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Priene, Miletus and Didyma are neighboring cities. Even in ancient times, the three regions were closely interrelated. What could be better than to visit the three fabled cities? On the following pages you will nd moments and impressions of this fantastic ancient area.

Hundreds of travel guide and travel accounts are ooding the market. Printed or in electronic form, in part, very extensive and detailed. But what if you are planning a short vacation, or simply a round trip to and not nearly have the time to work through hundreds of facts and details? All who wish to enjoy the beauty of the region and the wonderful artwork this series of books is dedicated to. The rst book deals with the Aegean Coast and here in particular with the places Priene, Miletus and Didyma.


My books are illustrated companions indicating short and concise history, region and the visual impressions. One or the other tip in the region round the picture and help the reader to gain a quick overview. The book can be experienced the best, using an iPad, but there is also a version in Acrobat PDF le that has a few limitations. If you have accepted the book on the iBookstore, you will continuously receive information from Apple, when in the existing book changes occur. Enjoy reading and exploring the spectacular region of the Turkish Aegean, a journey that you can take at any time. I look forward to your comments, suggestions and comments. You can contact me either through my website: using my email address A few quick tips before you plunge into the matter:

Don't forget to bring something to drink along (water might be best), the roads are sometimes very difficult and at a rest stop on a stone, you could treat yourself to a drink from the bottle brought.

It is understood that no garbage should remind others of your visit. Even cigarette butts are trash!

In Turkey there are anywhere where tourists are traveling many dogs and even more cats. Please remember whilst feeding these animals, they are not necessarily cuddly toys.

If you visit a theater, you can of course go up into the highest ranks. Caution should be exercised, because the stones could partly be slippery and the spectator areas are relatively steep. That the stairs have suffered a bit under the test of time, you will also realize. In no case, however, you should climb on statues or houses that can easily go into the eye.

Remember that the places described in this book are already several thousand years old. The roads and sidewalks of yesteryear have become rougher. As "standard visitor" you do not need hiking boots, but your feet will be very grateful for your choice of a slightly more stable shoe.

If you visit the region in the winter, meaning the more rain intense time, a rain protection - not necessarily an umbrella - will be of great advantage. If you have a camera, you should also remember to protect this electronic device from rain.

In most archaeological sites, near the entrance there is either a public restroom or a pub with a restroom. Dont forget the small change! In the ancient places themselves are no toilets, so please think about it in any way.

This historical map shows the wealth of mystical sites of antiquity. Travelers to this mysterious region are easily falling into dreams. Go with open eyes, and especially with an open mind on the trip and let you inspire by the impressions.


From Izmir, the third largest city of Turkey, these three historic sites are easily accessible in a day. The route from Izmir to the rst station Priene is about 130 km long


Priene - Milet - Didyma Asian Minor Map Entire Route

Our journey begins in the ancient city of Priene, which lies in the mountainous environment of Mycale Mountains.

Izmir - Priene Priene

Along a mountain ridge, on which there is a national park, it goes beyond the meandering alluvial land to Miletus.


Priene - Milet Milet

A few kilometers away in Didyma, lies the very impressive Temple of Apollo, which is under the management of Miletus.


Milet - Didyma Didyma

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Priene is located in the north of Miletus on the mountainous peninsula of Mycale. The steep mountain is up to 1,265m high. The rugged rising Mykale mountains poses because of its steep slopes and difcult passages are still holding some secrets from ancient times.

It is not known exactly where the rst settlement of Priene lies. It is clear that Priene was part of the Ionian cities and fullled the role as protector of the federal sanctuary Panionion. The Panionion lies north of Priene in Mykale Mountains on a sea level of about 750 meters. Discovered was that famous and often mentioned sanctuary in 2004 by German archaeologists.



Thales of Milet Pittakos of Mytilene Bias of Priene Solon of Athen Kleobulos of Lindos Myson of Chenai (or Chen) Chilon of Sparta
According to Platon's Protagoras (343a).

Bias of Priene lived about 590-530 BC and at that time, he was a leading gure in Priene. He enjoyed a high reputation and was very eloquent and persuasive. As Thales of Miletus belonged to Bias of Priene xed canon of the Seven Sages of Greece. One of his key phrases was "the best democracy is one in which all fear the law as a tyrant."

