Thursday, 15 August 2013

Right, walking shoes on, off we go.....

It wasn't until I started to do my research for this blog that I realised that despite visiting Priene several times over the last 6 years we have missed so much.  So many times I find myself reading about an area of Priene and thinking "I don't remember seeing that" or "Why have I not taken a photo of that?" 
I am not a Historian or an Archaeologist, so I apologise now if some people find this blog inaccurate. I just wanted to pull together, using all sources available to me, a walking guide to Priene, so that if you never get to visit Priene, you should be able to get a feel for the place, or you go and need some assistance along the way, hopefully I can help you discover more about the site.  Right walking shoes on off we go, I hope you enjoy our walk.....
. . .
THE CLASSIC VIEW
I wanted to start with this picture as it gives the classic view when searching for details on the ruins, but there is so much more to the story.
. . . 
. . .
We will come back to the Temple of Athena, later in the blog.
. . .
Priene lies approximately 17km from Söke and 20km from Kuşadası in the province of Aydın on the South Aegean Coast of Turkey.
. . . 
It is unclear who founded the city but both Aepytus or Philotus of Thebai have been mentioned.  When mention is made of Philotus being the founder of Priene, the city name is written as Cadme.
. . .
It is recorded that Priene was originally inhabited by the Cariens in the 12th Century BCE.
There is very little said about the Carians.  They appear to have been a Barbarian group from the Greek Dark Ages and were co-travellers with the Ionians.
. . . 
The Ionians then migrated to the city in the 11th Century BCE.  The Ionians were one of the four major tribes of Classical Greeks.  During the Ionian period Priene became a member of The Ionian League, believed to have been settled by Greek colonists before 1000 BCE (9th Century BCE), (which consisted of Miletus, Myus, Priene, Ephesus, Colophon, Lebedos, Teos, Clazomenae, Phocaea, Chios, Erythrae and Samos) and was first located somewhere in the area of Söke and had a thriving port.  The Ionian League met at the Panionion, a common  temple and meeting place under the control of Priene.  It was situated on the opposite side of Mount Mycale, just outside of Güzelçamlı.  Writings at the end of the 5th Century BCE say that due to war in the surrounding area the activities of the Panionion were moved to Ephesus, where they remained until the reign of Alexander the Great, when he returned them to their original location.
. . . 
During the 7th Century BCE the Lydians ruled the city.  These people were from the Iron Age Kingdom of Western Asia Minor, in the modern Turkish provinces of Manisa and Izmir.
. . . 
Then the Persians became the new rulers in 546 BCE, during the 6th Century BCE.  The Persians originate from Persis in Southern Iran.
. . . 
During this time it is reported that the port regularly silted up leaving the city to cope with pest-ridden swamps and marshes, so as a result it moved to its present location situated on the southern slopes of (Samson) Mount Mykale.
. . . 
In the 5th Century BCE Priene became a member of the Athenian dominated Delian League.   This league, under the leadership of Athens, consisted of between 150 and 170 Greek city-states and its purpose was to continue fighting the Persian Empire.

The current Priene was constructed within the 4th Century BCE.  It was planned by the Persian Empires Governor of the Province, Mausolus, who also ruled Caria and was the Brother and Husband of Artemisia II of Caria. Artemisia II was responsible for the construction of a tomb to Mausolus after his death (which was regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World), and where the term Mausoleum originates.
. . . 
Construction of Priene had already begun when the Macedonians took over the region from the Persian Empire.  At this time the Macedonians, from Macedonia in Northern Greece, were ruled by Alexander The Great, who is said to have took responsibility for the move.
. . . 
The new City had a deep water port with two harbours called 'Naulocho' but silt deposits eventually cut it off from the sea.
. . . 
Orophernes of Cappodocia was one on two false sons of Antiochis who married Ariarthes IV, the King of Cappodocia.  During Orophernes brief and lavish rule of Rome around 157 BCE (2nd Century BCE) he deposited 400 talents (a unit of measure for gold or silver, a Roman talent was 32.3kg or 71lb) with the citizens of Priene for safe keeping.  When he returned to recover the treasure he financed a restoration project on the Temple of Athena as a thank you.
