Few ancient cities have captivated the imagination of the masses like Troy. The focal point of Homer’s epic poems, the city is so strongly associated with mythology that many have long doubted its existence. But Troy is indeed a real place. And by visiting Troy today, one can see remnants of buildings which date to its earliest prehistoric phases along with those from the fabled Trojan War.
While most have read the Iliad or Odyssey at some point growing up, few are aware of Troy’s real history. Therefore, before our guide to visiting Troy, we’ll cover historical Troy, followed by a refresher on Troy’s role in ancient mythology. Before your visit, it’s also worth learning about the search for Troy in the 19th century, a tale just as exciting as the ancient myths.
Troy is within easy reach of the modern city of Çanakkale. Be sure to check the very end of the article for tips on transport and accommodation.
Troy: Origins & Downfall
For the past few thousand years, the city of Troy has been synonymous with the Trojan War, which would’ve taken place around the 12th century BC. And as we’ll cover below, archaeological evidence suggests that this was indeed a real event.
But archaeological findings have also revealed that the war took place quite late in the city’s history. Troy, in fact, was a thriving Bronze Age port and cultural center since at least 3000 BC.
Archaeologists have recently divided the history of Troy into nine different time periods. And the Troy of Greek mythology likely took place around Troy VI or VII, while Troy VIII and IX refer to the Hellenistic and Roman eras.
We know little of the Troy I – V periods, as there are hardly any historical records mentioning the city. We do, however, have some early pottery and even a carved stele from Troy’s earliest years.
And archaeologists have uncovered the remnants of the original city walls which can be seen while visiting Troy today. Notably, Troy had always been a walled city since its very inception.
While the city suffered from frequent fires, war, or other major cataclysms, the Trojans were a persistent bunch. They repeatedly rebuilt the city and strengthened its fortifications. After all, Troy’s location was highly ideal.
Not only was Troy an international trade center, but the Trojans controlled all sea travel through the Dardanelles (Hellespont) Strait. All ships coming in and out of the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, therefore, had to deal with the Trojans.
For much of its history, Troy was known as Wilusa (or as Ilios by the Greeks), and references to it appear in Hittite texts.
And it’s the period when the Hittite Empire dominated Anatolia, from around the 16th-13th centuries BC, that piques most people’s interests.
Not long before the Trojan War took place, evidence suggests that the Mycenaean Greeks had established a base at Miletus on the Aegean coast in the 13th century BC.
And they were fast encroaching upon Hittite territory, who ruled their vast empire out of the central Anatolian city of Hattusa.
As a direct result, the Hittites signed a treaty with the Trojan in the 1280s BC, bringing Troy under Hittite protection and making it their vassal. This was convenient, as the Hittites and the ancient Trojans spoke the same language: Luwian.
According to archaeological evidence, security was greatly heightened at Troy around this time. The defensive walls were reinforced, new towers were constructed, and the western gate facing the harbor was entirely blocked off.
What’s more, is that a defensive ditch was built around the city to prevent chariot attacks, something Homer would mention in the Iliad centuries later.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the fall of Troy around 1200 BC happened around the same time as the Hittite Empire’s collapse.
Troy wasn’t completely abandoned, however, and the city would persist for centuries following the events of the Trojan War. It received new settlers from the Balkans and the western Black Sea, followed by Greek colonists who settled there from around the 8th century BC.
The Persian Achaemenid Empire took control in the 5th century BC, followed by Alexander the Great. After the Hellenistic era, the Romans took over, and then the Byzantines.
While we know the Byzantines built some churches at the site, the city, and knowledge of its whereabouts, would become forgotten by the 11th century.
Throughout the ages, Troy has appeared much more prominently in mythology than it has in historical records. The Trojan War, in fact, is the focal point of a vast collection of stories and poems known as the Greek Epic Cycle.
Among them are the Iliad and the Odyssey, epic poems written down by Homer. As standard reading at schools around the world, many visiting Troy today will have probably read them at some point.
But a lot of the most interesting tales of the Epic Cycle deal with what led to the Trojan War in the first place. These stories appeared in a text called the Cypria, composed by the poet Stasinus. While the text has been lost, we know of its stories from commentaries and retellings elsewhere.
It all starts with the wedding of the nymph Thetis and her husband Peleus, whose son would become the great Trojan War hero, Achilles.
