Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Izmir’s ancient city of Metropolis

For some reason (and I honestly don’t know how or why) I have missed all the excitement of the excavations of ancient Metropolis, located between the villages of Yeniköy and Özbek in Izmir. Work has been going on for many decennia and has intensified in the past twenty years – so how could I have missed this?

Anyway, my first awareness of Metropolis, which means the City of the Mother Goddess, came with the recent news when a 100 m2 Roman Bath was discovered (see article published in the Hurriyet Daily News). The excavations revealed mosaics and statues of both Zeus and Thyke, the goddess of luck, as well as several gladiators. Although this bath seems to be smaller than those found previously, it included a sports area also. Archeologists think that it was built by Emperor Antoninus Pius in the 2nd century BC, but the aficionados will find many interesting remains of monumental buildings, like the theatre, a Stoa lining the Agora, the Bouleuterion, the Gymnasium and several other baths.

[picture from The Hurriyet Daily News]

To my surprise, the history of Metropolis goes back at least 5,000 years since ceramics belonging to the early and middle Bronze Age have been found. The Hittites also have left their traces in this city as their Kingdom of Arzawa had its capital at nearby Apasas, the later city of Ephesos. Some seals with hieroglyphic inscriptions similar to the Hittites are to support this theory. 

Archaeologists generally agree that Metropolis is an ancient Hellenistic city, protected by Artemis – a unique and mysterious dedication in Anatolia.

Little is known of Alexander’s passage, except that there was a spring at which side he slept and dreamt about refounding and rebuilding the city! Well, we know how fond Alexander was of rebuilding old cities and founding new ones! In any case, Metropolis was a city of art, which reached its cultural and economic apogee under the rule of the King of Pergamon.

During Roman occupation, Metropolis covered a rather large area. The economy did not come so much from farming and agriculture but mainly from trade as it was set on the road to Ephesos.

The lzmir Archeological Museum is bursting out of its seams with the huge amount of artificats that have been removed from Metropolis. Another part of the treasures have found refuge in the Ephesus Museum, which is currently expanding.

High time to go back to that area for a more than close look!

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