Neandria

The ancient city of Neandria ( Neandreia in Greek ) ) is just 20 km from Ezine near the village of Kayacik on the peak of the Çığrı Mountain which is some 500 metres above sea level. The name Neandreia means “Young man” or “homeland of the young man” in ancient Greek.

The site is not particularly well signposted and not easy to reach either which is surprising since it would appear to be a site of major archaelogical importance. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this site is its sheer size. This would have been a large city.

The remains of this ancient city are not likely to impress anyone initially but a good walk around might change your mind. You will need to park your vehicle on the main road and be prepared for a fairly long walk. The walls around the city are 3km long and you need to get to the site first.

The views from the top of the mountain are pretty spectacular and the visitor gets to see why this site was chosen as a place to build a city. Strategically it was well placed and it would have been much easier to defend than the flat lands by the sea.

Neandria started off as a Greek colony dating back to around 700 BC. In 399 BC it became part of the Persian Empire but by 310 BC it had all but been abandoned. There is evidence to suggest that the inhabitants moved to Alexandria Troas by the sea.

Alexander the Great roamed these lands with his armies as did the Persians and the Romans. The city would have been under a number of rulers during its lifetime but the exact history of Neandria is difficult to determine. This would have been a prosperous city in its heyday and it minted its own bronze and silver coins.

The first archaeological excavations were carried out by Frank Calvert in 1865, a British archaelogist who introduced Heinrich Schleiman to Troy. He owned a fine house and gardens in Canakkale on land that is today the city park.

In 1899 a German architect and archaeologist by the name of Robert Johann Koldewey spent some time here during just one season and much of what we know is based on his findings. He was of the opinion that further work would have been rewarding but unfortunately not much has happened since and the site continues to weather the elements as it has done for the past 2.5 thousand years.
Many of the ancient sites in this area would have been pillaged for their stone and the stone would have been re-used in the construction of mosques or important projects in Istanbul. The fact that Neandria is up on a mountain side in a remote location has been its saving grace.

The defence walls are 1400 metres long and 450 metres wide. Virtually the whole of the top plateau of the mountain would have contained the old city.

The most important discovery in Neandria was the ruins of an Apollon Temple which would have been built around the 6th or 7th century. It is the oldest known example of a Greek temple in Asia Minor. The columns from this temple can be seen in the Archaeological museum in Istanbul.

There is also mention of an agora, a stadium and a theatre here at Neandrea but there is nothing to see today. The entire interior of Neandria within the city walls is just an abandoned plateau of around 40 hectares which is littered with rocks and some masonry parts.

Just what lies beneath the soil awaits discovery. Even the excavations that were carried out have now been covered over with soil blown around by the winds.

Perhaps one day in the not too distant future the site will attract the attentions of historians and archaeologists once more. Until then it will sit there under the sun and wait.

Leave a Reply