The ancient city of Priene is famous for its dramatic
setting on flat table land
overlooking the broad expanse of the
Meander River flood plain with the
steep rock of Mount
Mykale at its back (map).
the northernmost of the three ancient
sites (Priene, Miletus and Didyma)
you can visit on a day
trip from Selçuk (Ephesus)
or Kuşadası. More...
It's worth visting today for its situation,
theater and bouleuterion (council
chamber), and the remains of its grand Temple
of Athena, a work of Pythius
of Halicarnassus, the architect of
the famed Mausoleum (see
Other ruins abound, including a gymnasium, stadium and Byzantine
church. It's an interesting
Priene, 30 km south
35 km south of Selçuk (Ephesus),
was among the first cities in the world
its streets laid out on a grid
plan, an idea that its
planners borrowed from neighboring
The city was
laid out on several levels. The flat,
fertile fields you see today in the
Meander River (Büyük
Menderes Nehri) flood plain were
in fact covered by the Aegean Sea in
ancient times, allowing ships to sail
right to Priene's harbor.
of the great walls 7
feet (2 meters) thick that surrounded
the city are still easily visible.
The gymnasium and stadium were
on the lower slopes of the hill, below
the table land. The acropolis was
farther up the slopes of Mount Mykale.
Today you approach Priene from the
town of Güllübahçe,
34 km (21 miles) south
of Kuşadası and
54 km (33 miles) south of Selçuk and Ephesus by
way of Söke.
Drive up a ramp to the parking area,
buy your ticket,
then walk uphill for about 10 minutes
along a stone-paved street by the city
walls to reach the table land. Toilets
and simple snacks are usually available
by the parking lot. Nearby Güllübahçe
has shady tea houses,
simple restaurants and
a few small pensions.
Founded by the legendary Aegyptus,
Priene prospered around 550 BC, but
was captured by Cyrus of Persia in
545 BC. It was a center for activities
of the Ionian
League around 300 BC.
It later became a Roman city, then
Byzantine, and was still active when
captured by the Turks in the late 1200s.
After you've explored Priene,
head for Miletus,
22 km (14 miles) south across the Meander flood
—by Tom Brosnahan
Mykale rises to the north of
Priene, marked by columns of
Below, Priene's theater had
if the play was bad.