Assos, home of the Athena Temple, the School of Philosophy established by Aristo and visited by St.P

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

Temple of Athena, Assos, Canakkale, Turkey

Assos, was founded on the slopes of a volcanic hill at the southern end of the region named Troas in Antique times which is opposite to the Lesbos Island. Troas which is a part of the Biga Peninsula is located within the borders of Behramkale and is about 17 km far away from the historical town Ayvacık district of Çanakkale (Gallipoli) province, Turkey.

The ancient site lies on a hill of 235 m over the sea level and has a panoramic view over the coastline (southern) of the Aeagen Sea as can be seen in almost all photograpies of this article. Eastward of the hill is the Gulf of Edremit (Adramyttion) and Mount Ida whereas on to the northward the Valley of the River Tuzla (Satnioeis, ancient name).

Brief History of Assos

Assos was initialy settled within the Bronze Age. This city is mentioned in texts of the Hittite as Assuwa. In additon, in Homer's Iliad Assos (as Pedasos) is also mentioned in his epic. According to the historical documents, Assos, was founded by the inhabitants (Methymnians) from the Lesbos in the 7th century BC. Afterwards it came in to the control of the following kingdoms, 6th century Persian Empire, 5th century BC Athenian Confederacy and 4th century again Persian control.

As a timeline, Assos, was under the domination of Lydia, Persia, Pergamun, Rome and was abandoned in the Middle Ages.

The discovery of the ancient site came during 1880-1883 by Francis H.Bacon's excavation of the American Archaeological Institute.

Temple of Athena

The Acropolis, is located at the highest point of the city whereas on the east side of the acropolis the temple of Athena is situated where it could easily be seen when one approaches the city from the sea. The Temple was standing on 6 x 13 columns and was built out of andesite blocks carved out of the rocks of the acropolis.

Constructed on the top of the acropolis, visible from far out to sea and commanding panoramic views all over the lands, the position of the Temple of Athena is as fascinating and breath taking monument as it must have been in antiquity. The temple of Athena is unique for an example in Doric order in Archaic Anatolia, but it is also single with its combination of Doric order with Ionic frieze and other unusual architectural decorations.

Banquet Assos Louvre / Paris

The decorative architectural remains of the temple are stored in the collections of the museums in

  • Paris (France),

  • Boston (USA),

  • Istanbul (Turkey)

  • Çanakkale (Turkey).

School of Philosophy by Aristoteles and visited by St.Paul


In 350 BC, When Assos came under the control of Hermias, who was a former student in Plato's Academy (Plato, a philosopher in Classical Greece and the founder of the Academy in Athens). Hermias invited Aristotle and Xenocrates to establish a philosophical school at Assos. Aristotle, lived 3 years in the city in 347 BC and founded the school of philosophy.

In 56 AD, Assos, was visited by St. Paul during his missionary journey through Asia Minor. The city was one of the first western Anatolian cities that converted to Christianity.

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