Priene & Didyma

Priene and Didyma were two ancient sites from which we didn’t expect too much but both surprised us. The size of the unfinished temple of Didyma was incredible and Priene fascinated with its position and easy to recognise street layout. The vegetation gave it an enchanted flair.

Temple @ Didyma


Dydima was the most important oracle in Asia Minor, it even predicted the victory of Alexander the Great. An impressive temple around the cult place was planned, 24 metres high with 112 columns of 2 metres diameter which should border the building in 2 rows. Even in 500 years the temple was not finished and later earthquakes destroyed most of what was already built.

Temple of Didyma

The first sight of the remains of the temple was already impressive but you get the dimensions even better when you stand next to these immense columns.

I felt like a dwarf between these giant columns

Headstone of the columns of the inner courtyard 

Richly decorated base of a column

Such huge dimensions

In the back the entrance to the sacred site for priests only
But before we had reached Didyma we had stopped at Priene, another ancient town which once had a harbour, but during time the river Maeander had moved the coast kilometres further out. Priene was rebuilt in 350 BC following the rectangular street pattern Hippodamos had introduced in nearby Milet and which was from then on the pattern for ancient cities, rediscovered in the Renaissance for modern times city planning. 
Street of Priene following the rectangular pattern

Walls constructed from big blocks cut to precision

I got the place of honour at the theatre

Edi had to sit in one of the upper rows ūüėČ
A field of huge column parts surround the temple of Athena

Temple of Athena – built for 400 years and finished in the 1st century AD,
at the beginning also financed by Alexander the Great.

In ancient times Priene had a sea harbour, today the shore is kilometres away

Part of the roof from the temple 

Map showing how the coastline had changed during the centuries
(Priene is the red dot at the edge of the mountain range)

Grid like streets lead up and down the hill

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