Abydos is located six kilometers north of Canakkale city on the Asian side of the Dardanelles, which span the Gallipoli peninsula. The location was a titular see of Troas in Asia Minor, an ancient city, and Cyzicus’ suffrage in the province of Hellespont. Because of its location at the Hellespont’s narrowest point, which allowed for easier passage control and the collection of tolls from travelers, the city grew prosperous over the ages.
Around the seventh century BC, Abydos was first settled by Greeks. Darius, the Persian monarch, took control of the city in 513 BC and levied heavy taxes. To defend itself against the Persians, Abydos joined the Attic-Delos Maritime League in 447 BC. A state-center of Sparta, Abydos was established by the Spartan general Lysandros during the Peloponnesian War between the Spartans and the Athenians.
It became a part of Macedonia in the 4th century BC, under the reign of Alexander the Great. Later, in the third and second centuries BC, it was ruled by the Kingdom of Pergamum, and subsequently, in the second century BC, by the Romans. Up to the entrance of the Turks in the fifteenth century, the city was a Christian settlement throughout the Byzantine era.
Due to its inclusion in numerous mythology and historical accounts, Abydos has gained notoriety. For instance, it was the location of Leander’s (Leandros’) swim to Sestus (close to the town of Eceabat in Thrace today) to see his mistress, Hero, as described in Homer’s Iliad.
According to Herodotus, the Persian monarch Xerxes constructed the well-known bridge of boats here in 480 BC. He crossed it with his army en route to Greece by way of a cape on the opposite side of Europe, and he set it on fire to ensure that his army would not return. Additionally, in 334 BC, Alexander the Great entered Anatolia via this area while on a campaign against the Persians.
There isn’t much of Abydos left today, except from a few barely noticeable wall remnants. The location has not yet been excavated.