Project aims to revive a centuries-old route

Project aims to revive a centuries-old route

BALIKESİR - Doğan News Agency
Project aims to revive a centuries-old route

The creator of the project, Gürcan Polat says they plan to outline a mountain road from Troy and open it to cultural tourism as the ‘Aeneas Road.’ DHA photo

Professor Gürcan Polat, who heads the ongoing excavations at the ancient city of Antandros, near the town of Altınoluk in Edremit in the northwestern province of Balıkesir, is spearheading a project to revive the route Trojan War hero Aeneas on his journey from Antandros to Italy.

The project’s goal is to make the Edremit Gulf a center for historical toursim, Polat said, adding that he is looking for a sponsor to help him realize it. The starting point of the project, a collaborative effort of the EU Ministry, the Altınoluk Association to Rescue, Protect and Maintain Altınoluk, and Pro Loco Castro, is the Trojan War figure Aeneas, Polat said.

“After many centuries, we hope to revive the journey of Aeneas, who left Troy after the war, came to Antandros to construct a ship and then went to Italy,” Polat said. “The project is titled ‘Anatolia-Europe Mythological and Historical Union Castro-Antandros Project.’ According to legend, Aeneas was a hero who was charged by the gods with forming a new city of Troy for the survival of their dynasty after the war, and he constructed 20 ships and set sail to form a new Troy. For this project, we will construct two ancient ships and a companion ship with the help of volunteers. Following the same route, we will go to Castro, where Aeneas set foot in Italy, and then to Rome.”

After landing in Castro, Aeneas went to the Lavinium region and married Lavinia, the daughter of a local king there, Polat said.

“And he formed the core of today’s Rome with the name Albalaonga. This is why today there is a tight historical and mythological connection with Rome and Antandros. Our project is designed to raise awareness about this connection in Turkey and Europe. It will not only be limited to the journey; we will also make a documentary about the journey and broadcast it on European television. We need 1 million Turkish Liras in order to realize this project, which is why we have been looking for a sponsor. The mayor of Castro said the town would be able to sponsor the construction of the ships,” Polat said. “We plan to outline a mountain road from Troy and open it to cultural tourism as the ‘Aeneas Road.’ There will be small tourist accommodation establishments with an ancient theme along the road. Visitors will be able to wear ancient dress and take tours on ancient ships. We also plan to ask the Turkish dance troupe Fire of Anatolia to create a new piece titled ‘Aeneas.’”

The project was approved by the European Union on April 25, 2011, and on July 7, 2011, Altınoluk and Castro became sister cities.