There are many legends about bias: for example he chased two fatted mules through the camp of the Lydians, who besieged the city, so they drew the conclusion that Priene had great reserves of food. He also stacked piles of sand that he covered with grain. The enemy scouts assumed that these are enormous food supplies. A peace treaty with King Alyattes, who besieged the city, was the result.


One of the few buildings of antiquity from which the name of the architect has been recorded: Pytheos (also Pythis) lived about 390 BC and was a Greek sculptor and architect. Among other things, he built next to the temple of Athena also the Mausoleion of Halikamass and inuenced the entire Ionic temple architecture. The model created by Pytheos considered especially the organization and the proportion of the structures was hence on used as a blue print for future buildings.


Priene can look back on a very exciting, warlike and cunning history. It was also part of the Ionian Cities and Towns. The city-state covered an area of about 400 square kilometers, the actual urban area accounted for about 37 hectares, of which only 15 hectares were cultivated. The remaining area offered in the case of sieges surrounding population refuge. A city wall with three gates protected the city. On the 300 m high hill behind the Athena Temple there was the Acropolis. As Priene was newly established in the 3rd Century BC, despite the steep hillside they realized a rectangular street pattern. This form of urban development has been described as hippodamian. Priene is a good example of how a midsized urban regular Polis looked. The citystate had about 5,000 inhabitants, it was never of particular political or historical importance, but there is lots of evidence of brisk trade operations.


The Agora of Priene was an open meeting area for all residents of the city. Here, festivals and events were held; it was the social center of the city. In addition to the Agora was the Bouleuterion, which is similar to our present parliament. The Greek writer, historian and geographer Pausanias (about 115 to 180 AD.) Called the Agora of Priene "as a typical example of an ionic Agora". Built in the 3rd Century BC. It was created in a horseshoe shape.


The Agora was the administrative and social meeting point and the centre of the the Polis. Places like the Agora could be found in every hellenistic City.

East and west of the Agora was supported by 18 columns and in the south 30 columns were the conclusion. Around the Agora, there were administrative buildings, the Bouleuterion - this was the meeting place of the Bule, the Council of the City and next to the Prytaneion, (we would call today a seat of government).

In Prytaneion the holy re of Hestia, goddess of the hearth, burned. The central altar was 6.2 m long and 5.15 m high, and dedicated to the god Hermes. The "small Agora" on the left side was the marketplace, as evidenced by excavations that brought to light many objects, which can be close to the products offered.


The Theater of Priene has excellent acoustics and because of the capacity of 6,500 visitors, all inhabitants of Priene could go to there at the same time. The seats of the spectators were built directly into the hillside. It formed three sections. As protection for the scorching summer sun postholes in the stones are embedded. In the middle of the fth row was the "Royal Box", which, however, was not part of the original construction.




The typical Ionic Theater was a horseshoe-shaped open-air theater, which mostly used the natural environment e.g. a slope. The stage was formed initially with a wooden stage area, where the actors acted. Scenes and backdrops were located between the columns of Prokerions.

A - Thymle (altar-shaped elevation on which the choir leaders conducted) B - Prohedrie (seats of dignitaries) C - Diazomata (wide steps, the seats are divided into ranks) D - Klimakes (steps and stairs) E - Paradoi (lateral Visitor Arrivals) F - Analemmata (outside walls of the Tribune)

G - Kerkides (wedge-shaped box) H - Scene (stage area) I - Proskerion (front stage) J - Pinakes (space within the pillars of Proskerion) K - Orchestra (circular of the stage, playing area for Orchestra and Cast)


Miletus (Turkish: Milet) suffered the same fate as many other cities of the Aegean. Because of 4 ports Miletus, once an economically important city, but because of the ongoing siltation over the centuries by the river meanders (Turkish: Byk Menderes) Milet is far inland today.

Arriving at Miletus one is immediately struck by the huge plant with the open theater. You can see how the theater served over time as a fortress, which simply, like a penthouse was built on top of the existing building.



Creating modern cities, as for example New York, has its roots in the historical walls of Miletus Also in geometry, one is constantly reminded of Miletus.

