The remains of the city of Miletus is approximately 40 km to the south of Soke (a towncenter of Aydin City). Infact Miletus was a port city 2,000 years ago. The aluvions caried into the bay by Buyuk Menderes river over a very long period of time filled the bay and the nearby coast and caused the city to loose touch with the sea. This brought the inevitable end of the city.
It is the most prominent of all Ionian cities. The original founders of the city is not known exactly. According to Homer, as he mentioned in IIliad, Miletus was founded by Carians. On the other hand, the famous geographer Strabon claimed that the founder of the city were Cretans. There are signs which indicate that the history of the settlement into the city goes back to the neolithic ages.
The great historian Herodotus was saying that the Ionians under the leadership of Neilos, conquered Miletus , whose inhabitants were Carians and Cretans, in the 11th century. This event points to the beginning of the recorded history of the city. In a short time Miletus became prosperous. As a port, commercial importance of the city growed immediately. The city people established 70 colonies around the various regions of Anatolia.
The city became an important Ionian center of arts, science and culture. The historians Anaximander, Aneximenes, the philosopher of the nature Thales ( mathematician, physicist and also a merchant), the geographers Kadmos and Hecataeus all lived in Miletus at the same time.
This first phase of the Miletan civilization was ended by Persians at 494 B.C. In 474 B.C. and onward it was reconstructed according to the plans of famous architect Hippodamos. In a short time Miletus became a prosperous place again.
Persians invaded Ionia and naturally Miletus once more in the 5th century. The destruction ruined the city until Alexander the Great claimed all Anatolia from Persians in the 4th century B.C. Miletus was reconstructed once more.
The city reached to another peak after 2nd century B.C. as it became an integral part of the Roman Empire. Emperors Augustus and Hadrian filled the city with monuments and statues. St. Paul gave sermons here and sailed to Jerusalem later.
During Byzantine age Miletus became a residence to archbishops. The small Byzantine castle called Castro Palation which is on the hill, beside the city was built at this time.
Seljuk Turks settled into the city in the 12th century A.D. and used Miletos as a port to trade with Venice.
Finally, Ottomans utilized the city as an harbour during their rule in Anatolia for a while. As the harbour became silted up, the city was abandoned.