirts of mount Ida were eaten
with barley bread.
lunch and dinner, fish and barley bread were eaten alongside of wine
drunk from a goat or sheep skin bag. In extraordinary circumstances or
celebrations, they may have had wheat or corn bread... Red wine, which
was generally sweet and dense, was softened by adding some salty water.
Soup was also a favorite alimentary product. Especially barley soup,
called kokeon, taken with some cumin. Farmers and shepherds liked it
Local fruit such as hazel nuts, walnuts, pomegranates, grapes and figs were
usually served for dessert. Kitchen culture was enriched very much in
the Roman ear. Apicius' cook book, which has reached our days, gives an
idea about the variety and richness of this kitchen.
ancient times, travellers who approached Assos by way of Lecton and
Polimedion in the west or from the direction of Gargara and Antandros in
the east saw the silhouette of a building, raising towards the blue sky,
on a rocky hill behind which there was the sea. At the same time, this
building with its sharp-lined Doric columns was a symbol for sailors who
knew it very well and who could perceive it from a long distance while
they were approaching the city by sea. This was a temple dedicated to
the goddess who protected the city.
the beginning the people of Assos, gave priority to two points while
they were developing the city in the 6th century B.C. At first, they
built strong city walls and then erected a temple for their goddess, who
looked down upon these walls taking the city under her protective wings.
ground of the acropolis was leveled to build the temple local stone
from Assos and the building was oriented in the northwest-southeast
axis. Its entry, in compliance with a tradition in Anatolia, faced the
the people of Assos built the temple they were unaware that they
accomplished a very original deed even for the later centuries. Their
only wish was to satisfy their goddess with the aim of being under her
protection. But the building is also significant for us from the view
point of the history of architecture. First, it is the first and a
unique specimen, of archaic doric architecture in Anatolia. Besides, it
is the only example that the Doric architectural style was mixed with
the Ionian architectural elements frieze relief and some ornamentations.
With these features the temple has gained an original place in the
history of architecture in Anatolia.
temple consists of an inner room in a rectangular plan and a row of
columns encircling it outside. An altar in the east, which was a
tradition in old Hellenic temples, has not been found yet. In fact,
there must have been one; because the temple was the home of god
according to the Hellenes' religion. There had to be on object or a
sculpture that represented the god or the goddess at this home. A sacred
fire burning in a three-legged stand (tripod) was there. Gifts offered
to the gods were kept there and with the exception of priests and nuns,
no one was allowed to enter the temple. Worship was fulfilled outside,
they poured a sacred drink to the gods (libation), offered a sacrifice,
sang hymns. This altar was perhaps destroyed in the Byzantine era.
temple rests on a two stepped foundation. This two stepped height takes
the shape of a podium at the west end. The steps are 28 cm. in height
and a polygonal design in the from of a relief was elaborately made on
the vertical parts of the steps.
ground where the columns of the building rested (stylobate) measures
30.31x14.3 m. and its ratio is equivalent to ½.79 m. This inner
structure consists of an ante-chamber (pronaos) and a sacred chamber
(naos). Inner width of the ante-chamber is 6.65 m. and its depth is 3.30
m. There are two columns (in antis) between the jambs of the walls
(antee) at the entry. These columns are 91 cm. in diameter and are Doric
with 18 flutes. Entrance to the naos is through a door 1.65 m. in width.
Perhaps this door had two wings. A mosaic decorated with zigzags and a
meander motif made of black and white marble bits was unearthed on the
floor of the naos, the sacred chamber, where the statue of the goddess
stood, once upon a time, on a base, was cleaned in 1881. The mosaic was
made by placing stones into thin mortar. Unfortunately the mosaic is not
in its original place today. There remained only scattered mortar in the
a tracing of the naos wall, 66 cm. thick, drawn on the floor, can be
seen. The wall stones were displaced and reused in other buildings at an
columns on the short sides and 13 columns on the long sides surround the
building externally forming a row. There are 34 columns in total. Today,
32 capitals have been found in good condition. The others, brought back
from the harbor and the village, from slopes and the walls of other
buildings, have been collected in the temple area. Most of the columns
were broken and taken away. The ones that could be found in the vicinity
have been used in the restoration of the temple. The columns are 4.30 m.
in height without capitals, whereas they reach 4.78 m. with capitals.
The height of the columns is 1/3 of the width of the stylobate. The
height of the drums, forming the shafts, varies between 60-140 cm. The
diameter of the bottom drum is 91 cm. and the one at the top, (i.e.
under the capital) is 64 cm. They have 16 flutes. The sharp edge between
two flutes (arris) is perpendicular to the edge of the stylobate.
Intercolumnar span, from one center to another is 2.61 m. on the narrow
sides and 2.45 m. on the long sides. The space between the row of
columns and the wall of the naos (pteroma) is quite wide (3.03 m.).
the cover mouldings of the capitals (echinus) are all low and flat,
dating from the 6th century B.C., each column has a different profile.
This fact indicates that different hands were involved in the building
phase of the temple. As is seen in nearly all the Doric buildings,
necking rings (annolets) under the capitals were probably painted.