As it would’ve been a bad omen for Eris, the goddess of discord, to attend a wedding, they didn’t invite her. But the deviously clever Eris got her revenge by throwing a golden apple into the crowd that was simply inscribed with the words ‘To the fairest.’
Three goddesses, Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite argued over who should take the apple. Zeus, wanting to stay out of it, told them to go ask Paris, a Trojan prince and notorious womanizer.
Though all three goddesses attempted to bribe Paris, he ended up choosing Aphrodite, who’d promised him the world’s most beautiful woman. The problem was that this woman, Helen, was already married to Menelaus, the King of Sparta.
But this didn’t stop Paris from abducting Helen and bringing her to Troy. Immediately after, Menelaus’s brother Agamemnon, king of all the Achaeans (Greeks), began gathering troops from all over Greece.
Many other interesting tales follow, such as that of Achilles pretending to be a princess in order to avoid being sent off to Troy, where he knew he was fated to die. And rather disturbingly, there’s a tale of Agamemnon sacrificing his own daughter so that the winds would start blowing again, allowing the Greeks to set sail.
WHO WAS HOMER?: Homer was a Greek poet born around 750 BC, about five centuries after the Trojan War.
While the stories of Troy had likely been around for a long time in oral form, Homer was the first to write them down. In fact, the Greek alphabet was likely first invented for this very purpose.
Interestingly, Homer himself was an Anatolian, having been born in Smyrna, modern-day Izmir. Or was he? To this day, some scholars doubt that a man named Homer even existed.
It’s possible that ‘Homer’ was merely a reference to a lineage of singer storytellers who sung these tales for generations. Or it may have been a reference to the collective of writers who first transcribed the Greek Epic Cycle.
The ancients, however, believed Homer to have been a real man, and he was commonly portrayed in sculpture and even on coins.
While the Trojan War lasted around 10 years according to Greek mythology, Homer’s Iliad takes place over the course of just a few weeks near the war’s final stages.
Surprising many who re-read it today, the large text leaves out many of the Trojan War’s most famous tales, such as the death of Achilles and the building of the Trojan Horse.
Compared to the Odyssey, the Iliad doesn’t hold up too well today. It largely comprises of repetitive descriptions of battle and petty quarrels among the gods.
But in Homer’s time, the public would’ve been well aware of all the Epic Cycle’s stories, which had long persisted in oral form. The focus of the Iliad, therefore, is the rage of Achilles, who gets betrayed by Agamemnon in the book’s opening.
Long refusing to fight, he eventually puts aside his grudge and joins the battlefield in order to avenge his slain friend, Patroclus. All the while, he understands that he’s fated to die in Troy.
In the book’s climax, Achilles kills Trojan Prince Hector. But as a sign of respect, he eventually agrees to return the body intact to Troy’s King Priam, so that the Trojans can conduct the proper funeral rights.
Stories dealing with the sacking of Troy and the aftermath of the war were part of another lost text known as the Little Iliad, written by a variety of authors. But we also get summaries of the tales in the Odyssey, Homer’s adventure story detailing Greek hero Odysseus’s long journey home from Troy.
The myths surrounding the Trojan War were widely known throughout the ancient world. And as a result, Troy became one of the world’s very first tourism destinations. When Persian Emperor Xerxes arrived in 480 BC, he sacrificed 1,000 oxen in honor of the Iliad’s heroes.
Later in the 4th century, Alexander the Great honored Achilles by engaging in footraces outside of Troy with his comrades. And the Romans were so enamored with legends of Troy that they created a new origin story about Rome having been founded by Aeneas, one of the war’s few Trojan survivors.
Known as the Aeneid, the epic was commissioned by Emperor Octavian Augustus and was composed by the poet Virgil. Throughout their history, the Romans would take great pride in their link with ancient Troy.
But after the city was eventually abandoned, scholars long believed that the city of Troy was purely mythological, with few attempting to look for it. But all that changed in the 19th century.
The Hunt for Homer's Troy
While throughout the modern era few believed that Troy was a real place, some adventurers were intent on finding it. Among them was a German-American Wall Street tycoon named Heinrich Schliemann. Striking it rich in the California gold rush and other business endeavors, he was able to dedicate the rest of his life to his true passion: ancient Greece.
