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Yunus Emre Institute Visited Troya for Ancient Wonders Lecture Series

The talk was given by archaeologist Dr. Rüstem Aslan, head of excavations.

Washington, D.C. - On Friday, February 26th, Yunus Emre Institute in Washington, D.C. hosted the third edition of the Ancient Wonders Lecture Series with guest speaker Dr. Rüstem Aslan. Dr. Aslan is the chief archaeologist at the Troya archaeological site, and he educated the institute’s guests about the latest information from his work there. Several hundred people were able to attend the event both in the virtual meeting room and through a live stream on the institute’s social media pages.

Troya, known in the west as Troy, is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Çanakkale, Turkey. It was founded around 3000 B.C., and was resettled eight more times until it was abandoned permanently around 500 A.D. The site is most famous for being the setting for Homer’s epic, the Iliad, which tells the story of the Trojan War between King Agamenmon and the city of Troy.

Dr. Aslan’s talk explained the true history of Troya, the archaeologists who have studied it over the last two centuries, and how the local community is protecting the site today. He explained how Troya was founded and later became involved in conflicts that modern scholars believe were Homer’s Trojan War. Dr. Aslan also showed that Troya was abandoned due to earthquakes that devastated the city sometime in the 5th century A.D. and changes in the coastline that deprived the city of sea access. He described how archaeology changed from the 19th century to the modern day and how primitive methods may have permanently destroyed much of the evidence that his team is still searching for today. He concluded with a short film about the new Troya Museum, which opened in 2018 to critical acclaim.

As the lecture concluded, the Yunus Emre Institute and Dr. Aslan welcomed any questions that guests might have had. There were many curious guests in the audience with insightful questions. They had questions about specific artifacts like the evidence behind the famed Trojan Horse and whether Trojan artifacts had been found in neighboring regions. Dr. Aslan explained that there are several competing theories about the Trojan Horse. He gave the most credence to the theory that the wooden horse is completely allegorical in reference to how important horses were to winning battles at the time. He also mentioned that some researchers believe that the wooden horse may reference war ships because Homer’s writings call ships “war horses.” He additionally explained that artifacts from as far away as Afghanistan were found in the city. Overall, the guests really appreciated that Dr. Aslan took the time to explain some of the crucial details of the Troya archaeological site and its recent discoveries.

Yunus Emre Institute is a Turkish cultural center located in Washington, D.C. and around the world. The institute hosts events and programs that educate the public about Turkey’s culture, history, and language. For more information about the institute’s mission or online programs, please email or follow @yeewdc on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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