Lower City of Troy

GPS coordinates: 39.956910, 26.237122

Archaeological site: 

Lower City of Troy
Lower City of Troy


This text is a fragment of a guidebook to Troy "The Secrets of Troy (TAN Travel Guide)".

The Lower City of Troy VI/VIIa (13th-14th century BCE) stretches outside the citadel, to the west. Stone foundations of numerous houses have been identified here. The most spectacular finds from the Lower City include a bronze statuette and a terracotta bull figurine. Excavations are still being conducted in this area, bringing new, exciting discoveries every year.

The main sightseeing path of ancient Troy focuses on the traces of this ancient city within the fortification walls. The vast Lower City has not been thoroughly examined, as less than two percent of this residential area has been excavated so far. Much information about it has been gained through magnetic prospection.

As most of the people lived here, outside the central citadel, it means that there is still much to learn about their lives, customs, and practices. One of the excavated buildings - the Terrace House of Troy VI - had several rooms with a second story, and it may have served religious purposes as evidenced by the finds: a bronze statuette and the ceramic image of a bull. One thing is sure: the comfortable lives of the Lower City inhabitants finished abruptly when Troy VIIa was destroyed, as confirmed by the finds from the destruction level: weapons, skeletons, and burnt remains. The relationship of these objects with the events described in the Iliad is a subject of much scholarly debate.

After the destruction of Troy VIIa, the immigrants settled within the citadel, but only a few buildings were constructed outside the walls. These newly arrived people were most probably from the Balkans or the Lower Danube region. They brought with them the tradition of handmade pottery. Their living conditions within the small area of the citadel were very crowded, the earlier squares and streets had to be built over with houses, filled with large storage vessels -- the pithoi.

By this time, Troy had lost much of its geographically strategic importance because it was no longer near the coast, due to the silting of the Simois and Scamander rivers. Moreover, other cities such as Sigeion, Achilleion, and Abydos were founded nearby, replacing Troy in geopolitical importance.

The existence of the Lower City was an indicator of Troy's periods of prosperity: while this area was virtually abandoned in the late II millennium BCE, it was revived by the arrival of the Greek colonists around 750 BCE.

It expanded even more when the city became part of the Roman Empire. In these times, there was considerable activity in the large residential district of the Lower City. This external settlement stretched in the dense configuration of buildings to the west, east, and south of the central citadel. Many of the dwellings were richly decorated villas, with mosaic floors and painted ceilings. The streets of the Lower City were wide and paved with stones, reaching 5 meters in width.

In time, Troy declined again, after a series of devastating earthquakes that shook the city around 500 CE. They destroyed the functioning waterways by turning them into swamps. These disastrous events were soon followed by the outbreak of malaria and the bubonic plague. As in the Late Bronze Age, the remaining Trojans once again took shelter on within the citadel and abandoned the Lower City. The last traces of the city’s existence are several late-sixth-century coins. Thus, when the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II arrived at the ruined citadel in 1462, the site had been abandoned for around a millennium. Mehmed II regarded the Trojan warriors as his kinsmen as his speech made during the visit emphasized his conquest of Constantinople as the vengeance for the Trojans’ defeat by the Greeks. This act clearly shows the power of memories surrounding Troy that are still repeated and recalled in the modern culture and show business.

Visitor tips: 

Walk along the Western Sanctuary, following the path further to the south, and then turn to the right. After 25 meters you will get to the Lower City of Troy, situated outside the Upper City of Troy on the Hisarlık Mound, and stretching far beyond its fortifications. This outer settlement was also protected by a defensive system consisting of a 4-meter-wide ditch paired with a palisade, enclosing an area measuring between 25 and 35 ha.