. . . 
It became an important bishopric centre (the diocese of a Bishop) in the Byzantine Period (4th to 12th Century AD).  The Byzantine Empire was the Roman Empire as it existed during the Middle Ages, centered on the capital of Constantinople.  At this time Priene and the district of Aydın was ruled by the Anatolian Patriarchate (Bishops Representative).
. . . 
However, due to Priene's strong Greek ties, it was not viewed with favour by the Romans and its importance to them declined.  Priene passed into Muslim rule during the 13th Century AD and was totally abandoned during this century.  Because of this, Priene remains one of the most intact Hellenistic settlements to be seen.  (Hellenistic describes the period following the conquests of Alexander The Great and represents the Greek influence in the Ancient World between 323 BCE to 146 BCE - 4th Century BCE).
. . . 
. . . 
I would like to thank the following who I have used to help me with my material:
FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE LOCATION
Just arriving at the car park of Priene gives you a sense of the location. Standing with your back to the site you are overlooking the village of Güllübaçe, which sprang up shortly after the 1923 population exchange between Turkey and Greece.
. . . 
. . . 
We have visited the site at various times of the year, this photo was taken in December, on a cool but sunny day, which gave a lovely warm feel to the winter colours.
. . . 
One word of warning, if you do get to visit the site, wear good walking shoes, light airy clothing in summer and take lots of water.  In winter wear layers, the sun is usually lovely and warm but it always seems to be windy and take a flask of coffee.  To really appreciate the site you need to allow plenty of time.
. . . 
THE FINAL CLIMB TO THE SITE
If like us on our first visit, you were so taken by the view at the car park, it is only now that you have noticed how far up you still have to go.
. . . 
. . . 
The main gateway to Priene is down to the right of us, along the path, in the above picture and I think a lot of people miss the gateway because of this.  We go out that way so you will see the gate at the end of the blog.
. . . 
. . . 
On the way up the steps you pass a magnificent section of wall made up of very substantial pieces of stone.  Already you find yourself asking how they managed to get them up such a steep hill?
. . . 
These blocks are said to be in the 'pulvinated' style, which means that their outer vertical surface forms a regular curve from top to bottom, cut off with a sharp bevel at the vertical edge.  These blocks have also been referred to as 'Ashlar', a name still used today. They and most of Priene's building materials are of a grey-blue marble unique to the region.
. . . 
. . . 
This next section of wall is different and you can see the buttress type supports giving extra strength to the wall.  It looks like this might be what the walls looked like before the facing stones, seen above, were placed.
. . . 
. . . 
We spotted what I thought might be a Funnel Web Spider web at the bottom of the wall, but I have since read that it is probably the less dangerous Tunnel Web Spider which is more common in Europe.  Fortunately there was no sign of the spider, otherwise I would not have got such a close up of the web!
. . . 
. . . 
LAYOUT OF SITE
We have now arrived at a crossroads in the site and you can start to appreciate how much stone and ruins there are to see.
. . . 
The photos below show the two sections of the notice board which greets you at this point, to give you an idea of what the city once looked like and also a plan of what to see.  The graphics show that the city was originally surrounded by a substantial wall which stretched for approximately 2.5km with 16 towers and 3 entrance gates.  The orange dot on the plan shows you where the notice board is in relation to the site.
. . . 
The main gate (Ostthor) was on the east wall and is the most identifiable.
. . . 
The lower gate (Westthor) was in the west wall and you can still make it out.
. . . 
The water-gate (Quellenthor) was in the south wall and lead down to the spring which rose from the foot of the rock that Priene stands on.  You can just about see what looks like some of the remains.
. . . 
The City was built to a grid plan introduced by the architect Hippodamos of Miletos and was set on four terraces.
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
We generally head to the left at this point.  On the ground on your left, you will see an ancient drainage chamber, which looks remarkably like the ones used today, except that it has been chiselled out of stone rather than of plastic.
. . . 
. . . 
PRYTANEION
The Prytaneion, was the meeting house and dining room for the Senators.  Prytaneion means 'Magistrates Hall' or 'Town Hall'.  It is said that no city could be called a Greek city without a Prytaneion.

