Ancient City of Teos

Getting there: 75km southeast of Çeşme town centre in the district of Seferhisar, close to the small attractive harbour town of Sığacık. A 1-hour and 15-minute drive by car Urla-Bademlar-Sığacık. Map location: Teos Antik Kenti, Sığacık, Teos Cd. No:151, 35460 Seferihisar/İzmir. Teos archaeology project website (Turkish only). Entrance is via the visitor’s centre on the west side of the site accessed only from Teos Cd.

Access: Tickets ₺7.00. Open daily 08:00-19:00.

Excavated archaeological findings at Teos (Ancient Greek: Τέως) indicate that the city was founded in the Greek Dark Ages, the Homeric Age circa. 1,000 B.C. Greek philosopher and one of the seven sages of Greece, Thales of Miletus (c. 624-545 B.C.) proposed in around 600 B.C. that due to its location Teos should be the central city of the twelve Ionian cities. The promotion was rejected, but the commercial relations of the town remained influential in the region and extended to Naucratis, in the Nile delta, the only Greek colony in Egypt. Around 545 B.C. Teos was conquered by Harpagus the Median (Persian) general and significant migration occurred in 543 B.C. with Teians settling in Abdera (present Xanthi, near Kavala) and Phanagoria (present Crimea). Over the following half-decade, Teos recovered and was in 494 B.C. able to contribute seventeen ships to the battle of Lade (between present-day Samos and Didim) during the Ionian revolt 499-493 B.C. Following the Corinthian War, the king’s peace treaty – peace of Antalcidas of 387 B.C. Teos was left as a subject of Persia, until 334 B.C. when the city gained its freedom under Alexander the Great. From 281 B.C. the city was part of the Seleucid Empire, and under Attalus, I (269-197 B.C.) was part of the Kingdom of Pergamon. On the death of Attalus III in 133 B.C. the kingdom was ceded to the Roman Republic.

Today the ruins of the ancient city of Teos are an important Turkish national heritage site, with ongoing archaeological study and excavations, open to the public and provided with stone walkways, signage, information boards and rest areas. The natural beauty of the ancient olive trees and other flora and fauna throughout the park complement the allure of the historical restorations. The site has been marked out with four interlinking walks which can be partially or fully combined: (i) the Temple of Dionysus route – 1.4km (return walk from the visitor centre), (ii) the Theatre & Acropolis route – 1.0 km (return walk from the visitor centre), (iii) the Bouleuterion-Agora route – 0.9km (return walk from the Umay Nine Ağacı olive tree), and (iv) the Grand Cistern, Hellenistic Wall and Harbour route – 2.5km (return walk from Temple of Dionysus). The entire site combined is a walk of approximately 5km. A trip to Teos is an enlightening and satisfying day excursion, especially when combined with the town of Sığacık, with its Ottoman castle built 1522 under Parlak Mustafa Paşa and harbour lined with restaurants and cafes.

Hellenistic City Walls (circa 300 B.C.)

The Temple of Dionysus (circa 200 B.C.)

The Temple of Dionysus (the Olympian god of wine, vegetation, pleasure, festivity, madness and wild frenzy), is the largest structure to Dionysus in Anatolia. Located on the western border of the Hellenistic city walls, the temple is built in three sections in the Ionic order (6th century B.C. architectural style developed by Ionian Greeks), with six columns on its short sides and eleven columns on its long sides is similar to the Temple of Athena at Priene 75km southeast of Teos. The temple originates from the early Hellenistic period, either in the last quarter of the 3rd century B.C or second quarter of the 2nd century B.C.

Umay Nine Ağacı Olive Tree (circa 200 A.D.)

120 metres east of the Temple of Dionysus is the Umay Nine Ağacı Olive Tree estimated to be 1,800 years old.

The Theatre (circa 200 B.C.)

The theatre is located 350 metres northwest of the Temple of Dionysus, on the hillside rising to Kocakirtepe Hill. It is built in Greek theatre style cavea, which consists of two parts, preserves only the steps of the lower cavea, the prohedria blocks and the climakes. Built on an arched and vaulted substructure, the upper cavea is typical Roman. The multi-storey stage building, which was built in front of the stage building in both the 1960s and the new period excavations, yielded many decorated architectural blocks belonging to the columned façade (scaenae frons) and the proskenion façade (frons pulpit). Both the presence of these blocks and the pedestals with inscriptions indicate the building activities of the theatre at the beginning of the 2nd century AD. The inscription on the statue base found in the theatr in 1963 calls Tiberius Claudius Philistes the new founder of the city, Athamas.

The Acropolis (circa 750 B.C.)

The acropolis is 120 metres north of the theatre on Kocakirtepe Hill at a height of 35 metres. The site has two rectangular foundation remains carved into the bedrock; a late Archaic period temple measuring 7.3 x 37.4 metres and what is considered to be either an altar or Roman building of 9.6 x 18.2 metres. Excavations indicate that the acropolis dates from 8th century B.C. and archaeological finds between the altar and the temple dating to 630-590 B.C. reveal religious use.

Temple of Agora (circa 150 B.C.)

Bouleuerion – Senate House (circa 200 B.C.)

The Grand Cistern

South Harbour

Port Chapel (circa 1,100 A.D.)