Today we think about after recycling of building materials, already thousands of years ago, this was common. But not only was recycling long before our era, in the Aegean already common, especially in Miletus impressive developments took place, they are valid up to the present time, valid and in use:

Hippodamus of Miletus lived in the 5th Century BC and was the founder of "Hippodamian system". Isidore of Miletus was one of the co-architects of the Hagia Sophia. Thales of Millet, a merchant, who acquired great knowledge in geometry. He was one of the Seven Sages of Greece


Looking through the entrance arch of the theater of Miletus. In the background, the reborn caravanserai, which invites you to stop by today.


The impressive theater of Miletus shows which important value art (and communication) had in the ancient world. Particularly noteworthy are the many wellpreserved reliefs. The theater had a capacity of about 25,000 visitors. The Roman Emperor Trajan built the theater in the year 100. The Byzantine added a special feature in 7th and 8 Century; they built a fort over the theater. From that time, the theater was used mostly as a fortied shelter for the inhabitants of Miletus.


The Book of Acts (# 20) tells us that the Apostle Paul has held a farewell speech at Miletus. He attended Miletus on his last journey to Jerusalem. The story goes on to say that he sent for the Ephesian elders about to announce to them his martyrdom.



Because of the high water table and during heavy rains, the center of the city of Miletus is unfortunately not passable. But from the hill behind the theater, you can see the impressive silhouette of the former economic hub.


Although a large part of Miletus is in the winter months under water, Miletus is denitely worth a visit. The area around the city center is used mostly for agriculture and there are also no excavations.

According to Herodotus, the Ionian League wasfound in the 7thCentury BC, it included12 cities andislands: Phocaea Clazomenae Erythrai Teos Lebedos Colophon Ephesus Priene Miletus Myus Chios Samos Allegedlythere wasalso a 13thCity, Melitain the covenant,butbecause of thearroganceof its citizens, Melita was againruled outandreplaced withSmyrna.

The Faustina baths are among the most important buildings of Millet. The baths were of the Roman Empire through to the Byzantine era in use.


The Faustian Thermal Bath located in the center of the ancient city complex, between the stadium and the south market. There were no hot springs, the bath had to be heated by re all year round. The particular degree of preservation of the buildings show impressively how people eased up in the ancient world. The high number of sculptures shows how the public spaces were designed and embellished. As with many ancient excavations the originals usually are not to be seen, where they actually were found. They are in many museums around the world. Particularly many found objects of Miletus found are in Berlin now.

Right next to the caravanserai freshly squeezed pomegranate juice is sold. In Greek mythology, the pomegranate has been attributed to the gods of the underworld, Hades and Persephone. So do not drink too much, otherwise the gods might take revenge.

The ancient sanctuary Didyma houses an important oracle of Apollo. The Hellenistic Temple of Apollo in size only surpassed in Greece by the temple of Hera in the Heraion of Samos and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. The Temple of Apollo is one of the best preserved of the ancient sanctuaries.

Overwhelmed by the huge proportions of the Apollo Temple, one of the most important Hellenistic sanctuaries, one enters the excavation site of Didyma. Visitors are only aware of the true dimensions of the huge pillars, when they stand in front of one of the monuments. The cities of Didyma and Miletus were connected with the "Sacred Way". This paved and with statues decorated procession route was 16.2 km long. Unfortunately, today only a few remnants of this magnicent street are visible.


The Apollo temple of Didyma is built in the Ionic style. The columns - there were 122 pieces - were both 19.7 m high and have a diameter of 1.96 m. Although 600 years was built on the temple, it was never nished. On the walls there are still carved in marble slips, suggesting that for a column 40,000 drachmas were paid wages, which is about USD 200,000. At 122 columns you can guess how important this building must have been.


Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto. He was a twin brother of Artemis and is one of the supreme gods of antiquity. He was the main god of prophetic predictions, the arts, music and the patron saint of medicine.



Didyma was with Delphi, Dodona and Claros of the most important Greek oracles. Located at the end of over 12 km long Sacred Way, Didyma was an extremely rened and elegant place, the center was the enormous Temple of Apollo.