This one possibly dates between 180 BCE (2nd Century BCE)  and 150 AD (2nd Century AD).  Although, it is documented, that there were possibly two phases of construction here with the later being during Roman times.
. . . 
It is situated on the corner of Athena Street and the street heading towards Watergate Street to the south.
. . . 
Inside one of the chambers would have been the shrine of Hestia, where the eternal sacred flame was burned.  It was believed that the common heart of the city symbolised the city and if the fire of the common heart died, then so would the city.
Hestia was the virgin goddess of the hearth and the home.  She presided over the cooking of the bread and the family meal.  She was also the goddess of the sacrificial flame and therefore received a share of every sacrifice to the gods.
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
These next two photos show a close up of the vessel like objects just off to the right centre of the above picture.
. . . 
. . . 
I have found writings that said that the square vessel below is a marble basin of re-used balustrade slabs, possibly used to collect rainwater from the roof.
. . . 
. . . 
The inscription on this stonework below was translated by Runscheid and Koenigs, 1998: 49-50.  It is said to be from around the 3rd Century AD and is an honorific inscription for Marcus Aurelius Tatianus the younger.  It has been translated as follows:


“The famous city of the Prienians, noble Ionians, and the egregious council and the Emperor-loving Corporation of the Elderly – in accordance with what has frequently been expressed by them in their documents, ratified in common sense of Council and Assembly of the people and by decrees passed by the people – (have) honoured M. Aur. Tatianus, (grand)son of Euschemon, (great-grand)son of Euschemon, (great-grand)son of Polion, market inspector, for his expenditure for the city when in office; to him, who has been head of the ceremonies in honour of Athena Polias and temple warden of the goddess and senior prytanis and wreath-wearing chairman of the council, farewell.”

. . . 
. . . 
From here we continue heading down the path towards the Byzantine Castle and Asklepion buildings.
. . . 
. . . 
BYZANTIUM CASTLE
We have just passed through some wall remnants and if we turn round and look back we are now looking at what appears to be some of the internal walls of the Byzantine Castle, which straddled the path that we have just walked down.  There does seem to be some debate as to whether this is a Castle or not.
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
To the left the Castle foundations were laid on top of the ruins of the Asklepion.
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
As you turn back and look towards the valley below you will see another arch all on its own.  It is shown on the map on the site, but is not identified, to me it seems to be part of the castle, but it may be some other structure.  It appears to be of the same material as the Castle ruins and there is a smaller one to the left.  It does make a good frame for taking photos with the large expanse of plain behind it.
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
According to the map we now appear to be around the area of Watergate (Quellenthor) Street.  If you was to follow this to the left of the above picture it would take you to the Watergate on the south wall.
. . . 
The next two photos show you the general direction of Watergate Street, through the centre of the two shots and to the left of the line of trees and then down the valley.
. . .
. . . 
. . .
The next photo shows what appears to be some of the ruins of the Watergate, they are quite a way down the valley, so we will leave getting a closer look at them, for another day.  This is another area which gives you a real sense of the steepness of this site, we only walked half way down the side of the site to take this photo of the gate, but boy was it hard work walking back up!
. . . 
. . . 
There is another chunk of ruin to our left, which seems to be the outer corner of the Castle at this point.
. . . 
. . . 
NOTABLE PEOPLE ASSOCIATED WITH PRIENE
At this point I have decided to add this section, as I am coming across several people who played an important role in Priene and I am sure their names will come up several times in our journey.  So please bear with me.
. . . 
Aepytus
Aepytus was the son of Neleus of Miletos and was reported in some documents to be the founder of the original location of Priene.
. . . 
Alexander The Great
Alexander's proper title was Alexander III of Macedon was only 33 years old when he died, but even in this short time he left a legacy that has never been forgotten.
He was responsible for creating one of the largest empires of the ancient world and was considered one of histories most successful commanders.
. . . 
Ariarethes VI King Of Cappadocia
He was a child when he became king and ruled for about 14 years from 130 - 116 BCE .
