It is very rewarding to hear that excavations at the site of
still ongoing since I last was there in 2007. Issus is situated near
the Pinarus River
(modern ) where Alexander the Great faced King
Darius III for the first time, although this was his second battle against
the Persians (that occurred at the Granicus).
This significant battle took place in 333 BC and we know how Alexander came out of it victorious. Payas River
Today’s appearance of
is non-impressive, a mere hill in the middle of an oil refinery guarded by an
overseers with a gun. Excavations have been carried out over the past eight
years and so far we know that the city lived off trade and was already
important in 545 BC.
Beside a Roman road lined with shops, archaeologists have unearthed a Roman amphitheater and the seats have already been cleared. Work is now concentrating on exposing the stage. Another important feature is the Odeon that seems to have served as a music room. It has been suggested that people suffering from certain ailments were brought into this room to enjoy the relaxation of music. Why not?
Issus is only slowly revealing its
secrets as a multicultural city occupied alternately by the Romans, Byzantines,
late Hittites, Persians, Greeks and Ottomans. For me, it will always be
connected with Alexander and his
famous battle, and maybe one day some signs of his passing through will be