Priene in Caria




The most famous photo motif of Priene, the 5 erected columns of the temple of Athena  

The origins of the city of Priene lie in the darkness of history. The city was newly founded elsewhere around the middle of the 4th century B.C.. This measure could have been initiated by the Carian ruler Maussollos or the Athenians. The exact location of the first settlement of the people of Prien is not known. However, the eventful history of this settlement is well known.


At the Agora with the Holy Hall  

The Agora, the public market and meeting place, was about in the middle of the city. It took the width of two insulae of the city grid in an east-west direction and one and a half insulae in a north-south direction; it measured 82 × 88 m. The southern part of the square was surrounded on three sides by a surrounding portico of Doric order; the northern edge beyond the main street was first formed by a similar portico.
It was replaced in the middle of the 2nd century B.C. by a new two-aisled building, called Holy Hall, which continued one more island width to the east and was over 116 m long. Remarkably, individual features of the Ionic order are included at the column front of Doric order. The west wall of this hall was described inside in the course of time with public documents. In the middle of the square there is a foundation on which perhaps an altar of Hermes used to stand.


The Sanctuary of Asclepius  

To the east of the Agora lies the sanctuary of Asclepius, whose entrance was not on the Agora but on the eastern side of the sanctuary facing away from it.


The Theatre  


Chair for dignitaries and guests of honour




Of the more than twenty theatres of Western Asia Minor, some of which are very well preserved, only this has retained its Hellenistic form. All others were rebuilt in Roman times. A special feature are the five marble armchairs around the orchestra, which were intended for dignitaries and guests of honour.
In the main axis between the stage house (Skene) and the auditorium stands an altar for the god Dionysus, from whose cult the theatre play of antiquity emerged.
The proscenium (Proskenion) with half-column pillars and a Doric timberwork as well as the stage house are well preserved. Between the pillars, panels with painted backgrounds were hung - the forerunners of the later stage design. The theatre had excellent acoustics and, with 6,500 people, accommodated all the inhabitants of the city. It was used both for theatre performances and for public meetings. This is indicated by a stone with a holder for an hourglass, which limited speaking time.




The ruins of the temple of Athena  



The temple of Athena is one of the relatively few buildings of Greek antiquity whose architect has been passed down by name. After Vitruv, it was designed by Pytheos, who also worked at the mausoleum of Halicarnassus (now Bodrum). Vitruv praised the work at the temple of Athena as excellent. The study of architectural ornamentation documented several construction phases, from the beginning in the second half of the 4th century B.C. to completion in the earliest Roman imperial period, presumably under Augustus. By mentioning it at Vitruv, great importance was attached to the temple of Athena.





Column drums of the temple of Athena




The Bouleuterion


With the victory of the Romans under Gnaeus Manlius Vulso over the Seleucids in 190 B.C., Priene first came under the control of Rome as an independent ally. Around 140/130 B.C. a fire disaster destroyed the districts to the west.
Due to alluvial deposits of the Great Meander, the coastline shifted out more and more, as a result of which Priene and its harbour became increasingly less important. In modern times, the ruins of Priene aroused the interest of English business travellers for the first time in 1673. Because of the famous temple of Athens, Priene was a destination on the Society of Dilettanti's research trips to Ionia in the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1868/69 Richard Popplewell Pullan largely exposed the Athena Shrine. The systematic excavation of large parts of the city began in 1895 by the archaeologist Carl Humann. After his death in 1896, the company was continued by Theodor Wiegand and Hans Schrader. A few years later, the results were presented in a detailed publication. In 1998 the excavations were resumed under the direction of Prof. Dr. Wulf Raeck. In regular campaigns, the late classical and Hellenistic urban planning and residential architecture of Priene are researched.

Photos: @chim    
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Source: Wikipedia and others