Ancient Miletus, Aydin Province, Turkey

The ruins of Miletus are that of an ancient Greek city on the western coats of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Ionia, the modern day Aydin Province in Turkey. The area where Miletus now stands has been occupied since the Neolithic age and much of its distant origins are unclear. It is believed that Minoan Cretans came to Miletus during the Bronze Age prior to the Ionian Greeks who are believed to have ruled the area from 1000BC. Miletus became one of the most important cities for Greek culture, science, literature and philosophy by the 6th century BC. The Milesian School for Philosophy featured such great thinkers as Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes. Miletus was also an important trading city and was used as a base to found more than 60 Greek colonies on the shores of the black sea. In the latter part of the 6th century BC Miletus came under Persian Rule but n 499BC the Milesians led the Ionian revolt that marked the beginning of the Greco-Persian Wars. The city was sacked by the Persians in 494BC but the Greeks in turn defeated the Persians in 479BC. By the mid 5th century BC the city had been weakened by the ongoing turmoil in the area but the Milesians set about rebuilding their city on a new grid type plan invented by Hippodamus of Miletus. The city then fell to Alexander he Great in 334 BC after a long siege. The city was then held by various forces such as the Seleucids and Egyptians.

After an alliance with Rome in 133BC the city began to prosper once more, both the Roman emperors Augustus and Trajan invested heavily in the city’s ports. However this period of growth came abruptly to an end in the 6th century when its two harbours silted up causing the economy to collapse. In 538 emperor Justinian rebuilt the walls of the city which had now become a small town. During the Byzantine age a small castle called Palation was located on the hill beside the city. Seljuk Turks conquered the city in the 14th century in an effort to use it as a port to trade with Venice however due to a mix of deforestation, overgrazing and erosion the city became unviable as a port and its ruins now lie 10kms from the sea.

GPS: 37.53067, 27.27707

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