The hilltop Acropolis measures about five square city blocks. Founded about 1000 BC by Aeolian Greeks, the city was successively ruled by Lydians, Persians, Pergamenes, Romans, and Byzantines, until Sultan Orhan Gazi (ruled 1324–62) took it over for the Ottomans in 1330. Aristotle is said to have spent time here in the 4th century BC, and St. Paul stopped en route to Miletus in about AD 55. You're best off leaving your car on one of the wider streets and making your way on foot up the steep, cobbled lanes to the top, where you'll be rewarded with sensational views of the coastline and, in the distance, the Greek island of Lesbos, whose citizens were the original settlers of Assos. At the summit is the site of the Temple of Athena (circa 530 BC), which has splendid sea views but has been somewhat clumsily restored.
A more modern addition, right before the entrance to the ruins, is the Murad Hüdavendigâr Camii, a mosque built in the late 14th century. The
mosque is simple—a dome atop a square, with no minarets and little decoration. The Greek crosses and inscriptions carved into the lintel over the door indicate the Ottomans used building material from an earlier church, possibly one on the same site.
Back down the slope, on the road to the port, is a parking area for the necropolis and city walls, which stretch 3 km (2 miles). Assos was known for its sarcophagi, made of local limestone, which were shipped throughout the Greek world; unfortunately, most of the tombs are in pieces. The ruins continue on for acres, and include a gymnasium, agora (marketplace), and, farther down the slope, a fairly well-preserved theater. From here, the path links back up with the main road.