Priene lies on the southern flank of Mount Samsun 20 km from Söke and looks out over the whole of the Meander Plain. It is one of the most beautiful historical sites of the Aegean and was one of the 12 cities of the ancient Ionic League.
Around 450 BC the city was destroyed by the Persians. In 350 BC it was rebuilt in its present situation with the help of Athens. Priene never regained its old magnificence but is the best example of an ancient city which escaped the effects of Romanisation and still reflects the architectural culture of Greece and Anatolia.
Priene is the first city in the Western world to have been built on a grid structure and is one of the world’s first examples of rational city planning. You can still see the water network passing underneath the perpendicular streets. It also contains the first known system of purification reservoirs for drinking water.
On the walls of the gymnasium at the bottom of the city, you can see the incised names of various students, which proves that graffiti is not by any means a modern invention!