The city of Troy (Truva, Troia) is immortalized in Homer's epic poem, the Illiad. The Illiad is the story of great war between the Greeks and the Trojans, started when Paris steals beautiful Helen and brings her back to Troy. For ten years the war went on, until Odysseus came up with a brilliant plan. A huge wooden horse was built, the Greeks appeared to sail away, and the Trojans brought the horse inside their fortified city. While the Trojans were celebrating their victory, the Greek soldiers hidden inside the horse attacked the city, and Troy was conquered.

Troy was a real city, actually there were at least ten different Troys, built and destroyed over 3,500 years. The first Troy dates back to 3000 BC; the Troy of Homer is around 1300 - 1200 BC. Alexander the Great made a visit to Troy, and later Roman emperors declared they were descendents of Aeneas, the mythical Trojan hero who escaped from Troy and founded Rome.

In the 19th century, Heinrich Schliemann went on a search to find the ruins of Troy. Here at Hisarlik, he dug trenches and found remains of a walled city, and then a cache of ancient gold jewelry. Schliemann declared he'd discovered "Priam's treasure," but the gold jewelry was much older than Homer's Troy.

Editor's note: You won't see the treasure gold from Troy in a museum in Turkey - the gold first went to Germany, and it's now in a museum in Russia.

The ruins of Troy - Don't come to Troy expecting to see magnificent towers and walls, the ruins are layers deep. But there's reason enough for kids to have a first-hand experience of Troy. From the top look west, over the plain, now a checkerboard of cultivated fields, towards the Aegean Sea. And just imagine a fleet of Greek ships decorated in bright colors, coming to fight the Trojans.
Climb up the huge wooden replica of the Trojan horse, and peer out through the square windows. Kids can pretend they are Greek soldiers, waiting to attack Troy. You're equipped with food and water, but you'll have to keep quiet so you don't give away your presence.
City walls - At the eastern end of the ruins, walk along of the thick limestone walls, punctuated with five gates (Troy VI), which gives you an idea of the fortifications of the city.
Megaron - This is a reconstructed square-walled building from Troy II, around 2500 BC, made of bright red clay bricks.
Temple of Athena - Alexander the Great stopped at Troy (Troy VIII), and ordered up a brand new temple. There's nothing much left of it, but look for a beautiful fragment of stone with square indents, one piece of the huge ceiling in the temple.
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