. . . 
Bias
Bias was a citizen of Priene and was reported to be the wisest of the Seven Sages Of Greece.  This was the title given to the seven men by Greek Tradition, made up of philosophers, statesmen and law-men.  The most recorded list of the other 6 is as follows:
Solon of Athens
Chilon of Sparta
Thorles of Miletus
Cleobulus of Lindos
Pittacus of Mitylene
Periander of Corinth

Please note that the image shown comes from http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Bios/BiasOfPriene.html
. . . 
Although at least another 13 are mentioned throughout the time.
. . . 
One of the legends has it that Bias paid a ransom for some women that had been taken prisoner, he educated them as his own daughters, then sent them back to Messina, their homeland and to their fathers.
. . . 
It was also said that some fishermen from Priene found 'The Brazen Tripod' with the inscription 'For the Wisest'.  The citizens of Priene agreed that the wisest person they knew was Bias so they presented it to him.  But Bias was reported to have refused the gesture saying that 'Apollo is the Wisest'.
. . . 
In the middle of the 2nd Century BCE Priene issued silver coins with a full length figure of Bias on them.  It is said that it was probably a likeness of the statue that stood in Priene.  The coin shows a tripod alongside the statue in relation to the story mentioned above.
. . . 
Cleandrus
Cleandrus was the sculptor responsible for the bronze statues in the Theatre.  So far the only mention I have found for Cleandrus is that he was a friend of Alexander The Great.
. . . 
Hermogenes
Hermogenes was a Hellenistic Architect from Priene, who lived during the late 3rd and early 2nd Century BCE.  He was noted for his work on the Temple of Artemis Leukophryene at Magnesia in Turkey.  He was also the architect of the Temple of Dionysus in Teos in Turkey.
. . .
Myrone
Myrone was an author know for his historical account of the First Messenian War.  
Little is know of the date that he wrote this account apart from the fact it was during the Alexandrine period, not earlier than the 3rd Century BCE.  Although later it was written that his account was not reliable.
. . .
Orophernes
Orophernes of Cappadocia was one of two false sons of Antiochis who married Ariarthes IV, King Of Cappadocia, he financed one of the restoration projects on the Temple of Athena.
. . . 
Philotas
Philotas was a Theban, a descendant of Peneleos, and was reported to be a joint founder of the original location of Priene.
. . . 
Pythius
Also known as Pytheos and Pythis was a Carian Architect who designed and built the Temple of Athena here in Priene.  He also built the Mausoleum in Halikarnassos which became one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
. . . 
ASKLEPION
As we head back into the site and past the Byzantine Castle, on our left, are the remains of the Asklepion, which the Castle partially overlaps.
. . . 
. . .
The Asklepion was the name given to the ancient Greek temples of healing by followers of the Greek God of Healing, Asklepios.
. . . 
. . . 
The temple was said to be a smaller version of the Temple of Athena and so was considered to have been built by Pythius.  The temple was recorded to have been started in 330 BCE (4th Century) and completed by the beginning of the 3rd Century BCE.
. . . 
Asklepios was a real physician who lived in Greece around 1200 BCE (13th to 12th century BCE), and over time, myth and legend turned him into the Greek God of Healing. Asklepios was the first person to have recorded the condition of his patients, the medicine given, with dose, and the outcome of the treatment.
. . . 
The next two photos show the stoa (a covered walk way) which would have been located around the front of the Asklepion and between the Asklepion and the Agora.
. . . 
. . . 
. . .
The next photo shows the remains of the doorway to the temple in the Asklepion.  When I first saw this I could not believe how big the footprint for this doorway was. but then as you look around, you start to see how much ground the Asklepion covered.  I find myself quite often miss scaling ruins, you really have to use your imagination.
. . . 
. . . 
We are now back on Westgate Street and will continue to our left.
. . . 
At the back of the Asklepion we found some of the stairs that are shown on the map as a route  from the Agor (market place), to Watergate Street and on to the gate.
. . . 
. . . 
LET'S TAKE A REST FOR A MOMENT
. . . 