He moved to Athens in 1868 and then took a trip to western Turkey to look for Troy. While he knew to search in the northwest region known as the Troad, there were a few different candidates for the real Troy.
But even before Schliemann’s arrival, a British man named Frank Calvert had been living in the region. And he was certain that the land which his family owned contained Troy’s ruins.
As Troy was occupied for thousands of years, with each new phase being built over the last, a tall artificial mound eventually formed which came to be known as Hisarlik Mound.
Calvert had already been digging at Hisarlik, discovering numerous ancient artifacts. But he lacked the funds for a major excavation. Money was no obstacle for Schliemann, however. And upon meeting Calvert and learning of Hisarlik, Schliemann returned with a large excavation team.
Sadly for Calvert, Schliemann took all of the credit for the site’s discovery. Nevertheless, many doubted that Schliemann had found the real thing.
Schliemann, an untrained archaeologist, greatly underestimated how old the settlement really was. He presumed that the Troy described in the Iliad would be at the oldest and bottommost layer. And so he dug long and deep trenches, inadvertently damaging parts of late Bronze Age Troy which he’d really been looking for.
He dug for three years before making any sort of major discovery – a cache of gold jewelry. Smuggling them out of Turkey, he photographed his wife wearing the jewelry and announced that he’d found the treasures of King Priam.
While Schliemann’s announcement got the world talking about Troy, the jewelry was really as much as 2500 years older than the Trojan War!
And as the Hisarlik Mound was not very big, even Schliemann himself began to have doubts over whether it was the real Troy.
In 1893, an archaeologist named Wilhelm Dörpfeld came to excavate the site. And it was he who concluded that the sixth layer of the mound was that of Homer’s Troy, with all the deeper layers being even older.
After a long break, Carl Blegen of the University of Cincinnati came to the site in 1932. While he made interesting finds, doubts still lingered over the site’s authenticity, as it was still deemed too small.
After another long pause, archaeologist Manfred Korfmann came to study the site in 1988. He discovered a long defensive moat surrounding the area, revealing the true extent of the city. It also matches descriptions in the Iliad, as the ditches made for a great defense against chariots.
The archaeology site we see today, therefore, is only that of the citadel and the royal palaces. All in all, the settlements of the lower city spread out to as much as 5 acres.
Korfmann also discovered a Bronze Age seal with Luwian writing, now on display at the Troy Museum. This finding was undeniable proof that Troy was indeed a prosperous city during the Hittite era, the time in which Homer’s epic takes place.
Recent excavations have been ongoing since 2013. And in 2018, the Turkish government began heavily promoting Troy as a tourist destination. In the same year, the brand new Troy Museum opened to visitors, which shouldn’t be missed by those visiting Troy today (learn more below).
The archaeological site of Troy is located about a kilometer from the recently-opened Troy Museum. But it’s worth visiting Troy first before the crowds arrive.
With that being said, despite its significance, Troy doesn’t seem to attract the crowds of places like Ephesus or Göbekli Tepe – at least not during my visit.
Entering the site, visitors are first greeted with a full-scale recreation of the famous Trojan Horse. As we’ll cover below, you can find the one used for the Hollywood movie ‘Troy’ in central Çanakkale.
Unlike most other archaeological sites in Turkey, at which you’re free to roam around, visitors to Troy are restricted to designated wooden pathways. At the beginning, you can choose to head either right or left, and then the path will loop around the entire site.
The following guide to visiting Troy assumes you’ve started by heading right, touring the ruins in a counter-clockwise direction.
And one of the first landmarks you’ll encounter is also among the most significant: Troy’s legendary defensive walls.
It’s believed that Troy had always been fortified – even since its earliest prehistoric inceptions. But the remains of the walls here likely date back to the Troy VI or VII periods – around the time of the Trojan War.
In the Iliad, it was around these walls that Achilles dragged the dead body of Hector in his chariot.
The limestone walls originally stretched out to 550 meters in circumference, protecting the royal palaces and administrative buildings within. And they were flanked by defensive towers, the bases of which can still be seen.
Notice the base of the Eastern Tower, which is 11 meters wide and protrudes about 8 meters from the wall. Originally two stories high, it was possibly these very bricks that were toppled over by the Trojan War’s Achaean heroes.
