Assos (Behramkale) Turkey


Philosophy is back...

Sunset, wine, thyme, olive oil, fish, sea, serenity, and love… a couple of words to summarize Assos of Turkey… more than enough to attract people here all year round. It was a significant Aegean Sea port located in the south of the Trojan region and across the Lesbos Island which is well-known as being the hometown of the famous poet Sappho. St Paul's visit here on his way to Lesbos Island makes the city all the more important in Christian history.

The present-day Turkish fishing harbor at the site of the ancient city is called Behramkale. The earliest settlement dated to the 3rd millennium BC was mentioned as Assuwa in Hittite documents and was referred to as Pedasos in Iliad of Homers. The powerful and prosperous city witnessed uncountable tribes and civilizations pass by in its lifetime of 4000 years, and itself became a notable center for philosophy in the 4th century BC. Aristotle was invited to Assos by King Hermias in 348 BC, whom he had met in Athens when they were both disciples of Plato. Aristotle stayed here for three years and opened an academy which became the source of many enlightened philosophers who were to be valued as pioneers for ages to come.

Temple of Athena has the most beautiful scenery of the Aegean and Lesbos Island which is the highlight of the day. Aristotle must have spent lots of time here trying to predict the future of humanity; his mind full of ideas and more questions than answers. When the spectacular sunset before your eyes and luscious wine bedazzles you, there sits Aristotle across the table discussing serious matters of the day. Athena Temple from 6th century BC is the only sacred building in the ancient world in Doric order in Anatolia. On the other hand, the appearance of ornamental frieze which is a characteristic element of Ionic order gives the temple an individual place in the history of Anatolian architecture as the unique example of a dual-ordered monument.

Assos, in addition to her legendary Temple of Athena, awaits the history lovers and explorers with her city walls, gates, agora, theater, gymnasium and ancient harbor which will amaze you with history, natural beauty, and untouched peaceful environment and with its important role in human intellectual development. Furthermore, the Turkish village, popular retreat Behramkale is almost a fairy tale with its cozy little boutique hotels converted from traditional stone houses, Turkish tea offered all day long by the friendly locals, varieties of beautiful handicrafts, narrow cobblestone streets and seaside restaurants where the best of Aegean olive oil cold starters and seafood is served.

Philosophy is back! Meetings organized by the Assos Academy of Philosophy is becoming more popular every year, particularly in western European and North American countries and Turkey. These are non-formal meetings simulating the conditions in ancient times, and most of the participants are philosophy professors, instructors, students and anyone who has love and interest for it.