This lesser-known ancient settlement covers an area of 400 hectares, just acrossBozcaada, the Tenedos Island. It was founded in 310 or 309 BC by Antigonus the One Eye (a noble commander of Alexander the Great) and was first called Antigonia Troas. It was 301 BC, when Lysimachus, successor of Alexander the Great, renamed the city Alexandria Troas to honor his legendary predecessor.
When the Romans took over, it was initially declared "free and autonomous". Serving as the main port of northwest Anatolia for more than a century, its population is estimated to have reached around 100000 during the Roman era. Roman emperors Augustus and Hadrian, and prefect (the administrative leader) of the western Anatolia (provincia Asia) Herodes Atticus sponsored its development in various ways. Julius Caesar granted the city the privileges of the highest status of the Roman cities, a colonia!
Alexandria Troas plays a key role in Saint Paul's missionary expeditions. This is where he stayed before he left Asia for Europe for the first time.
When Constantine the Great was founding the Eastern Roman Empire, Alexandria Troas was among the candidate cities as a new capital. During the Byzantine era, the city and its harbor lost its attraction and power. The Ottoman Turks used to call the ruins "Eski Stambul", meaning, "the old Istanbul" or "the old city". Some columns from the ancient site were utilized when the New Mosque in Istanbul was being built between 1660 and 1665.
Today, the site is being excavated by the archaeological team from Ankara University, and entrance and a breathtaking view of sunset are free of charge. The excavations may take a generation's lifetime, the ruins are patiently awaiting daylight to expose their glamorous history.
Alexandria Troas is located right in the middle of the western edge of the Biga Peninsula (Troad), 56 km north of Assos and 35 km south of Troy. Driving on the road amidst the pleasing nature between Assos and Alexandria Troas gives one the opportunity of paying short visits to Babakale, the westernmost end of Asia, and also to the temple of Apollo Smintheus.
When you visit Alexandria Troas, if you understand Turkish and are lucky enough, maybe you even can meet the highly enthusiast and well-versed guard of the site, and learn some highlights about the area from him.