On the other side of the wall, you can spot the foundations of the royal palaces which also date back to Troy VI or VII. Moving on, the northeastern section of the wall is arguably the most impressive.
The next major landmark is the Temple of Athena, of which hardly anything remains. It dates to the Greco-Roman era, or the Troy VIII and IX periods. The temple originally measured 36 x 16 meters and was surrounded by Doric columns.
The temple was first built by Greek settlers who arrived here in the 8th century BC, around the time that Homer lived. Due to the longstanding oral tradition, the Trojan War story was already widely known.
And various relics and artifacts from the war were said to have been stored in this temple. In Hellenistic and Roman times, regular athletic festivals, modeled after those of Athens, took place with this temple as the focal point.
In addition to the stone flooring of the forecourt, parts of the coffered ceiling can be seen scattered throughout the area. And a carving of Apollo that was found here is now on display in Berlin.
Interestingly, in the Iliad, Athena sides with the Achaeans against the Trojans. She also inspired Odysseus to build the Trojan Horse which would directly result in Troy’s sacking. Apparently, she held a deep grudge against the Trojans due to Paris having chosen Aphrodite over her as the ‘fairest’ (see above).
But even during the Trojan War, the city contained a Temple of Athena. And in it was the palladium, a cult image of Athena believed to have protected Troy from falling. According to lost poems from the Greek Epic Cycle, just after the events of the Iliad, Odysseus and Diomedes managed to sneak into the city and capture it.
While navigating Troy is pretty straightforward, at some points the trail will branch off into two. And it’s not always clear which way you should go. As you come around south, take the righthand path first, where you’ll find a lookout spot placed above a mound.
From here you can get a clear view of the citadel ruins dating back to the Troy II era. Unfortunately, much of it was removed by Heinrich Schliemann who mistakenly believed that the bottom layers were those of Homer’s Troy.
Also around here are the remains of ancient houses and religious structures.
Returning to the fork and taking the other path, you’ll find the original citadel walls from Troy II and III, dating to sometime around the 24th century BC.
In contrast to the limestone walls of Troy VI, these were built of mudbrick. It’s worth noting, however, that most of these walls are a modern reconstruction built to protect the original surviving bricks at the bottom.
Just behind the walls are the remains of a building called a megaron, also from the Troy II or III period. In its center was a hearth and its walls were plastered white, indicating that it was used for cult purposes.
Various figurines and even a scepter from Egypt were found inside, indicating that Troy once had trade relations with Old Kingdom Egypt!
Moving on, you can even see some remains of the original Troy I fortification wall (c. 2920 BC), built directly on top of the bedrock. Amazingly, archaeologists found a stone stele with a carved relief of a human-like figure here.
Just nearby are the remains of the Troy II royal palaces. But with only foundations remaining, it’s not always easy to tell what’s what.
Soon you’ll encounter one of the most infamous sections of the Troy archaeological site: Schliemann’s Trench. As mentioned earlier, Heinrich Schliemann was under the false impression that ‘Priam’s Troy’ could be found at the bottommost layer of the Hisarlik Mound.
And so he and his men dug out a large seventeen-meter deep trench until they reached the bedrock. While they successfully managed to find the oldest layer of Troy (much older than the time of Priam), they carelessly destroyed all that was above it.
Given its controversy and the fascinating story of the search for historical Troy, Schliemann’s Trench has become a landmark in its own right.
Within the trench are more remains of the earliest Troy I wall. And some infant burials were discovered around here as well.
Nearby is yet another of Schliemann’s trenches. Dug in 1872, it’s referred to as the Middle Trench, and it exposed parts of the Troy II citadel.
Controversy surrounded Schliemann’s techniques aside, the trench now helps us visualize the positions of the various strata and how each level correlates to the different time periods.
Wilhelm Dörpfeld would later more thoroughly study the site, calculating an approximate timeline for each strata. And we can now see that this single trench reveals elements from Troy II – IX, representing a time span of nearly 3000 years!
Nearby is an impressive ramp leading to the citadel which remains in great condition. Surprisingly, it’s as old as the Troy II period. It was also around here that Schliemann discovered ‘Priam’s Treasure,’ a cache of gold artifacts that happened to be 2500 years older than Priam’s time.
In any case, it was the first major find from the ruins of Troy, and it made major headlines around the world.
