Çanakkale Apollon Smintheion

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Apollo Smintheion of the Dardanelles

The Apollon Smintheus Sanctuary (Smintheion), located in the town of Gülpınar, Ayvacık, Çanakkale, bears traces of the settlement of the Chalcolithic period, as well as the Hellenistic and Roman period building remains, and offers new archaeological data for the cultural history of the region and western Anatolia.

The sanctuary of Apollo Smintheion is the second most important sanctuary of Troas after the temple of Athena in the city of Troy. The importance of the sanctuary is due to the fact that it is the only example of a mouse icon among the known Apollo cults in Anatolia. Etymologically, Apollo Smintheus means” Lord of the Mice". Apollo Smintheus appears in the region of Troas as a god who protects farmers from mice. It is known that the origin of the mouse cult goes back to Crete. We learn from ancient sources that this cult was brought by those who migrated from Crete to Anatolia in 2000 B.C.

The most important structure of the Apollon Smintheion sanctuary is the Temple of Apollon Smintheus, and the temple built in the Ionic style is dated to 150 B.C. The most remarkable thing about the temple of Apollo Smintheus is the reliefs that take their subject from the Trojan War described in Homer's Iliad epic. The temple, decorated with relief friezes on the theme of the Iliad, is a singular example of this feature. We can follow the narrative of the Iliad in parts of the temple's swells. Only 24 meters of the 120-meter-long reliefs have been unearthed now, and this temple, located near the ancient cities of Hamaksitos and Khryse, maintains its importance in the world of archeology with its unique architectural style in the Hellenistic Age western Anatolian architectural art and its original plastic works.

During his excavations, which have been carried out since 1980 under the direction of Coşkun Özgünel, many structures such as the bath, residences, and, the sacred street related to the sanctuary were unearthed, as well as the temple. The Smintheion excavations have also focused on the Chalcolithic period settlement, whose existence was known here since 2004. The Chalcolithic Smintheion settlement, which is understood to have been inhabited between 5200 and 4800 B.C according to archeometry dating, represents a period that characterizes the Troas region before Troy.

There is also a small museum, where the temple friezes can be seen, in the area where excavations continue, which shed light on history today. Restoration works of the temple are also continuing, and a part of it has been raised to show its architectural feature.


08:30-20:00 Saturday 08:30-20:00 Sunday 08:30-20:00
Box Office Closed 19:30
08:30-17:30 Saturday 08:30-17:30 Sunday 08:30-17:30
Box Office Closed 17:00

65 and over - Turkish citizens Free
Children ages 0-8 - Non-Turkish Citizens Free
Children ages 0-18 - Citizens of Turkey Free
Students (Studying art history, archaeology and museum departments in university) Free
All Adults (International and Turkish) 20.00TL
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Çanakkale Apollon Smintheion Gülpınar Köyü - Ayvacık/Çanakkale
+90 (286) 217-6740
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