We awoke to the braying of the donkey in the valley below our hotel in Sirince. The light was muted through the curtains so we knew it was still overcast. It was also very cold but no frost. We went up to the main kitchen area. A couple of other people were sitting outside in the patio but it was a little too cold for us so we choose to eat in the kitchen. It was warm and cozy. The breakfast was filling with its variety of small dishes, egg and a fried crepe along with nice hot coffee.
We had read that Ephesus was very busy in the mornings with busloads of tourists from the cruise ships that had docked in Kuşadası. There are also three smaller ruins in the area; Priene, Miletus and Didyma. We looked at a map and Priene was not too far away. We decided to go to it first and then visit Ephesus in the afternoon.
It took about an hour to drive from Sirince to Priene which is located just beyond the major town of Soke. The road just outside of Soke was lined with outlet stores. We recognized a couple of the brands but we were not interested in shopping.
Tunnel on the Otoroad between Selcuk and Soke
We turned off and headed towards Güllübahce where Priene is located. One side of the road was the silt filled bay of the Meanders River and the other side was the foothills of Mount Mycale. It was easy to find following the brown signs which are used to signify tourist sites.
There were a couple of buses already in the parking lot. The attendant showed us where to park and we paid the parking fee and went into the small building to pay the entrance. We were excited. It was our first ruins.
Priene is very interesting. The city was built up the hillside which was originally along the bayshore. It is laid out in a grid pattern. The city was part of the Greek Ionian League of cities in the 8th century BC. It was captured and held by the Persians until Alexander the Great conquered the Persian at which time Prience was rebuild. Alexander the Great dedicated the lovely temple of Athena in 334 BC.
Column ruins of the Temple of Athena in Priene
It is a lovely setting. The vistas look over the valley below to the distant sea. Above the ruins are the hillsides of Mount Mycale. It is quiet with the wind gently rustling through the pines. I really liked the theater and the stately column ruins of the temple of Athena. Walking along the streets and through the agora (market), you could feel what it was like to live there.
Town of Güllübahce in the distance