Priene Aydın is an Ionian (Ancient Greek) city established at a distance of 100 km from Selçuk-Ephesus in Söke. The city is 10 km north of the Menderes River. When the city was founded, it was by the sea. Due to the meander’s alluvium, the city is now within kilometers of land.
It is assumed that Belus was founded by the Ions under his son Aegyptus. The city is then taken by Ardys from the Lydian. In the middle of the 6th century BC under the rule of the city’s “Wise” Bias, the city was revived and prospered again. It was captured by the Persian King Cyrus (Kurash) in 545 BC. The city participated in the Ionian Revolt against the Persians (499 BC) with 12 ships. The city was weakened by the conflicts with its neighbor Samos (Samos) and the chaos after the death of Alexander the Great. In 155, Rome had to save the city from the kings of Bergama (Pergamon) and Cappadocia.
Orophernes, the rebellious son of the Cappadocian king, reached the treasure he buried in Priene after the Romans took the city and repaired the temple of Athena in the city as a vow. It remained a wealthy city under Roman and Byzantine rule. A.D. In the 13th century, the city passed into the hands of the Turks.
The British (art and antiquities trade and founded by Francis Dashwood) Dilettante Society in 1765 and 1868 sent a group tasked with researching the ruins of the terraced city. After the work of this group and later by Theodor Wiegand (1895-1899) of the Berlin Museum, the city seems to have been completely robbed and destroyed.
The city was rebuilt in the 4th century. The new plan of the city is a rectangle where the roads intersect each other at right angles. This plan is the forerunner of today’s modern city plan Grid. The steep slope on which the city is built faces south. The Acropolis of the city is 230 m above. The city is surrounded by a 2 meter thick stone wall with security towers. The entrance to the city is through three main gates.
There was a temple of Demeter on the slope below the acropolis. The city has six main roads 7 m wide in the east-west direction and 15 secondary roads with a width of 3.5 m that cut them vertically. The distance between all intersections in the city is the same. Therefore, the city is divided into 80 equal-area blocks. Private houses are arranged as eight houses per block. Clean water and sewer structures are clearly visible in the city. There are similarities between Priene houses and old Pompeian houses. The temple of Athena Polias was built on a high terrace north of the main road, in the western half of the city. This temple, which is climbed by a ladder, the work of high craftsmanship, has a structure with 6 columns (hexastyle) on the front face. The architect of the temple is also the architectural Pytheos of the Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. In 1870, under the pedestal of the Athena statue, silver twenty-drachmas and some jewels with the Orophernes picture, possibly remaining from the restaurant built by Cappadocia, were found. (Most likely during the excavations of Dilettanti Society.)
On one side of the main road, there are a series of meeting buildings facing the road and a beautiful shopping center on the other side. To the north are the Town Hall buildings, a Roman gymnasium, and a well-preserved theater. Like all the buildings in the middle of the city plan, the temples of Isis and Asclepius are completely in ruins. A large stadium was set up in the southern walls at the lowest point of the city and was connected to the gymnasium from the Ionian time.