Traces of paint found support this idea.
epistyle (architrave) exists as a toothing and supporting constructional
element above the capitals. Dimensions of the architrave blocks, which
vary between 2.40 and 2.60, were then joined to one another by clamps at
the center points of the capitals. The surfaces of the architrave, on
the two narrow sides, are ornamented with relief sculptures. In the
middle of both sides two sphinxes facing each other, from the center of
the composition. After that, in the left corner. Heracles shooting a
Centaur with his arrows and the Centaur running away, were depicted. On
the right side, horsemen and worshipping figures and in the corner,
Heracles fighting with a triton are seen. On the other sides, lions
attacking a deer and a banquet scene (symposion) were represented. Among
the finds there are architrave blocks without any relief which indicates
that the upper structure completely encircled by a frieze.
the subjects depicted on the friezes, the one most emphasized relates to
the myth of the centaur. According to the myth, Heracles comes to a cave
on Pholos Mountain while he is chasing the Erymanthian boar. The
mountain takes its name from a centaur, Pholos, who lives in the cave.
The centaur, being half-man and half-horse, are quarrelsome creatures
but Pholos approaches Heracles with sympathy and offers him some roast
meat. A jar of wine had been sent to Pholos, son of Silenus, by
Dionysos, the god of wine, with the warning not to open it until
Heracles came. Pholos opens it in honor of his guest. Although the wine
is good and has a fine aroma, when the smell spreads and the other centaurs
are stimulated by it, they go mad. They attack Heracles with
sticks and stones. Heracles, at first chasing them with burning wood,
disperses them. He then takes to them with his arrows. Nephele, the
mother of the centaurs (and the creator of clouds) causes a heavy rain
to fall in which Heracles can no longer chase them or stand on his feet.
Despite this, the most courageous of the centaurs dies and the others
run away. This myth has been symbolically depicted on the friezes.
are seen on the architrave as a typical element of Doric order. In fact
a triglyph is a functional element of wooden construction that turned
into an adornment element is stone construction. One triglyph was placed
above each column. Slabs (metops) were placed between the triglyphs and
both of these elements were united with each other. A boar, a centaur
two male figures facing each other, a sphinx, horseman and competing
athletes were depicted in reliefs on the metops. As Aeolic architectural
elements, crowns of the metops were adorned with a motif in the form of
a Lesbian leaf. There is neither a relief nor any other adornment on the
triangular termination of the pitched roof (pediment) of the temple. On
the apex of the triangular pediment is an acroterium with spiral
ornaments and on the lower angles are two acroters in the form of sphinx
roof was covered of dark brown painted tiles. Considering the sculptural
work found, the building must have been completed around 525 B.C.
Unfortunately, very few of the sculptures from this building identified
here, have remained or survived. At first some of the reliefs were taken
to the Louvre in 1838. Then an important part of the reliefs and the
artifacts from minor excavations unearthed during the American
operations in 1881, were transported to the museum of Boston. The
remains of the building are now undergoing restoration with pieces found
in Turkish excavations, resumed in 1981.
HARBOUR OF ASSOS
road paved with stones passed through from the west necropolis and
reached down to the shore. The width of the shore where the skirts of
the rocky hills join the sea is narrow. For this reason no real
settlement has developed on the shore. Yet, a harbour was built on the
rocky skirt of the hill for it was the only connection to the sea.
Today, remnants of an older harbour surrounding the restored mole of the
19 th century and the sill stones of the ancient mole, each measuring 90
cm. in width and more than 2 m. in length can be clearly seen if one
looks down. A smaller mole sill, which is 50 m. west of this one, can be
easily observed. At the point where this mole joins the shore is a
fountain, the water of which springs immediately onto the shore. Water
from this foundation, most probably dating to the Antiquity, is used
big harbour was a wharf in the 19th century where acorn, raised in the
hinterland and used as an industrial dye, was exported. For this reason
it has been repaired from time to time and, as a result, its original
appearance has been lost.
HOUSE ARCHITECTURE IN ASSOS
the framework of our present knowledge the history of Behramkale goes
back to the Bronze Age and the architecture in the village, which has
developed within the ancient city walls, differs from that of the
surrounding villages with its characteristic planning and workmanship.
Differences are distinguished both in the location of buildings and the
landscape. The building area gives opportunities for topographical
tricks as well. Along with this, houses differ from one another
according to their building periods. For instance, planning arrangement
and building techniques of the houses built in the beginning of the
century and of those built in 1940's and of the others built by 1980 are
different. All of the buildings are of local basalt. The old buildings
were built of roughly dressed stones and clay mortar. Their roofs are
flat. At first, pressed mud and then a kind of earth composed of broken
rocks from the surrounding environment, called stretcher, were covered on
the roof after placing plate stones on wooden ratters and the roof was
pressed by a cylindrical stone.
Houses built between 1960-1980 were
roofed with tiles. Both the sizes of rooms and the dimensions of windows
were kept smaller against heat loss in these houses. It is understood
that there was no glass on the windows until recent times, instead,
wooden shutters were used. There are hearths in two rooms of each house
which have built in cupboards and covered closets (bathing cells). None
of the rooms has a bench designed for a sofa. In the main room sofas are
placed on the floor, at the foot of the walls and a carpet, or a kilim,
is laid on them and cushions are placed behind those sitting.
to: history page