Mylasa, Milas today, is today called almost same as in ancient times. Mylasa is in the south west of Turkey in other words it is in Muğla province. Mylasa was very important in ancient times. It was both the capital of Caria and Mentese Beylik.
Milas, like Aphrodisias, was near a marble quarry and thanks to this quarry -this quarry is still active today, Marble of Milas is still used in construction- ancient city was built.
In ancient era the city faced too many political crisis and too many wars. It was dominated by lots of kingdoms like Alexander the Great and Caria etc. And the city was destroyed a lot in those wars.
Like the other cities in the Aegean Region Milas had same historical eras. After ancient times it was under the control of Byzantine Empire then Seljuks and after that Ottoman Empire.
In Milas there are important structures that worth seeing. Because the city was devastated and destroyed in ancient wars there are not much Hellenistic and Greko Roman ruins but lots of Ottoman building worth seeing. One of the most important structure of all these is Cyclopean walls. There is a castle of Mentese Beylik and some mosques. Besides, Milas is famuos for its handmade carpets.
Milas has beautiful bays for swimming and yachting, too.,
Pergamon (or Pergamum)
Pergamon, today it is Bergama / Izmir / Turkey, was an ancient Hellenistic city naming its kingdom in north-west Anatolia. The city is approximately 80 km from Izmir and 25 km from The Aegean Sea.
The city was famous for its desing and the patrons who were ruling. The patrons were important because they enabled the other cities to survive in their own names. Therefore the patrons pursued peaceful politics toward to the others and that made them live in prosperity.
In the Roman period Pergamum was the first kingdom made an alliance with Rome. And that made it the capital of Asia. And Ephesus which is under the control of Pergamum in that time was the capital city.
Religion in the Kingdom of Pergamum and in the city was various. There were those who were worshipping snakes and reptiles. This was proofed by the coins found in the city -coins on which the king was surrounded by a big serpent-. There were those who were worshipping Dionysus - God of vegetation, harvest and vine in mythology. And there were those who were worshipping Asklepios -in Rome it is Aesculapius- God of healing in mythology. Some were believed in Zeus and Athene, too.
There are a lot of ancient ruins in the city:
The Royal palaces,
The Upper Agora,
The Temple of Dionysus,
The Sanctuary of Athena,
The Sanctuary of Trajan,
And a theatre with ten thousand seat and one of the steepest in ancient time.
39° 7′ 0″ N,
27° 11′ 0″ E
Aphrodisias is near Geyre village of Karacasu of Aydin province of Turkey. It is about 2 hours to Denizli and 3 hours to Izmir. The city was known as The city of Aphrodite.
Aphrodisias was near a marble quarry and thanks to this quarry the city became center of sculptures and it is said that there was a sculptor school in the city at that time. The city was destroyed by earthquakes like Laodicea and Hierapolis which are nearly in the same district. Earthquakes destroyed the city a lot and it could not habe been repaired.
Despite the severe earthquakes, the city has important buildings standing today. One of them is Temple of Aphrodite's main gate or Tetrapylon. There is a stadium, an odeon and a antique theatre in the city.
Because there was a sculpture school in the city, there are lots of statues and stone carvings. Excavation are still being hold in the city. The museum inside of the archeological site has magnifient statues worth seeing.
Laodicea, Laodiceia (on the Lycus)
Laodiceia on the Lycus is near the village of Eskihisar in Denizli today. It is approxiamtely 30 minutes from Denizli city center (3-4 km). Laodiceia was originally known as Diospolis and Rhoas but it was destroyed and reconstructed and it was given the name of wife of Antiochus II Theos: Laodiceia. Laodiceia is away 10 km from Hierapolis and 160 km from Ephesus. Laodiceia was on the major road of ancient times which had started from Ephesus and ended in Euphrates.
Laodiceia suffered a lot from political issues and wars in that era. But when domination of Roman Empire guaranteed prosperity the city started gaining importance and benefited a lot from the major trading route. And thanks to the plain on which it was built and where cotton farming was of much importance Laodiceia became center of weaving in that era. Througout the history the city was destroyed by eartquakes too many times like Hierapolis. And it was reconstructed again and again. The city had a very sophisticated irrigation network and sewer system in that time.
Laodiceia, like many ancient cities of that time, was ruled by many kingdoms like Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottoman Empire.
The Ruins of Laodiceia
Laodiceia is still excavated by Pamukkale University of Denizli today. The ruins that were brought into sun light still reflect the magnificence of the era. Among the ruins is a stadium in perfect condition. As I said above Laodiceia is still being excavated today and who know what is going to be found? Lets wait and see!
Sardis, Sart today, is in Manisa province of Turkey today. Sardis (Sardes) was the capital of ancient Lydia. In that time it was one the most important city in that district in all aspects.
Sardis is near Salihli country of Manisa and is 70km away from Izmir on Izmir-Ankara Highway. The city has well preserved structures today. Among them are a bath-gymnasium complex, synagogue and Byzantine shops.
Sardis synagogue was an important ruin thanks to which it is possible to get important knowlegdes about Judaism in Roman Time in Asia Minor. Sardis Synagogue was used about 400-500 years and destroyed by Persians. It was a part of bath-gymnasium complex.
Miletus is located in Aydin province of Turkey.According to some Greek myths the city Miletus take its name from a hero called Miletus.
The city was one of the twelfth Ionian city and it was is Asia Minor. The city had a harbour in that time but Meander River's allivium filled the harbour in the course of time like Ephesus. Now Miletus is 10 km away from the Aegean Sea.
The city had many owners in history like Lydia, Roman Empire, Persians, Alexander the Great, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottoman Empire. Seljuks and Ottomans used the city as a trade center with Venice. But as the Meander River filled the harbour, the city was abondened.
This famuous trade city was said to grow up important people like Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes.
Today it can be reached easilly by bus from Soke, Akkoy villages of Aydin province. The city has well-preserved ancient ruins.
Hierapolis in other words Pamukkale is an ancient site near Denizli now. It is 20 km south-west of Denizli. It is famuous for its hot springs which has been used since 2nd century BC.
During ancient times Hierapolis was a spa center and its water was thought to heal some ailments. Today Hierapolis is in Unesco's World Heritage list.
Hierapolis was founded in 2nd century BC and given to Eumenes II, king of Pergamon. This historical site took its name from Hiera, wife of Telephos. Hierapolis is also means Holy City.
Hierapolis is an important place in Chistian belief, too. One of the apostles of Jesus Chirst, St. Philip was sent to spread Christianity among natives of Hierapolis in 80th century AD. But he was tortured and killed for his religion and had the name martyr. In Hierapolis there is martyrium for St. Philip in an octagonal shape.
Important Structures in Hierapolis
Theatre of Hierapolis is one of the well preserved theatres of ancient world. It is located in the north of the city. It is close to Apollon Temple, Plutonium and St. Philip's martyrium.
Temple of Apollo
Old Apollon Temple was ruined in an earthquake but the temple was reconstructed in Roman fashion in 3rd centry AD. But continuous earthquakes ruined it again and only its marble floor remained today. It is located above the ancient pool and Plutonium.
Plutonium is a narrow cave which has poisonous gas in. It is under the Apollon Temple and thought to have gone to god of underworld Pluto's house. After some people's death they thought this poisonous gas was sent by Pluto. The entrance to the Plutonium was closed off.