Priene was an ancient Ionian Greek city that would have originally been on the Aegean coast. Over the years it has silted up by discharge from the Meander river. This ancient site is situated by the village of Güllübahçe Turun near Söke in Aydın province. Two other historical sites at Miletus and Didyma can be visited on the same day since they are all close to each other.

The ruins at Priene sit on a flat table of land within a dramatic landscape overlooking the Meander River. This was never a very influential city since its population never rose about 5000. Suffering from earthquakes over the centuries the city was rebuilt in different locations. What you see here today was constructed around 350 BC. In fact, The Temple of Athena, build in 334 BC, was constructed with funding from Alexander the Great.

The ancient site itself is situated on the slopes of the Mykale Mountain. The abandoned ruins of Priene caught the interest of researchers from London who sent expeditions to Priene from 1765 to 1868. The most extensive excavations were carried out by the Museum of Berlin between 1895 and 1898. The gates of the city, the public buildings and temples and houses were discovered by this team of German scholars headed by Carl Humann and Theodor Wiegand.

This is a very impressive site. An amazing testament to the skills of the Greeks in their town planning. At the top of the hill stands the Temple of Athena. Below this on various terraces are the ruins of an Agora, theatre and assembly hall. There are many examples of other constructions at various levels.

Unlike many of the other ancient sites in the region, Priene enjoyed somewhat of a relatively quiet and peaceful existence. Priene from the 8th century BC was part of the Ionion League. It dates back much earlier than this and was attacked by the Lydians in the 7th century BC but seems to have been prosperous before its decline during the Ottoman Empire period.

After you have parked your car some walking is required to explore the site properly. There are some local cafe restaurants and toilet facilties.

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