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The Ancient City of Miletus in Didim, Turkey

Due to its centrality, Turkey has always been one of the top spots for tourism of ancient history, a luxurious holiday destination for its beaches and privacy. The affordable prices and different regions with a warm climate all year round has helped Turkey attract more and more people with every new year. The country has a charming nature, and unparalleled appeal around the world, and a relatively mild climate, next to a civilization and a long history that showcases the wonderful cities of Turkey.

Home to the temple of Apollo, the statue of Medusa, as well as the world-famous beach Altınkum, Didim is a district of Aydın on the Aegean coastal region. It neighbours Izmir on the south and Muğla on the north. Although it is a small district with 74 thousand people, Didim receives a high number of tourists in the summer because of the ancient importance it carries. The top ancient tourism destination in Aydın is the Miletus ancient city.

Miletus colons

Miletus was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria. Its ruins are located near the modern village of Balat in Aydın. Before the Persian invasion in the middle of the 6th century BC, Miletus was among the greatest and wealthiest of Greek cities.

The progress of ancient Greek civilization in science started through the Milesian school. Anaximenes of Miletus tried to explain existence. Anaximander, the first philosopher known to have written down his studies, carved on the rocks the universal laws that were not based on Gods. Hecataeus of Miletus, on the other hand, devoted his time to geographical works who also is known to be the first person to draw the world map.

miletus heykel

Back in the ancient times, Miletus was home to a Harbor at the southern entry of a large bay, on which two more of the traditional twelve Ionian cities stood: Priene and Myus. The harbour of Miletus was additionally protected by the nearby small island of Lade. Over the centuries the gulf silted up with alluvium carried by the Meander River. Priene and Myus had lost their harbours by the Roman era, and Miletus itself became an inland town in the early Christian era; all three were abandoned to ruin as their economies were strangled by the lack of access to the sea. There is a Great Harbor Monument where, according to the New Testament account, the apostle Paul stopped on his way back to Jerusalem by boat.

miletus baths

Between the ancient city and Didim, a hiking path carried importance for the people residing in Miletus. This 4 km long path was considered a sacred way as it connected the town to the Temple of Apollo. Due to the double-column row that surrounds the temple from the outside, it presents the lateral plan type. The only non-canonical single element is the open-top courtyard extending inside, with no stone cladding on the floor. There was ‘naiskos’ in the courtyard, the holy water supply and a small temple, whose central point so far has not been precisely located. The extraordinary situation of the temple is based on this special function that it carries as a prophecy center. The construction of the structure started in BC 453 and it can be seen today but it was never completed. The pioneer temple of the 6th century BC became famous in that period. It was destroyed by the Persians in the early 5th century BC. The foundations that are still visible today in the atrium displays the remains of the early temple. An ancient statue of Medusa, the cursed gorgon of mythology still guards the temple entrance to this day.

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