Aydın Magnesia Archeological Site
The City of Races:
MAGNESIA AD MAAEANDRUM
The second (today's) Magnesia, which was re-established in 400 BC at the location of the Temple of Artemis Leukophryene, which has existed since the Archaic Period, where the slopes of Gümüşdağ (Thorax) reach the ancient Lethaios (Gümüşçay), is called "Magnesia ad Maeandrum" ( Menderes Magnesia). It was a city in Ionia, in the middle of the triangle of Ephesos, Priene, and Tralleis, with an important commercial and strategic location on the roads connecting these cities. It was famous for its grain production and figs as it is today. After Alexander the Great (336-323 BC), the most glorious period of the city was the years when it was first attached to the Seleukos and then to the Pergamon Kingdom.
During the Roman Empire, Magnesia was an independent city and on the city coins of the 3rd century AD, it described itself as the 7th city of Asia (Anatolia). One of the earliest Christian communities in Anatolia was in Magnesia, supported by a chapel that may have belonged to St. Ignatius. It is known that during the Byzantine Empire, it was a bishopric center until the 12th century.
Magnesia is one of the easiest to reach among the ancient cities. You can reach the city after 2 km by taking the "Magnesia" exit before the Bodrum Motorway ends. The ancient city, within the borders of the Tekin district of the Germencik district of Aydın, through which the Ortaklar Söke highway passes, was excavated by the French archaeologist and traveler Charles Texier in 1842-43, and by Carl Humann on behalf of the Berlin Museums in 1891-93. The last excavations were started in 1984 by the Aydın Archeology Museum Directorate. Since 1986, it has been carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism under the chairmanship of Prof. Dr. Orhan Bingöl, Head of the Archeology Department of the Faculty of Letters of Karabuk University.
One of the indicators proving the importance of Magnesia is the Temple of Artemis Leukophryene, which is a pseudodipteros-planned masterpiece by architect Hermogenes, which Vitruvius, one of the ancient architects and writers, mentioned in his work titled "Ten Books on Architecture", is in Magnesia ad Meandrum.
The existing elements of the western facade of the temple are sufficient for restoration. The fame of the city, which started with this temple in ancient times, continues today with the elements of this structure being exhibited in the Louvre museum and Berlin Pergamon museum. Another indicator emphasizing the importance of Magnesia is that it was a city that built its stadium with a capacity of 40,000 people out of marble for the Olympic Artemis Games, which we know to have started in this period, challenging the famous cities around it. The stadium, built for sports, horse, and music competitions, is the only known example of its preservation status, with inscriptions and reliefs on its podium.
It is understood that it took the prestigious position it achieved with this reputation much further with sculpture. The fact that seven statues were found in one room, eight in another, and seven statues in a single room in 2018 also highlight it. The Scylla cap and other finds inspired by Homeros's Odyssea show the continuity of the sculpture school in Magnesia.
Even the facade of the temple of Zeus in the middle of its agora, mostly made of concrete, shows the importance of the city in Berlin today, while its ruins are underground in Magnesia.
Documents related to another important aspect of the agora, which was never known, were unearthed in the last studies, and it was determined that the stoas had lower galleries decorated with frescoes on the walls and columns.