During the spring and summer there is usually a shady spot underneath the wall of the Castle where you can rest for a while and have a well deserved drink.  Up to this point there has been very little shade.  This is also a place to sit and have a ground level over view of part of the site, with the columns of the Temple of Athena in the distance to your left and the magnificent backdrop of Mount Mykale.
. . . 
These lovely flowers growing out of the stone work are from the Campanula family, these particular ones are know as Nettle-Leaved Bell Flower, Throatwort, this name coming from the belief that these Campanulas were a cure for a sore throat and Our Lady's Bells, because the colour blue was associated with the Virgin Mary's scarf, veil or shawl.
. . . 
. . . 
If you sit still long enough you will start to see the well camouflaged Laudakia Stellis - Stellion Lizard, basking in the sunshine  When you want to take a photo of them it is incredible how quick they are, and how small a gap they can fit into.
. . . 
. . . 
You will also see lots of beautifully carved pieces of stone like the ones below.
. . .
. . .
. . . 
. . . 
ZEUS
I had always thought that a Temple to Zeus was located somewhere in the area of the Asklepion.  But there seems to be some dispute as to whether this was the case or not.  The official website for Priene mentions one which was constructed along side the Byzantine Castle and Church.  It is said that construction began in 330 BC (4th Century) and was completed by the beginning of the 3rd Century BCE.  It was said to have been a small replica of the Temple of Athena and therefore built by Pythius.
. . . 
The photo of Zeus below comes from www.wikipedia.org
. . . 
Zeus was the King of the Gods in Greek Mythology.  He was viewed as a King who oversaw the Universe.  He was also called 'The Father of Gods and Men', and had a daughter with the Goddess of Demeter, see http://prieneturkey-walkwithme.blogspot.com/ Temple of Demeter.
. . . 
. . . 
AGORA - MARKET PLACE
We have now moved to our left to The Agora, built in the 11th Century BCE, which is located in the centre of the site.  As well as the centre for commerce, the Agora was a place for people to meet, where celebrations were carried out and the centre for Festivals. Because of the Meat and Fish Market next door it has been suggested that this Market Place was not used as a market much.
. . .
 . . .
It's southern side was open to the street, the remaining 3 sides were encircled by a stoa, (a stoa is a covered walkway or portico, for public use). The east and west sides contained 18 columns and the south 30 columns. At the rear of the south and west stoa are the remains of shops. There is evidence to suggest that some of the shops in the middle of the south stoa were removed at some stage and this area was turned into a large hall.
. . . 
This next photo shows a section of the foundations of the stoa which ran along the rear of the Agora.  The Agora is to our right, to our left the ground starts to drop away steeply to the Stadium and Lower Gymnasium.
. . . 
. . . 
There would have been statues in marble and bronze throughout the Agora representing the main figures of the City.  Today only the bases of these statues remain.  There would also have been an Art Gallery in this area.
. . .
In the centre of the Agora was an altar 6.2 metres by 5.15 metres, to the God Hermes.  Hermes was the great messenger to the Gods in Greek Mythology and the guide to the underworld.  He was also know as the patron of boundaries and of travellers, of shepherds and cowherds, of the cunning of thieves and liars, of speakers and wit, of literature and poets, of athletics and sports, of weights and measures, of inventions and of commerce.
. . . 
The picture of Hermes comes from www.wikipedia.com
. . . 
. . . 
The altar would have been roughly in the centre of this next photo.
. . . 
. . . 
Showing on the map are four semi-circles at the front of the Agora, when we found them they were made up of quite large stones.  I have no idea what they were for, maybe they were decorative, maybe they served some other purpose.  One thing they do show you, again, is some idea of the scale of things.
. . . 
. . . 
I have often taken a photo of this seat like structure, it makes a good posing seat for your friends.  I have since read that it was a market stall.
. . . 
. . .
. . . 
In the next picture you can see some ancient text that has been carved into what looks like part of a column or base of a statue.  It is incredible how clear the writing still is, I only wish I could read it!
. . . 
. . . 
SACRED STOA
Across the main road called Westbrook Street and opposite the Agora is the Sacred Stoa.  It was presented to Priene by the King of Cappadocia, Ariarathes VI, in the middle of the 2nd Century BCE.
