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Assos, the ancient Aeolian city clinging to a rocky hillside above the charming and fairly sensitively developed fishing village of Behramkale, is a splendid retreat from the hustle and bustle of many nearby 'must-see' sites and resorts.

Only really finding it's place on the tourist map at the end of the 1980's the village has a relaxed air to it and although you may be offered olive oil (which is actually very good), soap and, of course, carpets there is still very little in the way of pressure selling here.

In the summer you will find a phalanx of tourist buses dropping off day trippers to visit the ruins and have lunch but the majority of them will fade early to get to their hotels for the night and leave you to enjoy a rare tranquility and outrageously unspoiled vistas across the bay of Edrimit to Lesbos.

The acropolis dates from the bronze age with the city dated to the 7th century BC. The sight of the defense walls, of which 3 km's are still standing inspires a respect for the masons who erected them 2500 years ago. Sufficient ruins remain to give the traveler an idea of the layout of the citadel although the only intact monument is a mosque with rather a checkered past.

The harbor is pleasant enough although you'll have to travel 3 or 4 km to find a beach. A walk down from the upper village will take you 20 minutes or so, depending how many corners you cut on the hairpin road, bringing you to a cluster of hotels, pensions and restaurants perched on the edge of sea. Busy in the summer and popular with Turks who are seeking a romantic weekend away or just change of pace you're advised to book ahead during June, July and August.

The best accessible beach is at nearby Kadirga, half an hours walk if you follow the coast from the harbor or descend from the back of the citadel above. Reasonable sand and not too busy as a result of the location. If you don't fancy the walk you can probably hitch from Assos or try and jump a fishing boat (although their working day may not align with your schedule).


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