Miletus in Caria




The Theatre  

The city of Miletus (Turkish: Milet) shared the same fate as the cities of Herakleia on the Latmos, Magnesia ad Maeandrum and Priene, they were founded in the wrong place. What nobody could know was that the river meander (in Turkish: Büyük Menderes) had the entire Gulf silted up due to the large amounts of sediment it had always carried, so that Herakleia became a place on an inland lake and Priene is now far inland. Miletus himself lay on a spit of land rising into the then existing Gulf. Miletus gained its economic importance through its four harbours, which were located in the usable bays scattered around the headland.


The Bouleuterion (Town hall)  

According to tradition, Miletus was newly founded by Ionic colonists in 1053 BC. From the 8th century B.C. onwards, Miletus developed through its four ports into an important transhipment centre for trade with the Orient. Purple fabrics from Miletus, like other textiles, but also wool and olive oil were coveted commodities. Miletus became one of the most important Greek cities and at times ruled over the Aegean Sea. Miletus founded over 80 colonies. Due to its extensive trading activities and the number of its colonies, Miletus was therefore called the head of Ionia.


Reconstructed arcade of the gymnasium  

In the 7th century BC, the Greek cities on the west coast of Asia Minor clashed with the neighbouring empires of the Lyder and later the Persians. In the 6th century B.C. the city was first subjugated by the Lyder King Kroisos, then by the Persians under Cyrus II. A rebellion of the Ionian Greeks (Ionic Uprising) against the Persian Empire from Miletus failed. Miletus was conquered and destroyed by the Persians in 494 BC.


In the Faustina Baths  

The reconstruction of Miletus was carried out according to the ideas of the Hippodamos of Miletus in a strictly grid-like manner. Until the Alexander campaign, the city was under Persian rule in the 4th century BC. In Hellenistic times, various powers ruled Asia Minor, including Miletus, which was able to assert itself. In 133 B.C. Miletus was inherited to Rome together with the Kingdom of Pergamum and became part of the Roman province of Asia.




Hellenistic storage building, built in the middle of the 2nd century B.C., original length 163 metres, later shortened to 105 metres




Miletus remained of secondary importance as the Romans chose Ephesus as the capital of their province Asia. Nevertheless, numerous representative buildings were also erected in Miletus during the imperial period. Like Ephesus, there was an early Christian community in Miletus. The New Testament reports in Acts that on his last missionary journey before his return to Jerusalem, the Apostle Paul said goodbye to the leaders of the church in Ephesus.





On the South Agora




In Late Antiquity, i.e. between 280 and 560 A.D., there was a sharp decline in population. To protect against hostile attacks, the large theatre was fortified and provided with a fortress at the highest point. Houses were built in the auditorium. During this period, Miletus had a special significance as a bishop's see. In Ottoman times, the Princes of Menetsche temporarily chose their seat in Miletus and left numerous representative buildings. An example of this is the excellently preserved Ilyas Bey Mosque near the Faustina Baths. In the following time it became quiet around Miletus. Until a severe earthquake in 1955, there was a village called Balat on the ruins. After the earthquake the settlement was moved to the south, outside the city area.

Photos: @chim    
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Source: Wikipedia and others