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.
Warning Regarding Museum Visiting Hours:
Our Visiting Hours: Our Visiting Hours for Assos, Troy, Apollon Smintheion Archaeological Sites are Open Every Day of the Week*:
During the Summer Season (April 1 to October 1) 08:30-20:00** Box Office Closing 19:30
During the Winter Season (October 1st to April 1st) 08:30-17:30 ***Clock Office is 17:00."
* Our Museums and Archaeological Sites are closed until 13.00 on the first day of Religious Holidays.
** In case of high demand for visiting the Ancient Site for the summer season, the sunset times are calculated and the closing time is updated periodically as 21.30 by the Governor's Decision and announced separately.
*** Box Office Closing stops issuing tickets half an hour before the closing of the Museum and Ruins by calculating the minimum travel time. (Museum card or museum card application can be used in order to avoid any problems. It is strongly requested to comply with the Exit Time strictly.)