Magnesia (Magnesia Ad Meandrum) Ancient City

Magnesia (Magnesia Ad Meandrum) Ancient City

Magnesia Ancient City, also known as Magnesia Ad Meandrum, is situated in Tekinköy, close to the Ortaklar district of Aydin province in Northwestern Turkey. The site, located 100 km south of Izmir, has been under continuous excavation since 1984. Its strategic position along the main road connecting Ortaklar to Söke, coupled with its rich cultural and natural heritage, makes it easily accessible and an important site to visit.

Originally established during the Hellenistic era, Magnesia grew to cover an area of approximately 550 hectares. Today, the site stands as a significant archaeological landmark, preserved for future generations to study and learn about the ancient way of life.

Magnesia (Magnesia Ad Meandrum) Ancient City

According to historical records, Magnesia was founded by settlers from Thessalia who were guided by the oracle of Apollo and led by their leader Leukippos. The location of the first city of Magnesia remains unknown, but it is believed to have been situated near the Meander River, which used to be a bay on the Aegean Sea. However, due to changes in the course of the Meander River and invasions by the Persian Empire, the village was eventually relocated to its current position next to the Gumuscay River.

During the Hellenistic period, Magnesia was ruled by Seleucos and later by the Kingdom of Pergamon. The city managed to withstand the Roman occupation but eventually became a center of religious significance during the Byzantine era.

Magnesia, or Magnesia-on-the-Maeandrum, was a significant city in the region of Asia Minor. Its strategic and commercial importance was evident during its prime. The city was planned on a grid and encompassed by a large wall, covering an area of 1.5 kilometers in diameter. Unlike many other ancient cities in the area, Magnesia's ruins were never entirely destroyed. Instead, flooding and sedimentation caused by the river covered the city, preserving it from treasure hunters for many centuries.

The first excavations at Magnesia took place in 1891 and lasted for two years. Objects discovered during the excavation are currently on display at museums throughout Paris, Berlin, and Istanbul. After a long period of inactivity, the Ministry of Culture and the University of Ankara resumed excavations at Magnesia in 1984. The site had been covered in dirt over the previous years.

The temple of Artemis is the most significant ruin at Magnesia. It was constructed by the renowned architect Hermogenes, who is famous for designing the plan for 8-sided Greek temples known as octagonal pseudo-dipteros. The temple of Artemis was reconstructed in the Hellenistic era, around the late 3rd century BC, on the remains of an older structure from a previous epoch.

The temple of Artemis at Magnesia was built in the Ionic style and featured 8 x 15 columns, covering an area of 67 x 40 meters (220 x 131 feet). It was one of the largest temples in Anatolia, ranking third after Didyma and Ephesus according to Strabo. The U-shaped altar was massive and adorned with friezes and statues. The theater at Magnesia was constructed in the 2nd century BC and has a classical design. The Agora and Zeus altar, believed to have been built by Hermogenes at the beginning of the 2nd century BC, covers an area of 26 thousand square meters (6.5 acres) and was one of the most significant bazaars in Asia Minor during that period. The other ruins visible at Magnesia primarily date back to the Roman and Byzantine eras, including the gymnasion, bath complex, odeon, stadion, which could seat 25 thousand spectators, basilica, and Byzantine wall. The Çerkez Musa mosque, constructed in the 15th century, is the only Ottoman structure on the site. Magnesia is still undergoing excavation, and there is much yet to be discovered.