Gloriously situated on the slopes of Mt Mykale, ancient Priene was a marvel of early city planning. Small but breathtaking, the site of its ruins makes a great place to while away a few hours. Nearby Eski Doganbey is an abandoned Greek settlement slowly finding new life as big-city refugees move in. Built on a grid plan ( the type first used by the architect Hippodamos in Miletus 2,500 years ago, Priene is one of the rare ancient cities that managed to preserve its original layout, perhaps because the Romans Weren‘t very interested in the ancient theater, with a seating capacity of 5,000, is regarded as one of the most beautiful of such structures. The five marble seats near the stage were reserved for prominent people in the city government The altar inside it was used for sacrificing animals as votive offerings to Dionysus, the god of wine and theater. A clepsydra (water glass) was used to show the actors how much time remained. Priene frequently played host to Ionian congresses and festivals,and its bouleuterion (council chamber) could house 640 delegates. The Piytaneion near it was used as the administrative headquarters. The town’s most magnificent structure, the temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, was commissioned by Alexander the Great Who conquered Anatolia during a military expedition of 334 BC. The temple was built by the famous architect Pytheos, who also created the Mausoleum in Bodrum. With 10 Ionic columns on one side and six on the other, the structure is still visible from the road far below. The city’s stadium was used for all kinds of sports, including boxing, Wrestling, and the pentathlon. Priene overlooks the plain of the Buyuk Menderes, the river’s Winding path gave the English language the word “‘meander”.
Demeter and Persephone
Another of Priene‘s temples was dedicated to Demeter, goddess of the earth and harvest. According to Ancient Greek mythology, Demeter’s beautiful daughter Persephone Was abducted by Hades, the brother of Zeus and the god of the underworld. Her devastated mother, who was in charge of the changing seasons, stopped work immediately, and life on earth came to a standstill, while her daughter remained underworld. In the end, Persephone’s father Zeus persuaded Hades to return Persephone to her mother. Before she left, Hades tricked Persephone into eating six pomegranete seeds, which meant that she had to spend half of every year in the world and the other half on earth, with her mother. At the end of every winter, Demeter turned the earth green to demonstrate her joy at her daughter’s return, but at the end of each summer, the green gave way to red and brown, reflecting her sorrow at her daughter’s renewed departure.