BBC1’s new Saturday-night drama retells the legendary story of the fall of Troy – but it was a real place, too. Here’s where to find it.
Where was Troy?
It was in modern-day Turkey – in the northwest of the Anatolian peninsula, which makes up 95% of Turkey’s land mass.
Anatolia is also known as Asiatic Turkey and used to be called Asia Minor in late Classical antiquity. The Anatolian peninsula is the westernmost limb of Asia, and is bounded by the Black Sea to the north, the Mediterranean sea to the south and the Aegean sea to the west.
Does anything remain of the city?
Yes, there’s an archaeological site that’s believed to be the remains of Troy – it’s modern name is Hisarlik.
It was first excavated by an English archaeologist called Frank Calvert and a German called Heinrich Schliemann in the 1860s, who discovered several cities had been built there in succession, creating an artificial hill.
Like a lot of TV dramas, Troy: Fall of a City was made in South Africa.
“For the palace interiors we were in a studio in an industrial area on the edge of Cape Town which could not feel more different to ancient Troy,” explains Frances O’Connor who plays the Queen of Troy, Hecuba.
Menelaus (Jonas Armstrong) and Helen (Bella Dayne)
“The moment you enter them though you are transported back – you are fully immersed into this world because the production design is just amazing. The sets are huge but the little details have not been neglected. You feel the reality of being in that world and you could see why people would want to take this city.”
Menelaus in action
“The exterior sets were shot out in the wine country of Cape Town against the backdrop of the mountains,” says O’Connor. “Being there, it didn’t even look real – it’s such a huge, sweeping landscape that instantly gives our series a mythical backdrop. In front of this they built so much of the city of Troy and filled it with supporting artists. It created a sense of reality that really helped us actors and I’m sure it will look spectacular.”