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Stratonikeia

The ancient Carian site of Stratonikeia is located near Eskihisar village on the road between Marmaris - Bodrum, approximately 7 kilometers west of Yatagan district of Mugla province. First excavations started in 1977 and today archaeologists from Pamukkale University are digging at the site.

According to ancient historians and story tellers like Herodot, Strabon, Pausanias, and Byzantine Stephanosthe, the foundation of the city dates back to 8th century BC and it was known as Khrysaoris or Idrias. After Alexander the Great, around 281 BC the name of the city was changed into Stratonike, first mother in-law and then wife of the Seleucid king Antiochus I. During the Hellenistic period the city was ruled by Seleucids, Macedonians, Rhodians and then the Romans, which remained always as an important city in Asia Minor. During the Byzantine period Stratonikeia became a Titular see of the Roman Catholic Church in Anatolia.

In the 11th century first Turkish tribes entered into Anatolia and the city, along with the rest of Asia Minor, was occupied by Turkish principalities. There was always some settlement in the city during the Ottoman period. During the Republic period the village was called as Eskihisar and inhabited until the earthquake in 1952 and the discovery of rich lignite coal mines in 1980, when the village was moved to a new location. Today one can still see some old village houses nested into the ancient ruins.

Stratonikeia was built on a grid plan. Some of the major structures at the site are 4 meters high and 2,5 meters wide city walls, monumental fountain and arched gate (42 meters wide x 14 meters high) which was connecting to Lagina Hekate holly site by a 20 kilometer road, 9 meters wide colonnated street, a big gymnasion (105 x 180 meters) from 2nd century BC, a bouleuterion from 1st century AD by dimensions of 25 x 30 meters, baths, a Greco-Roman type theater with a capacity of 10 or 15 thousand people, cistern, necropolis, an Ionic order peripteros plan temple from Augustus' period with dimentions of 15 x 21 meters, and religious monuments dedicated to Hekate and Zeus. Most of these were built with white marble, which shows the richness of this city. There was also an important gladiator school in which many gladiators were trained and sent for fights all around Roman Empire.

There are also ruins of a Hammam from Turkish Principalities period around 14th-15th century, a mosque from 19th-20th century, as well as village houses and shops. Stratonikeia is one of the few sites in Turkey where you can see city texture and structures combined from ancient periods and Ottoman and Republic eras.

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