How Troy changed the fate of a village

How Troy changed the fate of a village

While looking forward to the opening of the Troy Museum, we have visited Tevfikiye village in Çanakkale, just next to the Troy excavation site, with OPET board member Nurten Öztürk. 

Before continuing, I have to mention the “Respect for History” project, which began in 2006 in Gallipoli Peninsula under the guidance of Nurten Öztürk.

To date, $30 million had been spent for the project, which also included the rehabilitation of eight villages and four martyrs’ cemeteries in the territory of the Gallipoli National Park.

Nurten Öztürk, who already knows each detail about the region has rolled up her sleeves again due to the international “Year of Troy 2018” project.

This time, she focuses solely on the rehabilitation of the Tevfikiye Village.

Founded 140 years ago by immigrants, who mostly arrived from Bulgaria, the stones from the Troy excavation site were used in the construction of the houses. The walls of the houses, which were built with beautiful stones that are a thousand years old, still remain the same.

The head of the excavation, professor Rüstem Aslan, is also the author of the book “Troy” and stands among the group welcoming us at the entrance of the village.

Aslan and academics from Çanakkale’s 18 March University are among the experts who support the rehabilitation of the village.

Mythology on the village walls

“With its unique atmosphere, Tevfikiye village has become an archeo-village projecting the era of Troy,” Aslan tells us.

As he has said, it is the first time a living village has transformed into an archeo-village.

The complete story of the legend of Troy is inscribed into the enormous panels that are showcased starting from the entrance of the village, which is located just across the Museum of Troy.

When you arrive in the middle of the village, you already know enough about the mythological heroes in Homer’s Iliad.

The old school of the village, which is no longer in use, has been transformed into a remarkably cute little hostel.

Under the guidance of Nurten Öztürk, who profoundly values education, 17 different courses from handicrafts to English and business management to marketing have been launched.

We have also learned there has been an intense interest for these courses, which have been continuing since February.

The 200-house village has been visited by local and foreign tourists thanks to the ancient city of Troy. With only three hostels and a hotel up until five to six years ago, the village has also suffered from recent difficulties in the tourism sector.

Homer’s Meatballs, Schliemann’s toast

Now, with OPET’s archeo-village project, the destiny of the village is surely to be changed.

As Öztürk indicates, the road on the way to the Troy excavation site and to the Troy museum passes through the entrance of the village.

Visitors will surely stop in the village to shop and be inclined to stay in the hostels.

While passing by the newly opened small artisan stores in the village, Aslan points at a young girl, indicating she is the “only female entrepreneur” in the village.

Yasemin Polat has recently opened a meatball restaurant called “Homer’s Meatballs.”

“Prof. Manfred Osman Korfmann, who has managed the Troy excavations for years, used to say the tomatoes in the village should be sold as ‘Troy tomatoes.’ Troy is a well-known brand,” says Aslan.

Now, with the archeo-village project, I also expect “Achilles’ salad” and “Schliemann’s toast” to be sold in coffeehouses in the village.

In the meantime, we attended a dinner reception as guests of Çanakkale Governor Orhal Taylı in the village’s wedding-ceremony hall, which has been turned into an utterly different building. We were served “Troy’s Globi dessert” and “Troy’s syrup,” prepared by chef Özle Mekik.