You are currently viewing Assos


Ancient Cities in Turkey

Assos, the ancient Aeolian city clinging to a rocky hillside above the charming and fairly sensitively developed fishing village of Behramkale in the Aegean region, is a splendid retreat from the hustle and bustle of many nearby ‘must-see’ sites and resorts.

Only really finding its place on the tourist map at the end of the 1980’s, the village has a relaxed air to it and although you may be offered olive oil, soap and, of course, carpets there is still very little in the way of pressure selling here. In the summer you may find a phalanx of tourist buses dropping off day trippers to visit the ruins and have lunch but the majority of them will fade early to get to their hotels for the night and leave you to enjoy a rare tranquility and outrageously unspoiled vistas across the bay of Edremit to Lesvos island.

The acropolis, built on a hill 236 meters above the sea level, dates from the bronze age with the city dated to the 7th century BC. The sight of the defense walls of which 3 kilometers are still standing inspires a respect for the masons who erected them 2500 years ago. And on the top of the city the Temple of Athena, goddess of the city and fine arts and war, has the best place to watch the sunset. The temple has 6 columns on the short sides and 13 on the long sides surrounding the building externally with one row. Sufficient ruins remain to give the traveler an idea of the layout of the citadel although the only intact monument is a mosque with rather a checkered past.

The harbor is pleasant enough although you’ll have to travel 3 or 4 kilometers to find a beach. A walk down from the upper village will take you 20 minutes or so, depending how many corners you cut on the hairpin road, bringing you to a cluster of hotels, pensions and restaurants perched on the edge of sea. Busy in the summer and popular with Turks who are seeking a romantic weekend away or just change of pace, you’re advised to book ahead during June, July and August, as well as for the weekends.

The best accessible beach is at near-by Kadirga, half an hours walk if you follow the coast from the harbor or descend from the back of the citadel above. Reasonable sand and not too busy as a result of the location. If you don’t fancy the walk you can probably hitch from Assos or jump on a small fishing boat for the trip.