Heading along the path, you’ll eventually arrive back at part of the Troy VI fortification wall, this time its southwestern end. Remnants of the city gate can be seen here as well.
There’s evidence that security was greatly heightened at Troy, with the defensive walls being reinforced, new towers constructed, and the western gate facing the harbor blocked off.
In the time period in which the Iliad takes place, this gate would’ve been situated close to the harbor, though years of siltation has altered the landscape dramatically.
Close by is what appears to be a wall of some sort. But this was actually the base of a royal palace from the Troy VI era. Note how the stones have been precisely cut and placed together without the use of mortar.
If it was anything like the modern artistic renditions, this palace would’ve been the most opulent in all of Troy. Perhaps it was in one of these rooms that King Priam himself once dwelled.
Just in front of the structure is a well-preserved portion of an ancient street that led to the center of the citadel.
Next, you’ll find yourself overlooking one of the most visually interesting portions of the archaeological site. It dates from the Greco-Roman era and served as one of the city’s most important religious sanctuaries.
The sanctuary features a limestone circular altar built around the 7th century BC, while nearby was a sacrificial pit. Parts of the wall which surrounded the sanctuary, as well as some kind of viewing platform, remain in place as well.
Notably, a statue of Cybele, the primordial Anatolian Mother Goddess, was discovered here. As the Romans considered themselves descendants of the Trojans, they even worshipped Cybele in Rome.
Speaking of figurines, a late Bronze Age figurine was also discovered nearby. Now on display at the Troy Museum, the bronze figure dates back to the Troy VII era,
Coming back around east, you’ll pass by the Odeon, capable of seating a couple thousand people. These semicircular structures, which look like miniature theaters, were where small musical performances or poetry readings took place in the Greco-Roman world.
A statue of Roman Emperor Hadrian (r. 117-138) was discovered here, which you can see at the nearby museum. The Odeon, in fact, was likely constructed in honor of his visit.
Back toward the entrance, you’ll walk along the southern wall of the Troy VI fortifications, which also features the foundations of the South Tower.
Nearby is the Bouleuterion, or Council House, where city officials in Grec-Roman times held private meetings. While hardly evident now, Roman baths and an agora marketplace were also situated in this general. And there was even an additional Temple of Athena.
Behind you, meanwhile, are some new trenches that have just recently been dug. Clearly, the ruins are a lot more extensive than what we see today, and we can expect the site to grow considerably in the coming decades.
The Troy Museum
Finished with your tour around the ruins, the Troy Museum is an easy ten-minute walk away. In spite of its peculiar outward appearance, it’s easily one of the finest museums in Turkey and should definitely not be missed.
At the time of my visit, a combo ticket for both the museum and archaeological site was available for 80 TL.
The museum was inaugurated in 2018 and features a minimalistic concrete interior. It has a slick modern feel to it which thankfully doesn’t distract visitors from admiring the ancient artifacts.
The museum is spread across four levels, with the ground floor displaying artifacts discovered from throughout the Troad region. This includes places like Imbros, Alexandria Troas, Chryse, Parion and more.
Clearly, Troy (or Wilusa, as it was then known) wasn’t the only thriving city in the Troad region.
Those with an interest in Bronze Age Troy will enjoy the second level, which contains artifacts from Troy I – VII (some of which are pictured above).
Many of the most significant finds from Troy are kept at museums abroad, such as St. Petersburg and Berlin. But artifacts aside, the Troy Museum provides a great historical rundown of the Hittite Empire along with interesting tidbits about life in ancient Troy.
The third floor features a great summary of the Iliad and Homer. Across several interactive screens, different actors portraying the epic’s main characters read lines from the epic.
The rest of the room focuses on findings from Troy which postdate the Trojan War. Most of them belong to the Hellenistic and Roman eras. But arguably the most significant piece here is Polyxena’s Sarcophagus, crafted during the Persian Achaemenid Empire’s control over the region.
Created in the late 6th century BC, it’s the oldest sarcophagus carved with figural reliefs ever found in Asia Minor. While it wasn’t found it Troy itself, it was uncovered in the Kızöldün Tumulus elsewhere in Çanakkale Province.
And it depicts an interesting myth that was left out of Homer’s Iliad but that appeared in later mythological texts. Polyxena was a daughter of Troy’s King Priam and Queen Hecuba. And during the war, Achilles took a liking to her and revealed the one vulnerable spot on his body: his heel.
