Now, on to Miletus, the second stop in the full day shore excursion of Priene, Miletus and Didyma. When entering the site of Miletus, you’ll know you are someplace special just by seeing the gigantic Hellenistic Theatre. It has been called the “most impressive theatre structure of Anatolian history”. The theatre held between 5,000 to 24,000 patrons of theatre plus gladiator fights, depending on the era. Feel free to walk around the theatre and see how many similarities there are to today’s arenas.
This city has a firm foothold in ancient history. A Mycenaean settlement was there from 1,500 B.C. One of the Seven Sages of Greece, the “founder of science”, Thales of Miletus (6th-century B.C.) was from here, as well as Isidore of Miletus, who changed the course of architecture with his design of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
Plus, St Paul met with the elders of the church of Ephesus (the Ephesians). You see, based on the great geographical location, having a harbor and great sea trade, Miletus had the advantage to become a wealthy and the most powerful of the twelve Ionian cities in the 6th and 7th centuries BC. Their 90 colonies spread as far as Egypt and the Black Sea. However, by the 4th century AD, the harbor was completely silted and thus the inevitable decline in trade, wealth, and it’s population.
Also, in Miletus is the Hellenistic gymnasium, the Byzantine Church of St. Michael, A Mosque of Ilyas bey and a Synagogue. To cool off after the tour, try an invigorating fresh-squeezed orange juice at the souvenir area.
Then back to the A/C vehicles and head on to lunch before the last stop of legendary Didyma. 9 Euros allows entry into Miletus plus Didyma and Priene.