. . .
. . . 
The Stoa measured 12 meters wide by 116 meters long.  There were six steps from the street leading up to a wide gallery, with an open roof.  The gallery was 6.47 meters wide, with benches on the east and west side.  It had 49 outer Doric and 24 inner Ionic columns.  A Doric column was a plain column which stood straight on the pavement without a base.  An Ionic column stood on a base and had a scrolled top.
. . .
You get an idea of how impressive it must have looked, when you see how close these bases of the columns of the Stoa were.
. . . 
. . . 
The photo below shows a section of the steps to the Stoa with what appears to be a seat, but I am unsure about this at the moment.
. . . 
. . . 
I have seen mentioned that on one of the walls of the Sacred Stoa can be seen an inscription  mentioning that 'A generous citizen named Moschion, had donated money to build the lower gymnasium'.  I think it may be on the piece of horizontal stone on the left of what appears to be a seat in the photo below.
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
You can just about make out some inscription, could this be what they are referring too?
. . . 
It is said that it became common practice for most of the public buildings were constructed using private funds and that the donors name would be included in an inscription somewhere within the City.
. . . 
We are now looking along Westgate Street with the Agora on our left and you can just see some of the column bases of the Sacred Stoa on our right.
. . . 
. . .
When I first saw this piece of stonework I thought it might have been part of a decorative stone ball from a column or pillar.  However since seeing a display of ancient cannonballs at the Çesme Castle, it looks very similar in size, shape and type of material.  The only reference I have been able to find regarding cannon balls and Priene is that during Byzantine times it was common for cannon balls to be made from stones robbed from abandoned buildings, these were made on site.  So it is possible that this was a fragment of one that did not make the grade.
. . . 
. . . 
. . .
In the next pictures you can see the remains of what appear to have been some of the shops that were in and around the area of the Sacred Stoa.
. . . 
Could this be a small window?
. . . 
. . .
. . .
These look like a row of shops.
. . . 
. . . 
It is surprising when you start really looking, just how many inscriptions you can find.
. . . 
. . . 
This looks like a large basin.
. . . 
. . . 
This carved piece of stone, that looks like some giant toes, is part of the decoration found on top of an Ionic column, there would have been three of these toe like carvings with a large scroll on either side that would have made up part of the Sacred Stoa.
. . . 
. . . 
Here you can see a set of stairs that takes you up past the Sacred Stoa towards the Temple Of Athena.
. . . 
. . . 
STADIUM AND LOWER GYMNASIUM
We will now head back across Westgate Street and down what appears on the map to be the road way that leads between the Agora and the Meat and Fish Market, (which we will return to shortly), to the Lower Gymnasium and Stadium.
. . .
. . . 
This Gymnasium is referred to as 'Lower' as there is another one situated on the higher level of the site just below the Theatre.  (We will visit this later in the blog).
. . .
From our view point here, the Gymnasium is below and to the right of us.  It is documented to have been built in the 11th Century BCE and was surrounded by a gallery and columns.  It consisted of an open gymnasium area, classrooms and bathrooms.
. . . 
. . .
Very little remains of the Stadium and Lower Gymnasium, but it is still worth the effort to venture down and have a look.
. . . 
As with the Upper Gymnasium some pieces of remaining stone work shows graffiti said to have been carved by the School Boys.
. . .
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
Here you can still see some of the water and drainage systems in the Gymnasium.
. . .
. . .
. . .
We were also able to find a near complete carved head of a lion which was one of many water spouts.
. . . 
. . . 
Here you can see an area of floor made up of very small pieces of stone/tile which was used for wet floor areas.
. . . 
. . .
. . . 
Here you can see some pieces of pot which have been found in the Gymnasium.
. . . 
. . .
Here it looks like the natural rock was used as support or part of the back wall of the buildings that made up the Gymnasium. 
. . . 
. . .
. . .
Here we are standing at the front right corner of the Lower Gymnasium.
. . . 
 . . . 
