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Behramkale & Assos

History

The Mysian city of Assos was founded in the 8th century BC by colonists from Lesvos, who later built its great temple to Athena in 530 BC. The city enjoyed its greatest prosperity under the rule of Hermeias, a one-time student of Plato who also ruled the Troad and Lesvos. Hermeias encouraged philosophers to live in Assos. Aristotle himself lived here from 348 to 345 BC and ended up marrying Hermeias’ niece, Pythia. Assos’ glory days came to an end with the advent of the Persians, who crucified Hermeias.

Alexander the Great drove the Persians out, but Assos’ importance was challenged by the ascendancy of Alexandria Troas to the north. From 241 to 133 BC the city was ruled by the kings of Pergamum.

St Paul visited Assos briefly during his third missionary journey, walking here from Alexandria Troas to meet St Luke before taking a boat to Lesvos.

In late-Byzantine times the city dwindled to a village. Turkish settlers arrived and called the village Behramkale. However, only the coming of tourism revived its fortunes.