Milet (Classical Greek: Μίλητος, Milētos and Latin Miletus Hittite: Millawanda) is an ancient port city in the west of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Büyük Menderes River (the classical name is Meander) in the Aegean region. It is now 5 km from Akkoy in Aydin’s Didim district. north and near the village of Balat, it is in a location about 10 km inland from the sea as its port is filled by Büyük Menderes.

Polished Stone Age

It is known that Miletos has been inhabited since the Stone Age. However, there is no archaeological evidence about the stone age inhabitants of Miletos and its surrounding islands, and this is attributed to the rise of the waters of the Aegean Sea and the change of the mouth of the Büyük Menderes several times. According to the information obtained by archaeological research, Miletos was first a settlement of those who lived in the Polished Stone Age between 3500-3000 BC. [1] According to the pollen counts made in the drilling samples taken from the bottom of the Bafa Lake, there are deciduous wooded meadow areas in the areas further inside the Büyük Menderes valley than Miletos and it is suitable for animal husbandry for polished stone age settlements. Polished stone age settlements are considered to be located close to water sources, strategically well-preserved (for example, on the edge of Büyük Menderes and a high cliff on the coast) and on the island shores, and they live on livestock and seafood.

Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods

Miletus was taken from Persians by Alexander the Great in 304 BC. After the death of Alexander the Great, it was captured by the Antigones in 313 BC and the Seleucids in 301 BC. The city of Miletus regained its independence in 188 BC. However, after the last King of Pergamon gave his country as a legacy to the Romans in 133 BC, Miletos was attached to Rome, which did not remain independent.

During the republic and empire periods of Rome, the city of Miletos became a part of the Asia State, whose center was in Bergama. The ruins seen today are mostly from the Roman period. The theater with a capacity of 15,000 spectators, the largest Roman bath in Anatolia, and the Faustina Bath, the surprisingly large Agora (market places) reveal the splendor of Miletos.

Miletos’s name is mentioned several times in the Old Testament books of the Bible, which is the main book of Christianity. During the third missionary journey of Paul of Tarsus in AD 57, Paul is reported to have sat in front of the Harbor Monument in Miletus and spoke with the first Christian leaders from Ephesus and said goodbye to them there. Paul later visited Miletus in 65/66 AD.

According to the Roman local administration reforms made by Emperor Diocletian in AD 297, the city of Miletus was attached to the Asiana Diakos administration, whose center was Ephesus, and to the same city-centered Asian state. It is known that under the long rule of the Roman Empire, cities that were not a provincial center lost their importance. However, since Miletos is an important port city, this process has been much slower compared to other Asian state cities.

When Constantine I bore the Roman Empire, Miletos remained under the rule of the Eastern Roman / Byzantine Empire due to its location. With the acceptance of Christianity as the official religion with Constantine the Great, it was attached to the Patriarch of Constantinople. A Christian bishopric was established in Miletus. While Miletos was in the Byzantine Empire, the importance of the city gradually decreased and the city continued to shrink because it was not an important administrative center and its port was filled by Büyük Menderes. Thus, the city was recreated around the Byzantine castle known as Palatia, located behind the open-air theater.

At the end of the 11th century, Seljuks started to occupy Anatolia and Turkmen immigrants started to settle on the Aegean coasts. During the Seljuk period, the port of Miletos was used as a port for trade with the Venetians. After the First Crusade, the Byzantines regained the Aegean coasts.

It is known that when the Seljuks were defeated by the Mongols in the Kösedağ War and their state began to collapse, Miletos fell into the hands of the Menteşe Sons.

It is known that the use of the port of Miletos, which was finally conquered by the Ottomans, continues. In 1494, Ilyas Bey, a descendant of the Menteşe Beys, built a mosque, a madrasa, and a complex that was formed in Miletus. But there is still Balat (taken from Palatia) bay as the name of the bay.