Ruins Of Priene – Exploring The Ancient Greek City Of Ionia

The Ruins of Priene are all that remains of the ancient Greek city of Ionia; a city which was forced to move inland after being founded in 1000 BCE. Let us add this this site to any one of our Egypt and Turkey tours, and make you stay in Turkey more memorable than ever.

Ruins of Priene, Turkey

Columns in the archaeological site known as the Ruins of Priene, Turkey.

As with so many other historical tourist attractions in Turkey, the ruins of Priene have a long and fascinating past. Located in Turkey’s Aydin Province, the ruins date back thousands of years, and today they are all that remain of what was once a model city.

The original city of Priene which was founded in 1000 BCE has never been physically found. The city was originally located next to a river mouth, but a buildup of silt caused flooding in the surrounding area. As a result, many of the inhabitants routinely found themselves living in the middle of swamps and marshlands which were infested with pests and parasites.

Based on historical records, historians believe a series of earthquakes struck at around 700 BCE, destroying much of the original city. At this point, the city was moved approximately 8 kilometers inland, but was later moved again in order to escape the encroaching water.

A Model City On The Slopes Of Mycale

In 350 BCE, Mausolus, a Persian Empire governor decided that he wanted to rebuild the city on the slopes of the Mycale escarpment. However, construction of the new city only started after the Persian Empire lost the area to the Macedonians. Alexander the Great shared Mausolus’s enthusiasm and together they agreed to build a model city on the slopes. This city is essentially what you see when you visit the ruins of Priene

Alexander took charge of the move and even offered to pay for the Temple of Athena to be built, on condition that the completed temple would be dedicated to him. Upon completion in 323 BCE it was duly dedicated to him, and a part of the temple bearing the inscription which verifies this, can these days be seen in the British Museum.

Ruins Of Priene – World’s Finest Example Of An Ancient Greek City

Today, virtually the entire city can still be seen, and today the ruins of Priene are considered to be the best surviving example of an ancient Greek city. The city was built using marble, and timber for floors; door; roofs and etc. The timber of course has not survived the ravages of time, but most else has. Everywhere you look, you’ll see paved streets; walls, terraces and pillars which have long since toppled over. The sewer system as well as the city’s water distribution system is still completely intact.

Want to visit this remarkable site? You can do just that with any one of our epic Egypt Turkey tour packages even if you don’t see this site mentioned in your preferred itinerary. Simply let us know that you want us to add, and then consider it done.

A Short Lived Dream

Unfortunately, by the 1st century BCE the city no longer had direct access to the sea. Silting at the nearby river had over the years changed the landscape significantly, resulting in the loss of the city’s port. The inhabitants of the city soon started moving to Miletus. At that point, Miltus still had a port with direct access to the sea, but by 300 CE, Miletus too had suffered the same fate as Priene. What was once a deep water port, is today farmland which is divided into fields belonging to local farmers.

The City of Priene And Its People

By comparison to many other cities of the time, Priene was a relatively small city which was home to around 6,000 people, and occupied an area of 91 acres. The city was designed in a compact manner, and this is highlighted by the fact that all public buildings were within walking distance from each other.

The ruins of Priene also suggest that the city was once a very wealthy city. After all, everything was built from marble, and many of the public buildings were dedicated to ordinary citizens who had financed their construction. Approximately one third of the inhabitants also had indoor toilets and an indoor water supply, both of which were very rare in those days.

When strolling among the ruins of Priene on the ancient paved roads, it’s fascinating to think that Alexander the Great himself once walked on the very same roads.

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You can secure your trip to the Ruins of Priene right now by visiting our Egypt and Turkey tours. We offer a wide range of premium quality tour packages to suit all tastes and budgets, as well as customized tours tailored to your own personal preferences.

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Last Updated on May 8, 2024