Magnesia on the Meander: an excavation project in progress

Somewhere in the middle between Ephesus, Tralles, and Priene, you will find Magnesia. This ancient site is deceivingly big and a great place to explore if you don’t mind the fact that this is an excavation project in progress with all that comes with it. Don’t expect to find much information boards or signs to point you in the right direction. Do expect a site with a very decent mix of restored sections and untouched elements.

Magnesia is the perfect place to visit for those looking to see something that goes beyond the typical sites that are on everybody’s list, or for those that have already ticked a lot of places off their Turkey bucket list. Keep the map of Magnesia at the bottom of this post as a point of reference during your visit.

Looking Towards The Propylon

Looking Towards The Propylon

Magnesia or Magnesia on the Maeander

Magnesia is a former Ionian Greek city, named after the Magnetes; its first settlers who came from the Magnesia region Thessaly in Greece. The city was strategically located and quite substantial in size. Its original name Magnesia changed to Magnesia on the Maeander to prevent confusion with Magnesia ad Sipylum, north of Izmir.

Judging by what Wikipedia has to say, we wouldn’t have minded living here ourselves, since the territory around the city is described as being remarkably prolific, producing excellent wine, figs, and cucumbers. Now, anywhere that has cucumbers… were sold! ? The town never became part of the Ionian League because Greek Aeolians had settled it. Located right next to the main road connecting Söke to Ortaklar, the site is only partially fenced. The rest of the ruins is accessible by exploring the nearby fields. Let the adventure begin!

A First Glimpse Of Magnesia

A First Glimpse Of Magnesia

Temple of Artemis

One of the main features at Magnesia is the Temple of Artemis. Nowadays, it is mostly a huge marble floored square with a pile of stone and broken pillars, but it is obvious that this used to be the heart of the city in its heydays. The triangular peak of Thorax and the pediment of the temple are reconstructed to the south of the temple and it is the first thing that catches your eye after entering the site.

You’ll find the remains of the Altar of Artemis to the west of the Temple, which was surrounded by stoae on three sides. At the far end, to the right of the Propylon, the ancient public latrines are now covered with a metal roof.

Entering Magnesia Through The Triangular Peak Of Thorax

Entering Magnesia Through The Triangular Peak Of Thorax

Triangular Peak Of Thorax

Triangular Peak Of Thorax

The Propylon and the Agora

The Propylon or Ceremonial Gate rises on a platform of two marble steps and features a series of Ionic columns. It connects the Temple of Artemis to the Agora, which had turned into a pool at the time of our visit. The marble floors of the Agora were clearly visible through the water, and we felt it gave the whole setting that extra bit of magic and romance. Only a small part of the original 26.000 m2 Agora has been unearthed. The rest is still hidden under a 3 meter silted layer. The Agora was dedicated to sacred rites with the Temple of Zeus located to the south of the Agora.

Impressive Remains Of The Propylon

Impressive Remains Of The Propylon

Propylon Steps

Propylon Steps

Water Covered Agora With Reeds

Water Covered Agora With Reeds

Market Basilica

If you’re looking for a good overview of the structure of the Market Basilica, head up to the little hill towards the left side of the Agora. The three-naved, two-story Basilica connected to the Agora and was used as a covered market place. Some pillar heads represent Scylla, the sea monster. The heads seen at the site are replicas. You’ll find the original ones at the Museum of Archaeology in Aydın.

View Towards The Apse

View Towards The Apse

Peeping Through A Basilica View

Peeping Through A Basilica View

Inside the Basilica, we also found a collection of ceramics, clearly from objects that had been excavated. This is part of the charm of Magnesia on the Meander; it is very much a work in progress. If you respect that and leave things untouched, it feels quite exciting to be walking around a place where history is literally being unearthed and restored.

The Perks Of An Unspoiled Site

The Perks Of An Unspoiled Site

The Stadium

To find the Stadium, you have to leave the part of the ancient site that is fenced. Check out the map of Magnesia on the Maeander below to get a better picture. A small road alongside the site leads towards the Stadium and the Theatron. Both are signposted, so just follow their directions. You will walk (or drive) past the Gymnasium on your way up. The Stadium at Magnesia is said to be the best preserved in the world.

It dates back to the 1st and 2nd Century AD and could accommodate 30.000 spectators on four levels of galleries and has a 189-meter-long track. Its semi-circular part features an extravagant colonnade, inscriptions, and 129 reliefs on the arena podium. The most fascinating thing about this Stadium is probably that it hasn’t been discovered until 2012. yes, that’s right, 2012! If you want to see what it looked like before any of the excavations started, check out this photo.

Simply Wow!

Simply Wow!

Hard To Image This Was All Hidden Until 2012

Hard To Image This Was All Hidden Until 2012

The Theatron

The Theatron at Magnesia on the Maeander lies in a lush green setting and has a capacity of around 4.700 people. It seems the construction was never finished, probably because of a landslide which occurred before it was completed. Archaeologists are unclear as to what the function of this place was, hence its name: Theatron, which translates to a place for the audience. Make sure to go and have a look at the back of the Theatron where you can see how it was built.