The numerous reliefs and statues testify the importance of this holy place. The sculptures were the completion of the 122 Ionic columns. Above the architrave an elaborate frieze of foliage, gures of lions and medusa heads was created. Because the construction of the Hellenistic homage plant began about 330 BC, it is often associated with the visit of Alexander the Great at Miletus in 334 BC. The Milesian builders and architects Daphnis of Miletus and Painios of Ephesus performed the design of the temple. The Temple was under construction until 200 AD, but it was never completed.


Visitors enter the temple over 14 steps. The temple base, called the Pronaos, impressed by 12 columns and ornate walls. The Temple of Apollo was in his time a very sophisticated and elegant place. The oracle had a very important role in the ancient world and a lot of very important decisions based on the sayings that came from the oracle priests. The oracle could only be entered through two tunnel corridors.



The origin of the name Didyma is disputed; either it comes from the Kara or the Greek (didymos means "twin", it could be meant Apollo and Artemis).

On the back there are three doors. The door in the middle is about 6.5 m wide and 14 m high. Here was the oracle. Only the chosen ones the, like the priests love to call themselves, understood and interpreted the encrypted sounds of the oracle. The priests used to apply similar techniques as in tricks of our times, in which magicians "are guessing" information about visitors. Unlike to-

day, where this art is for enjoyment, at that time especially before any important decisions the oracle was asked, and therefore had an overwhelming inuence on the events of Asia Minor. The exact sequence of oracle ceremonies has unfortunately not been documented; the priests created the verses of the oracles themselves. The Oracle was still very popular in the 1st and second Century.

Over the ruins of antiquity are ruins of the now. Many residents started to settle down right on the excavation site, these settlements were dissolved now and again forfeited thus also slow.


To reach Apollo's Temple you can either use a beautiful promenade, which is lined with a several shops. Alternatively there is street a few meters on the right, and walk past the 'new' ruins. Didyma is always worth a visit. You simply have to take the time and especially around the temple go to e.g. see on the back of the fallen columns and thus to obtain an insight how these blocks were assembled. To search the area with open eyes is also pays off, because you can see the ne detail of the sculptures and marbles statements closely.


The two rivers - the Large and Small Meander - Turkish they are called the Menderes rivers, ow through western Turkey. They stand responsible for many of the ancient ports today are far inland and the islands come steadily closer to the mainland.


Large meander (Byk Menderes) 550 km length Small Meander (Kk Menderes) 200 km length


The Rivers Wikimedia Map


The Great Meander rises in the mountains of Phrygia and ows near the ancient city of Miletus in the Aegean Sea. The Little Meander ows parallel to the lower reaches of the Great Meander, about 30 km north. The river rises about 2,000 m east of the Boz Da and ows in the city of Ephesus in the Aegean Sea. The two rivers provide the high percentage of suspended solids that the mouths are increasingly silted. The winding course of the meander has become proverbial, and rivers, which have a similar course called "meandering". The map shows how the sea has silted up over the centuries more and once thriving port cities are now found far inland.


Here you will nd a collection of photographs from the region Priene, Miletus and Didyma. More information about our cultural heritage in the Aegean Sea you'll nd on the Internet - or simply make the tour of the impressions themselves and experience on site.

The area in which Priene lies is very hilly and the city-state was still applied geometrically precise


The environment of Miletus is used for agriculture. In the wet season and after heavy rain, the center of Miletus is usually ooded.


In the courtyard of the temple of Apollo, in the oracle, one can make the conclusion of stones and beading a picture. The high-quality work to show how important the people in ancient times this place was.


Quite contrary to the arduous journeys of antiquity it is now very comfortable and safe to travel on the very good Turkish road-network, using modern buses. When traveling to ancient sites, it is very useful if you have an understanding and knowledgeable guide (which talks a language you understand)


Unlike pure bath vacations, is a journey into the Aegean Sea, with the purpose to visit the ancient sites, something very special. If you plan your journey ahead, you have more fun and will better understand the places and just get a deeper insight into the history of the Aegean.



2013 Copyright JR-Design & Rudolf J. Strutz All material in this book may be not being reproduced without prior written permission from the author .

Photographs and texts Miletus Bay Evolutions, Siliting Map Map of Asia Minor Maps and Satellite Images Rudolf Strutz - Wikimedia Commons Wikimedia Commons Google Maps & Google Earth

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