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Miletus

Miletus is located in the vicinity of Söke town, nearby Kusadasi, in the Aegean region of Turkey). The city was built on the seashore in the ancient times. The Miletus people who had founded about 90 colonies in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions, after 650 BC, had resisted the Persian invasions in Anatolia, but they were defeated finally and the city was destroyed by the Persians in 5th century BC.

Stoa of the AgoraWhen you arrive at the ruins, the magnificent theater of the city appears in sight at first. The theater had been constructed during the Hellenistic period and it acquired its present characteristics by means of the annexes made during the Roman period. The walls of the front facade of the theater are 140 meters long and 30 meters high, and are an interesting example of stone workmanship. The theater was large enough to hold 24.000 people, but a fortress was built upon it during the Byzantine period seizing its capacity down to 15.000 people.

On the opposite side of the theater there is a Seljuk Caravanserai and the baths built for Faustina II, wife of Marcus Aurelius who ruled between 161-180 AD. The Temple of Serapis, belonging to the 3rd century AD, is behind the baths. The rectangular buildings seen on one side are warehouse buildings. The adjacent Southern Agora building which has dimensions of 164 x 196 meters and is surrounded by stoas, belongs to the 2nd century AD and its southern gate was taken to the museum of Berlin during the early excavations.

When you go out through the northern gate of the Agora, you see the Bishop's Church and the Martyrion belonging to the 5th century AD beside it, and the ceremonial road which is 100 meters long and 28 meters wide, extending in front of the Agora. On the east side of it there is a fountain (Nymphaion) in the Public Square from the 2nd century AD, and a Bouleuterion (the Senate Building) which was constructed between 175-164 BC is situated opposite to it. The Temple of Asklepios and the Sacred Place are situated at its side. At the side of these, the Northern Agora extends along the sacred road and at the right hand side of the sacred road there is the Gymnasium from the 2nd century BC, the entrance of which has been brought to an erect position at present.

The baths built by Vergilius Capito during the reign of Claudius are situated north of the Gymnasium, and some of these baths were used during the Seljuk period. At the northern end of the Ceremonial Road there is the Harbor Gate which was a passage with 16 columns, and on the east of this road there is a fountain (Delphinion) which is a work from the Archaic period.

When you go towards the north from here, you can see at the left hand side the port stoa, the Harbor Monument built in 31 BC, the Small Harbor Monument and the Synagogue. The statues of the lions on both sides of the port were used to block the entrance to the Military Harbor by a chain. On the opposite side you can see the Roman Baths.

The remains of the Stadium, the Western Agora and the Temple of Athena belonging to the 5th century BC are located in the south of Miletus. The only ancient Turkish work in Miletus is the Mosque of Ilyas Bey, ruler of the area at that time. The mosque was built in 1404 AD and it can be visited today.

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