But Polyxena betrayed Achilles and told her brother Paris, who shot him in his heel with an arrow, thus killing the war’s most formidable warrior. As the story goes, following the war’s end, the Achaeans sacrificed Polyxena at the tomb of Achilles, as is depicted on the sarcophagus.
The uppermost floor, meanwhile, features information about the early excavations at Troy along with a history of Ottoman settlements in the region.
Interestingly, the Ottomans, at least in the early phase of the empire, seem to have been aware of Troy’s whereabout long after the West had forgotten.
The Trojan Horse
Before or after visiting Troy, be sure to visit the massive Trojan Horse on display in central Çanakkale. In fact, it’s the exact horse used for ‘Troy,’ the Hollywood film starring Brad Pitt. While I have yet to see the movie myself, the scenes involving this wooden horse can be found online.
According to the popular legend, Achaean soldiers hid in the wooden horse, which the Trojans believed to be a gift. But after bringing it inside the walled city, the Greeks snuck out, opening the gates for the rest of the Achaean army.
What resulted was the sacking and destruction of Troy, finally bringing the decade-long conflict to an end. But as described in the Odyssey, no side really came out a winner, with many of the Greek war heroes ending up dead shortly after.
As for things to do in Çanakkale, one of the city’s most famous landmarks is Cimenlik Castle, an Ottoman-era fortress. But it was completely closed for renovations at the time of my visit.
You’ll also spot another fortress, Kilitbahir Castle, across the water on the Gallipoli Peninsula. While frequent boats take visitors back and forth, I happened to be visiting on a Monday, the one day the castle is closed.
Many Turkish visitors come to Çanakkale not to visit Troy, but to see the Gallipoli Peninsula, the location of major battles during World War I. As such, the peninsula is also home to a memorial park.
Getting to Troy from Çanakkale is pretty straightforward. You must head to a place called Minibus Garaji, situated next to the river about 15-20 minutes south on foot from the city center. It’s clearly marked on Google Maps.
Buses from Çanakkale to Troy depart every two hours from 7:30 in the morning until evening.
Return buses from Çanakkale to Troy depart every two hours on the hour, also until evening.
As Troy is smaller than most other famous archaeological sites, think of it as a half-day trip. In my case, I took the 9:30 bus there and the 13:00 bus back. While I would’ve liked a little more time at the museum, I was not willing to wait an additional two hours for the next bus.
Leaving the museum, there’s no official bus stop on the main road. But you can just wait around until the bus shows up. I started to worry a little when the bus didn’t appear at first, but it did eventually show up about ten minutes late.
Çanakkale gets lots of visitors each year and hotel options are abundant.
I was looking for something within walking distance of the Minibus Garaji and that was also suitable for budget travelers. And so I ended up choosing Ayberk Pansiyon, which was just about ten minutes from the minibus stop.
It was also incredibly cheap. For a private room with a private bathroom, I only paid 125 TL (about $15) for two nights. The price also included breakfast!
Çanakkale has its own airport, but most people will probably come by bus, which takes about six hours from Istanbul.
In my case, I came from Ayvalık, a ride which lasts a few hours.
Çanakkale is well connected by bus with many other cities in Turkey. I even managed to find a direct bus all the way to Ankara.
Both public buses and minibuses connect the otogar (bus terminal) with the city center. If you’re taking the public bus, Çanakkale is yet another Turkish city to have adopted an electronic transport card system without installing any card vending machines.
But unlike other cities, the drivers don’t make a big fuss about accepting cash.
While the Turkish government isn’t quite as extreme as China when it comes to online censorship, you’ll probably want a decent VPN before your visit.
I’ve tried out a couple of different companies and have found ExpressVPN to be the most reliable.
Booking.com is currently banned in the country (at least when you search for domestic accommodation). However, there are actually quite a few Turkish hotels listed on there anyway. And many them don’t even appear on Hotels.com, which hasn’t been banned.
Over the course of my trip, I ended up making quite a few reservations with Booking.com and was really glad I had a VPN to do so.
Another major site that’s banned is PayPal. If you want to access your account at all during your travels, a VPN is a must.
While those are the only two major sites that I noticed were banned during my trip, Turkey has even gone as far as banning Wikipedia and Twitter in the past.