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Miletus or Milet

Miletus or Milet
45km south of Selcuk , Miletus or Miletos (Milet in Turkish) has many well preserved ruins such as the Temple of Apollo, a Byzantine church and an important inscription written in Greek For the Jews and the God-fearers” which can be seen in the theatre.

History of Miletus

Miletus once had 4 harbours and was an important part of the ancient commercial world and unfortunately met with the same fate as Priene and silted up over time. It was destroyed by the Persians in 499 BC and rebuilt by Miletus native Hippodamus using his grid street planning.

Other noted citizens of the city were the philosophers of nature and the universe; Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes; Hekataios the geographer and historian who was the first to use the word “history” and Isidorus one of the Hagia Sophia architects.
From the ruins of the 8th century Byzantine Castle built on a hill behind the theatre, you get a 360˚ view of the scattered ruins and original coastline around Miletus including what was formerly the Island of Lade. Some of the city walls are more than 9m thick in places but Alexander the Great still managed to storm them during his conquest of the city in 334 BC. The large theatre (140m by 30m) was originally built in the 4th century BC, modified and enlarged under Emperor Trajan in the 2nd century AD to seat 25,000 and in the Roman period a third floor was added to the stage building.

Ruins in Miletus 

The Delphinion, a shrine dedicated to Apollo Delphinios (Apollo of the Dolphins), patron of sailors, ships and ports and situated in the harbour area, was one of the most important religious buildings in the town.
The area also has a Hellenistic tomb, naval monument and Seljuk baths.
The Sacred Way leading from Miletus to the Temple of Apollo at Didyma ( Didim ), 20km away, was where the people of Miletus made their annual pilgrimage during Hellenistic and Roman times. This paved path that begins at the harbour becomes submerged during rainy winter months. Along its way are a 1st century Ionic stoa, enormous Capito baths, a gymnasium, the largest public fountain of Miletus, a 6th century Byzantine church, north and south agoras, the 3rd century AD Temple of Serapis and the Roman Baths of Faustina (Marcus Aurelius’s wife).  
One of the most interesting sites here is the early 15th century Ilyas Bey Camii, this mosque was entirely built in marble stolen from the ancient city. The mosque minaret was destroyed during an earthquake in 1958 but it has retained its fine carved marble mihrab, stalactite vaulting and Arabic inscriptions. A beautiful carved marble screen flanks the door and it has triple bi-coloured arches.  

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