Theatron Setting

Theatron Setting

A Glimpse Of The Theatron

A Glimpse Of The Theatron

Practical information for your Magnesia on the Meander visit

The structures mentioned in this post are the most prominent buildings at Magnesia. We are sure that the site will continue to evolve as more areas are unearthed and buildings are restored. In short, this might be a good place to come back to in a few years time to see what happened. This is what we did recently when we went back to Sagalassos after many years and we were blown away!

One place that looks promising is the Hypocaust building. It was named like that because of the advanced heating system (or hypocaust) that was found there. You’ll find it next to the cemetery and the remains of a mosque inside the fenced area.

The Hypocaust Building

The Hypocaust Building

Magnesia lies west of Tekin, near Aydın. It isn’t hard to find since it is situated on the D525 between Söke to Ortaklar. Entrance to the site is free. There are no facilities on site, other than toilets, so make sure you bring food, and plenty of water. Also, there is little to no protection from the sun, something to bear in mind if you’re visiting in the height of summer. From mid-April to the beginning of October, the site is open from 9 am till 7 pm. The rest of the year, you can enter from 8:30 am till 5:30 pm.

Please note that the road to the Stadium and the Theatron isn’t always in a favorable condition, especially during the wet season, and you might be better off walking. Use the map below to find your way around the site.

✔️ Have you been to Magnesia? Then please head over to our Turkey Trip Planner to leave a review. Alternatively, if you plan on visiting, you can add the site to your bucket list.

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Source: Magnesia.org

Things to remember when visiting Magnesia:

  • No facilities on site, other than toilets -> bring food and plenty of water
  • If you’re visiting in the height of summer, bring something to protect you from the sun
  • Consider walking to the Stadium and the Theatron during the wet season

We’re all different, but if you check these reviews on TripAdvisor you’ll see we’re not the only ones to think this is a hidden gem! If you have any questions about a place, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Magnesia is located almost mid-way between Selçuk (where you can visit Ephesus and its gorgeous surroundings), and the Dilek Peninsula, where stunning nature, Güllübahçe, Priene, and Eski Doğanbey await. Definitely check our interactive map of Turkey to see where to head to next.

If you’re more into a personalized experience while enjoying the services of a guide, Tours by Locals may be what you’re looking for! We just love them! You get the knowledge and assistance of a local, and the experience of independent traveling. Best of both worlds, really.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

We cannot recommend Ionia Guest House enough. This rural retreat is perfectly located to visit Magnesia, and even Ephesus. It is eco-friendly, and into local produce. The rooms are spacy and elegantly decorated. Check it out, you won’t regret it.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Things to remember when visiting Magnesia:

  • No facilities on site, other than toilets -> bring food and plenty of water
  • If you’re visiting in the height of summer, bring something to protect you from the sun
  • Consider walking to the Stadium and the Theatron during the wet season

We’re all different, but if you check these reviews on TripAdvisor you’ll see we’re not the only ones to think this is a hidden gem! If you have any questions about a place, feel free to ask. You can send us a message through our contact page, or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

Magnesia is located almost mid-way between Selçuk (where you can visit Ephesus and its gorgeous surroundings), and the Dilek Peninsula, where stunning nature, Güllübahçe, Priene, and Eski Doğanbey await. Definitely check our interactive map of Turkey to see where to head to next.

If you’re more into a personalized experience while enjoying the services of a guide, Tours by Locals may be what you’re looking for! We just love them! You get the knowledge and assistance of a local, and the experience of independent traveling. Best of both worlds, really.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

We cannot recommend Ionia Guest House enough. This rural retreat is perfectly located to visit Magnesia, and even Ephesus. It is eco-friendly, and into local produce. The rooms are spacy and elegantly decorated. Check it out, you won’t regret it.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

When searching for flights, we like to use Skyscanner. It’s easy to use, and reliable. Find the best flights to Turkey and domestic flights that will take you all around the country here.

Do you prefer some good old road tripping? Once you get used to the unconventional driving style in Turkey, you’ll love to hit the road. After all, it’s all about the journey, and you may expect some very scenic rides! Renting a car in Turkey is easy. If you’re looking for an established car rental company that allows pick-up and drop-off at different airports, check out Europcar. They have offices all over Turkey.

Clicking these links will take you to pages of places and products we love and we’ve tested. If you happen to book or buy something, we may earn a small commission from it, at no extra cost to you. So here’s a thank you for adding some coins to the tip-box! 😉

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Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

LISTS & REVIEWS

Bookmark your favorite places, find other destinations nearby, get directions from your location, and read or leave reviews.

Our Turkey Trip Planner wad designed to do just that. You'll find all our favorite spots in one place, including scenic road stops.

Map of Turkey

Do you like to see things on a map? On our interactive tourist map of Turkey, you'll spot nearby points of interest right away. We've done the heavy lifting for you. Just click on the icons to go to each post.

Enjoy our practical and inspirational map of Turkey!

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Magnesia on the Meander: an excavation project in progress