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The first name of Heraklia, located in the ancient Latmos gulf, was Latmos, and it was named after Latmos Mountain, which reached 1300 meters above sea level. Heraklia, which is not on the Ephesus-Milet trade route and is located in the Gulf of Latmos, has never been a very important city. He lost the maritime trade to the famous city of Miletus, which is very close. Despite being in Ionia, Heraklia has always carried the characteristics of a Carian city and historically shared the fate of Carian cities. King Mausolos took the city cunningly and changed the name of the city. It took the name "Heraklia ad Latmos", meaning Heraklia under Mount Latmos, to distinguish it from many Heraklia cities with the same name.  The city was  conquered by the general Lizimahos in 287 BC. Lysimachus was a Thessalian officer and successor of Alexander the Great, who in 306 BC, became King of Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedon. There are city walls around Heraklia that still stand with all their splendor. These walls, which rise to a height of about 500 meters from the lake level, are reinforced with 65 towers and are approximately 4 miles long.

Category:         Ancient City

Civilisation       Hittite /Asia Minor


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Like the neighboring cities of Miletus and Priene, Heraklia was built on a patterned plan in the Hippodamic style, that is, streets that cut vertically into each other.

At the end of the 1st century BC, the alluviums carried by the Menderes river that flows to the sea, and as a result, the importance of Heraklia, which completely lost its maritime trade, began to fade slowly.

The second important structure in the city that should be mentioned is  the temple of Athena, which is located on a promontory and dated to the Hellenistic period.

Temple of Athena in Assos, overlooking the Aegean Sea


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After the rather dull Roman period, Herakliya's star shone again in the Byzantine period. In the 7th century AD, many monks from the Middle East began to live in the Latmos mountains. These clergy, some of whom gained a great reputation, caused many people to come to the region. This period lasted 400 years in Latmos Bay, one of the largest monastic centers of Anatolia. The monastic life, which paused with the arrival of the Turks in Anatolia, flared up again after the Crusaders defeated the Seljuks.


Kapiri Monastery

According to legend, the monks who came to this area discovered the famous Endymion's tomb inside one of the caves and turned the tomb into a Christian holy place.

In Greek mythology, Endymion was variously a handsome Aeolian shepherd, hunter, or king who was said to rule and live at Olympia in Elis. He was also venerated and said to reside on Mount Latmus in Caria, on the west coast of Asia Minor.

1Herakleia Athena temple
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