Stratonikeia Ancient City

Stratonikeia Ancient City

Stratonikeia is located in the upper reaches of Eskihisar Village, 7 kilometers west of Yatağan District in Muğla Province. The foundation of the city dates back to 8th century BC, when it was known as Khrysaoris or Idrias. After Alexander the Great, around 281 BC the name of the city was changed into Stratonike, first mother-in-law and then wife of Seleucid king Antiochus I.

The city was ruled by many kingdoms during the Hellenistic Era, including Seleucids, Macedonians and Romans. The Byzantines also ruled Stratonikeia for a time until it became a titular see in Anatolia.

Stratonikeia Ancient City

Historically, Stratonikeia was first occupied by Turkish tribes in the 11th century AD. The city then remained under Turkish principalities for a long period of time. As with the region during most of Ottoman rule, there were always settlements in Stratonikeia during this time as well. The name of the city has been changed to Eskihisar. After Turkey gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1922 and became a Republic, settlement continued to increase until an earthquake hit in 1952 and drove residents away--this was followed shortly thereafter when rich coal mines were found and mining companies forced people out of their homes once again. Today one can still see houses from old villages nested within ancient ruins left behind through history.

Stratonikeia was built on a grid plan. Some of the major structures at the site are 4 meters high and 2,5 meters wide city walls, monumental fountain and arched gate (42 meters wide x 14 meters high) which was connecting to Lagina Hekate holly site by a 20 kilometer road, 9 meters wide colonnated street, a big gymnasion (105 x 180 meters) from 2nd century BC, a bouleuterion from 1st century AD by dimensions of 25 x 30 meters, baths, a Greco-Roman type theater with a capacity of 10 or 15 thousand people, cistern, necropolis, an Ionic order peripteros plan temple from Augustus' period with dimentions of 15 x 21 meters, and religious monuments dedicated to Hekate and Zeus. This city was built with white marble, alluding to the wealth of Rome. There was a gladiator school in which many were trained and sent for fights across the Roman Empire.

The settlement of Stratonikeia (Eskihisar) is a multifactoral place with elements from all periods. Reflecting this, the prominence of this settlement is defined by its integrity as well as continuity while the existing village lies on top of it.

This ancient site has remarkable architectural structures dating back to multiple eras, including the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman Imperial and Ottoman periods. The most powerful examples of public and civic structures seen in Turkey can be found at ancient sites such as Stratonikeia. With one of the world’s largest marble cities on record and many other treasures like bath complexes and city gates noteworthy for their three-story limestone columns as well as old fountains, this settlement is famous for preserving its monumental buildings in a way few others have been able to match.

Because of all these important features, Stratonikeia has been added to the Tentative List of UNESCO in 2015.