I have read that a shrine to the Greek goddess Cybele or Meter, as she was known was discovered somewhere in the Lower Gymnasium.  The site of an open air sanctuary was discovered containing terracotta figures and marble statues of the seated goddess with her lion.  Also charred animal bones and offering vessels were discovered.  But other than these findings it appears that she was not considered an important goddess by the Priene people as no other mention of her has been found in inscriptions.
. . . 
To the left of the Lower Gymnasium is the site of the Stadium, it measured 20 metres by 190 metres.  The natural contours of the land between us and the stadium created seating for the spectators.
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
If we now look to our right you can see the Stadium running across the natural plateau that it had been built on.
. . . 
. . . 
Here you can see what are said to be the starting blocks for the runners.
. . .
. . .
We are now standing at the front right of the Stadium.
. . . 
. . .
I have no idea what this piece of carved stone is?
. . . 
. . . 
Running, discus, javelin, long jump, horse racing, boxing, wrestling and pentathlon were amongst the sports held in the Stadium.
. . .
The steps down to the Stadium are still usable, all be it that some parts are a bit uneven and you have to be careful on them, but it is well worth the effort to get down here.
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
. . .
PLAIN OF BÜYÜK MENDERES
Priene overlooks the Plain of Büyük Menderes (Büyük Menderes) meaning great river.  It is said that the name Menderes gave the English language the word 'meander'.
. . .
. . .
. . . 
Along the edge of the plain you will see olive trees, the main crops in the plain are cotton and sunflowers, these two crops seem to be rotated each year.  When it is the year of sunflowers they make a very spectacular display, especially when viewed with Mount Mykale (Samson) as a backdrop.
. . . 
. . .
. . . 
. . . 
On a recent visit to Priene we passed the cotton fields during harvest time, as you drive along you will see many tractors, trailers and lorries loaded with cotton.  In one particular field there was a large pile of cotton and a woman picking through some of it.
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
MEAT AND FISH MARKET
We are now heading back up the roadway alongside the Agora on our left is the Meat and Fish Market.  This layout was often used to keep the main market place clean and quieter.
. . .
. . . 
This area looks to be very small in comparison with the rest of the site, so it must have been very busy, noisy and smelly.  It looks according to the map, as if there were shops along the back edge of the market.
. . . 
Here you can see what looks like a room, again using the natural rock as a wall, which can be found to the right hand side of the Meat and Fish Market.
. . . 
. . . 
This imprint is a bit of an oddity that I found in one of the pieces of rock in this area, it almost looks like a foot print?
. . . 
. . . 
WEST GATE STREET
From the corner of the Meat and Fish Market we will now head to our left and walk along Westgate Street.  We are now heading towards one of the two main residential areas of Priene.
. . . 
. . . 
These two photos of West Gate Street taken at different times of the year show you how different the site looks every time you visit, this is another reason why we like coming here so much, as well as it being full of history and a peaceful place to spend time.
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
At this point in my research I have discovered that just down to the left of the above photo, where you can just make out the beginnings of a drainage system, is the site of a recently excavated Synagogue.
. . . 
On the way down the street, on the left, I noticed this piece of wall which looks like it has had steps cut out of it?
. . . 
. . . 
If your timing is right you may be able to hit a day, as we were able to, when teams of Archaeologists are on site.  On our last visit there had been a team of Archaeologists from The University of Kiel, Germany on site for four weeks, they had a further 2 weeks to go.  Here you can see one of the team carrying out some surveying across the street in front of us.
. . . 
. . . 
SYNAGOGUE
I had never heard of the Synagogue when we first started visiting Priene and it was only after finding details about it that I realised that I have actually stood at the entrance of it and took a photo from the road.  
. . . 
. . . 
The site was originally identified as a Church House and was documented as such.  However later excavations and finds have shown this to be in doubt.
. . . 
The findings of a niche in the building plan and the discovery of a menorah plaque led to the opinion that it is a Synagogue.  A menorah plaque was hung in a Synagogue or home.  They were used for meditation, concentration, and a reminder during prayers of the direction to face. During this recent trip one of the Archaeologists showed us another menorah carving which has been discovered.  The original plaque which they had discovered can now be seen in the Museum at Miletus.
