Where is Priene Ancient City?

Priene Ancient City is an ancient Ionian city located in Güllübahçe Village, which is approximately 15 km away from Aydın's Söke District. It is approximately 15 minutes away from Miletus by car. The city, which was known to be by the sea when it was founded, moved away from the sea by 16 km due to filling the sea with the alluviums carried by the Büyük Menderes River.

History of Priene Ancient City

Priene, which is one of the 12 Ionian cities, including the ancient cities of Ephesus and Milet, dates back to the 8th century BC. After the first settlement was abandoned for unknown reasons, the city was rebuilt in its current location with rather steep terrain in the 4th century BC. Priene, which was under the protection of Lydians, Persians, Alexander the Great, Pergamon Kingdom, Romans, and Eastern Romans, was completely abandoned in the 13th century AD.

The name of the city is of Luvian origin, one of the most important ancient Anatolian Civilizations and means 'Fortress Homeland'. It is the oldest known and written language of Anatolia. The names of many cities and settlement centers whose origins we know today in ancient Greek, Latin, Arabic, Persian or Turkish are actually Luvian. The first systematic archaeological excavations in Priene were carried out by a German team in 1868-1869. The total number of people living in this small city was around four thousand. Along with the important pieces of the Temple of Athena, some of the other artifacts from the city are exhibited in the Berlin Museum and the British Museum today.

Bias, one of the most famous information of Antiquity, lived in Priene in the 6th century BC. We know very little about Bias. We know him more from the words of Heraclitus of Ephesus, who lived after him. Heraclitus says of him "His mind is greater than the others". It is also said that Alexander the Great came to the city in 334 BC and gave financial support for the completion of the Temple of Athena, which is still under construction. Probably, the people of Priene will not be left without this support and will build a house in honor of Alexander the Great. Today, we can only see the ruins of the building called the House of Alexander the Great.

Priene, which has very good city planning, has streets up to 3.5 meters and wide streets up to 7 meters. Stairs were often used due to the terrain. Proceeding through the streets that preserve the historical texture of the city, the Egyptian Gods Sacred Site, Bath and Gymnasion (Sports Complex), Ancient Theater, Agora (Bazaar), Asklepios Sanctuary, Bouleuterium (Council Building), Food Market, Athena Temple, Demeter Temple You can visit the ruins in the Acropolis (Upper Campus) and the Church.

Ancient Theater;

The steep stony slope seen when entering from the main entrance door in the east of the city is Theater Street. At the end of this road, there is the Antique Theater in a hollow on the left. The half-moon-shaped seating arrangement of the theater, built in the 4th century BC, has a total capacity of 6,500 people.

Temple of Athena;

When you leave the theater and continue upstairs, you reach the temple built between the 4th and 2nd centuries BC on a rocky terrace at the highest point of the city. In the inscription in the temple, it is written that the sacred area was dedicated to the goddess Athena. This inscription is in the British Museum.

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