Didyma was not a city but a sanctuary linked to Miletus by a Sacred Road. Here, was a renowned prophecy temple dedicated to Apollo where crowds of pilgrims came to consult the oracle. Already in the 6C B.C. a former temple was extremely famous. Destroyed by the Persians in 394 B.C., the impressive temple was rebuilt by the Milesians who wanted to rewin the Greeks and Alexander the Great’s favour, but they could not complete it due to financial problems. Even like this, the temple was considered one of the biggest temples in the Hellenistic world, but still it never regained its past celebrity. Later, when a Byzantine basilica was built in the open-air courtyard, the temple completly lost its pagan function.
The colossal temple was 110m/360ft long, 51m/167ft wide and 24m/78ft high. 3 of the 108 columns that surrounded the sanctuary (120 monumental columns in total) are still entirely standing. The basis of the 8 central columns of the eastern facade are ornemented with beautiful reliefs of the Roman period. The huge and beautiful Head of Medusa relief which has fallen off the frieze must not be missed.
Today, beautiful sand beaches make Didyma a nice small holiday resort.
This prosperous ancient city located at the crossroad of Anatolian Trade routes had four ports that developed on the coast and at the mouth of the Meander River (Büyük Menderes). Its population was between 80,000 and 100,000 inhabitants. Miletus produced geniuses like philosophers Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, town planner Hippodamus who all lived around 6C B.C., and Isodorus of Miletus who lived in the 6C A.D. (he and Antemius of Tralles were the architects of Haghia Sophia in Constantinople).Miletus shared the same fate as other Ionians cities with the domination of the Persians until it was taken by Alexanderthe Great and later ruled by the Seleucid Dynasty. The city kept the same commercial importance under the Romans.St Paul stopped here in 57 at the end of his third missionary journey.
The city, after it was sacked by the Persians in 494 B.C.,was rebuilt on a hippodamian or grid plan. Because of the silting up of the river, the ruins of Miletus are located today a few kilometers away from the sea.
The theatre, of Hellenistic origin, had a seating capacity of 5,300 people. In the 2C A.D. it was modified by the Romans who enlarged it to a capacity of 15,000 people. It is one of the most important monuments of Miletus.
The Harbour Monuments which stood in front of the Lions’Harbour.
The South Agora is a market place of the Hellenistic period.
The Stadium with a seating capacity of 15,000 people.
The Ilyas Bey Mosque built in the 15th century by the regional Ottoman military commandant.