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Miletus, one of the oldest and most important settlements in Ionia, was a coastal city on a peninsula 2.5km long, with four harbours It now lies in the middle of a plain. The famous island of Lade, that saw the Persian Armada set fire to and completely destroy the Ionian fleet in 494 B.C., is now a hill 4kms west of the theatre. Tradition relates that Miletus was founded by the Ionians, led by Neleus, son of the the Athenian king Kodros. The story goes that the Greeks slew all the male inhabitants and married the widows! The city became very prosperous by the 7th century B.C.  and was the capital of the Ionian world. It was unquestionably one of the most beautiful and important cities in the ancient world. The first steps towards western culture started with the Milesians, especially in the field of exact science. The Milesian alphabet was adopted by the Greeks  towards the end of the 5th century and became the standard writing system of the Greeks, many famous figures of antiquity were Milesians, including Hippodamus the originator of the grid plan for cities adopted widely during that period. However, following the loss of their fleet at the hands of the Persians, at the battle of Lade, the city was destroyed and, whilst it did recover, it dwindled in importance in classical times. It was nevertheless one of the major metropolises of Asia in the Roman era.

New Testament mentions Miletus as the site where the Apostle Paul in 57 A.D. met with the elders of the church of Ephesus near the close of his Third Missionary Journey, as recorded in Acts of the Apostles
 . It is believed that Paul stopped by the Great Harbour Monument and sat on its steps. He may have met the Ephesian elders there and then bid them farewell on the nearby beach.
The colossal bulk of the theatre standing 40m high on the sea shore must have been a truly magnificent sight as one sailed into the city. It was first constructed in the fourth century and enlarged in the Hellenistic era, eventually attaining its current proportions in Roman times. This stadium seated 15,000 people. It is still possible to walk up through structure and walk through the tunnels that led spectators to the upper seats and galleries
Ampitheatre Ampitheatre
Processional road and stoa leading to harbour and North Agora
Sacred way Processional way
Delphinion The Delphinion lies to the east of the stoa, this was the chief religious centre in the city. Apollo Delphinos was worshipped here. The dolphin was seen as an intelligent and music loving 'fish' and was sacred to Apollo. The visble remains are of a space enclosed on three sides by stoas entered through gates to the west. A round columned structure was probably the alter or shrine and there were also three curved seats and several portable  in this courtyard.
Nymphaion and North Gate
Nymphaion At the southern end of the processional way lay what must have been  one of the most impressive architectral ensembles of antiquity. This squae formed the centre of Miletus. Here the procession from the sanctuary of Apollo Delphinis to the temple of Apollo in Didyma was formed Leading off from the square was the nymphaion, a monumental three storied fountain with rich architectural adornment dedicated in 1st century A.D. by father of Emperor Trajan. 
This faced the north gate, a monumental entrance leading into the South Agora that now is in the Pergamon museum in Berlin. On either side of the Nymphaion was the Hellenistic gymnasium (institute for sport and education, 2nd century B.C.) and the church of the Milesian diocese (5th century A.D.). Opposite was the Bouletrion (City Council chambers)  175-164 B.C..The Roman buildings would have contrasted with the Hellenistic styles of the adjacent Bouleterion and gymnasiun.  Decorative reliefs
From Bouleterion This whole square seen from the processional road or as here from Bouleterion must have been a truly spectacular sight.  Sadly, today, one can only try to imagine this scene as not much more than the ground floors remain, although some of the rich embellishments can be seen lying around.
Temple of Serapis
Serapis temple pediment This market place was set up in Hellenistic times as an enormous colonnaded courtyard of 164 x 196m. Stoas surrounded the space. The east stoa contained 39 pairs of shops arranged back to back and 19 shops along the southern end. Just beyond the western side of the Agora lay the Temple of Serapis  asection of which has been reconstructed (opposite).
Faustina Baths
Roman Baths These well preserved structures were erected by Faustina II wife of Marcus Aurelius (161-180 A.D. and are well worth taking a detour to see.
Baths One enters through the dressing room or apodyterium into the frigidarium, the cold section of the baths containing a large pool. The statue of a river god and a lion, both fountains, can still be seen. The frigidarium opened into the hot section or caldarium which consisted of two large rooms with apses. 
Baths Baths
Both these were heated from below by hot air flowing from the furnaces into spaces beneath the floor. The rooms were also heated by earthenware pipes concealed in the walls. The bathers then moved into the tepidarium or lukewarm room and so returned to the apodyterium.