. . . 
. . . 
There is written evidence that there were hundreds of thousands of Jews living in Asia Minor in the 1st Century AD.  I have only found documented evidence of two early
synagogues being found so far, a large one in Sardis, in the Manisa Province of Turkey and this one at Priene.
. . . 
I have been unable to find a date for the Synagogue other that it appears to be late antique (being late 3rd Century AD to middle 7th Century AD).
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
I was fortunate enough to be able to have a chat with one of the Archaeologists working in the site of the Synagogue recently who had been excavating some more internal walls.  I was able to get an insight into how he works, being able to see the freshly excavated wall first hand as well as his drawings.
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
 . . . 
. . . 
Here is another piece of wall that had been excavated.
. . . 
. . . 
Here is an overhead shot of the Synagogue.
. . . 
. . . 
TIME FOR LUNCH?
This is one of the many shady spots, with plenty of seating, to stop and have your picnic lunch, as long as you have brought it with you and not left it in the car.  It has probably seemed a hassle carrying it around with you so far, but it is worth it.
. . .
. . .
We were very lucky, one November day, whilst having our lunch, to be able to watch two squirrels playing in the trees.  There was nobody else around but us and so they stayed for quite sometime.  It's moments like these that you really remember!
. . . 
. . . 
. . . 
RIGHT OFF WE GO AGAIN
We will continue to our left and carry on down Westgate Street where you can now clearly see the drainage system that ran down here.  It gets very steep at this point as well, which makes you think that the residents must have appreciated that at least they were heading down hill with their shopping from the shops and market place.
. . . 
. . . 
Here you can see in more detail, a piece of the main drainage system that ran down the road, with an offshoot from one of the houses, joining it.
. . . 
. . . 
At the bottom of the hill we are now at Westgate, you can still see where the gate was situated with one of the gate posts to your left and a section of the city walls to your right.  You can also see where the drainage system exited through the wall.
. . .  
. . . 
On the ground here you can see the centre holes for the gates.
. . . 
. . . 
The next photo shows a cross section of the wall which ran for approximately 2.5km and was nearly 6m high by 2m wide and had a fortified walkway on top.  The 16 towers which ran around its length were of 2 storey construction and around 14m in height.  This would have looked quite an impressive sight.
. . . 
Here you can see where surveying had been carried out on this section of wall.
. . . 
. . . 
In these pictures you can see where the city walls extend up towards the sheer face of the mountain behind.
. . . 
. . . 
On a recent visit we could see where there had a been a fire on the site, in fact when we were there, there were still parts smouldering.  It looked as if it had started on the slope between the main part of the site and the Lower Gymnasium and had managed to make its way up the west side.  It always amazes me at how much rubbish and especially bottles, are always discarded and how quickly these can start a fire, especially in hot climates.  We always find ourselves taking our rubbish and other peoples away with us.  Sorry that's my rant finished for the day!
. . . 
ALEXANDER THE GREATS HOUSE
On the right just up from where we are standing, you can see a sign for Alexander's House, it is difficult to make out the exact footprint as it is quite overgrown here, but on the map it is shown as quite a sizeable plot.
It had a large courtyard surrounded by cult chambers and it was said that only the pure in white raiment (pure white robe), were permitted.
It is said that he stayed at this house on his way to the siege of Miletus in 494 BC (5th Century BCE), when his men took the city from the Greeks.
. . . 
. . . 
What does amaze me here, is the location of Alexander's house, yes it looks to have one of the larger plots, it has a good view of the surrounding plain and is looking towards the direction of Miletus and it is near the West Gate.  But it must have been smelly, as all the drainage water and sewage ran straight passed it from the top of the site its way out through the city walls.
. . . 
Later the house was said to have been converted into a temple dedicated to Alexander.  This was further backed up by the finding of a marble statue of Alexander at the location.
. . . 
Recent research has changed the view that Alexander ever stayed at this particular house and that it was a temple dedicated to him only.
. . . 
The second part of this journey continues at  http://prieneturkey-walkwithme.blogspot.com/  - please come join us.  Thank you.