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Stratonikeia

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Stratonikeia, a city in the interior of Caria, is located at Eskihisar Village, in the Yatağan district of the Muğla province. The first scientific excavations at the site began in 1977 under the direction of Prof. Dr. Yusuf Boysal. Prof. Dr. Bilal Söğüt has been carried out researches, excavations and restoration works since 2008.

Ancient writers Herodotus (v, 118), Strabo (xiv, ii, 25), Pausanias (5, 21, 10) and Stephanus of Byzantium (Ethnica 696) mention a settlement here named Chrysaoris or Idrias. After 281 B.C. the Seleucid King Antiochos I changed the name of the city to Stratonikeia after the name of his former stepmother and later wife. Stratonikeia and the surrounding region changed hands among the Seleucids, the Ptolemaics, the Macedonians, Rhodians and Romans.  The city kept its importance in the Roman Imperial Period and developed continuously. It benefited greatly from the constructions carried out during the Early Imperial Period and especially the 2nd century A.D.  In the Byzantine Era the see of Stratonikeia like other cities in the region was dependent on Aphrodisias.

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Gymnasium

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The gymnasium, a large structure built near the northern wall to the southwest of the northern city gate, has a rectangular plan facing north-south.  In 1977, when the excavations at Stratonikeia began, this is one of the areas where work was carried. Excavations until now have revealed sections on the north side. The north side, the narrow façade is 105 m wide.  The total length of the building is estimated to be 267 m.  Hence it is the largest known gymnasium in antiquity.

The archaeological and epigraphic finds indicate that the gymnasium was built in the 2nd quarter of the 2nd century B.C. and during the Augustan and Antonine periods new arrangements and reconstruction were made.

Roman Bath -1

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Inscriptions inform that there are three baths in Stratonikeia. One of them is Roman Bath 1. The building constructed on a north-south axis is composed of apoditerium, frigidarium, tepidarium and at least 6 service rooms all of which are symmetrically organized. Hot rooms (I, II, III, IV) are grouped in the southern part and cold rooms (V, VI, VII, VIII) are in the northern part of the building.  The room IX in the most northern part must have served as a palaestra. The building is a bath constructed in 2nd century A.D. with a symmetrical plan as a part of Carian tradition. Above the ruins of the bath, there is a road and houses dating to 19th and 20th centuries A.D.

Theater

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The theater is built on a natural slope of the Kadikule Hill in the southern part of the city.  A Greco-Roman type theater, it faces north-south.  It is one of the structures known to date from the Hellenistic period.  Built on a natural slope, it is of Greek type with two diazomas and its cavea faces north.  Excavations have been carried out in the orchestra and the middle section of the stage building as well as the lower cavea of the theatron.

In the Roman imperial period the Hellenistic theater was modified with additions and changes.  In particular during the reign of Augustus and the following period the building experienced great changes.  In this period the Hellenistic stage building was demolished and in its place a three-tiered scaenea frons was built.  Based on its present day remains, it must have seated approximately 15.000 people.

Temple

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The temple is situated on an upper terrace south of the theater and gives the impression of being conceived together with the theater.  The peripteral temple is of Ionic order.  It is built on a three-stepped lower structure.  It faces north-south and its entrance is on the north, in the direction of the theater.  The temple’s euthynteria is 14,79x20,79 m. and its stylobate measures 12,55x18,54 m.  10 m to the south of the temple is a graded wall which may have functioned as a peribolos.  The altar has not been located.  According to Prof. Dr. A. A. Tırpan, the building is an Augustus and Imperial temple.  Based on its architectural fragments, it dates from the early Imperial period.

Bouleuterion

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Bouleuterion, located at the center of the city, faces east-west and has a rectangular plan.  The excavation of the courtyard has not been completed yet. On its western side, measuring 24,95x29,80 m, are semicircular seating steps and on the area to its east is the courtyard.  On the interior façade of the north anta wall are Greek inscriptions, and on the exterior are Latin.

One of Inscription in Greek is about the calendar which is made by Menippos, dates from the beginning of the first century B.C. The calendar carries name and day numbers of 12 mounts with the date of the year, 1505, which demonstrates the foundation of the city itself.

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Northern City Gate and Fountain

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The northern city gate located on the northern fortification wall is where the sacred road coming from the Lagina Hekate sacred precinct after passing the necropolis, meets the city.  Therefore, the Northern City Gate is of great importance both as an entrance and as a ritualistic place.

The northern city gate is quite large and has a monumental arched entrance on either side. The exterior façade of the gate is in Doric order.  The façade facing the city with its monumental fountain of semi-circular pools between the two entrances is decorated with two-tiered columns and statues and is in Corinthian order. Based on the remains and the architectural features, the gate must have measured 42,50 m wide and 14,20 m high.

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Colonnaded Street and Monument

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The Colonnaded Street, 8,70 m wide, begins from the south mid section of the open area in front of the northern city gate and continues towards the city center. In front of the gate is a 42 m wide open space surrounded by 8 monumental Corinthian columns and shops on the west. This is where people who entered the city and those who came from the city to use the fountain gathered.

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Water Structure

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The structure was noticed during the building of the Yatağan-Milas highway and most of it has been unearthed by excavations.  It is located on the southern side of the modern highway.  Besides the dyke, no other structure has been known here.  The water structure in which old architectural materials were used dates back to the Roman Imperial Period.

Village Square Complex

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To the west of the ancient city, approximately 50 m east of the western fortification wall is the square of the old Eskihisar village.  Here the Turkish bath, Şaban Ağa mosque, coffeehouse, bakery and shops for various occupations can be seen from the Beylics (Principalities), Ottoman and Republican periods. Although some of the buildings have been destroyed, the city with its streets can be easily seen. The coffeehouses face each other and the square and the various shops arranged side by side.  The monumental plane trees enhance the beauty of the square.  The stone paved roads and the sidewalks of the Ottoman period seen in the village square and in front of the shops are well preserved.

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Emirates Period Turkish Bath (Seljuk Bath)

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In the village square immediately to the south of the Şaban Ağa Mosques is the bath known as the “Seljuk Bath”. Its walls are still standing, however except for a vaulted segment, the roof has completely destroyed and some of the rooms’ walls have also partly and completely collapsed.

It faces east-west and was built of stone rubble and in some places of pieces of brick inserted among the rubble. The date of the building cannot be determined since no inscriptions have been found.  However, the coins and ceramic pieces found during the cleanup date from the 14th to 15th centuries.  Also the area connecting the undressing section with the cold water section is not seen after the 16th century.  Moreover, in the hot bath section the roof is supported by Turkish triangles.  When all these facts are taken into account, we may conclude that the bath was built in the period between mid-14th century to mid-15th century.

Şaban Ağa Mosque

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The mosque is located on the western part of the village square immediately north of the Seljuk Bath.  It is named after its builder.  According to its inscription, it was rebuilt in 1876.  Having been repaired several times, it stands complete today. It is presumed that it was built on the place where Tabakhane Mosque/Sulu Mosque, which was mentioned by Evliya Çelebi, existed.  On an engraving of Hilair (1776-1782), a domed mosque with a single balcony minaret is depicted.

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Excavation House and Museum Store (Hasan Şar House)

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The house situated near the ancient city center had been taken under conservation then had been used as excavation house until 1999.  Now, serving as the Museum Store House, this building is a typical Ağa house. In front of the house, there is a garden surrounded by high walls. The garden is accessed through a gate with two wide valves. The house has two doors from outside and from the garden. The building materials of this house with a jerkin head are rubble stones, ancient marble fragments and bricks. The two storied house has a large courtyard on the ground level and a kitchen on one side of this courtyard.

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