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The western (left) and eastern (right) parts of the harbour of Iasos
The Iasians, a colony of Argives, and afterwards of Milesians, inhabited a rocky islet lying near the continent, to which it is now united by a small isthmus. The city was only ten stadia or a mile and a quarter in circumference. It had a port, and was maintained by the sea, which abounded in fish; its territory being rough and barren. (..) The north side of the rock of Iasus is abrupt and inaccessible. The summit is occupied by a mean but extensive fortress. At the foot is a small portion of flat ground. On that and on the acclivities, the houses once stood, within a narrow compass, bounded by the city-wall, which was regular, solid, and handsome. This, which has been repaired in many places, now incloses rubbish, with remnants of ordinary buildings, and a few pieces of marble.
(..) Opposite to the Isthmus is a flat point running out into the sea, with a small square fort at the extremity.
Richard Chandler - An account of a tour made at the expense of the Society of dilettanti - 1775
Most likely the tower at the end of the breakwater was built in the VIIth century AD as a defence against Arab raids. Iasos was surrounded by walls, of which only minor stretches remain. This because in 1889 the ancient site was used as a quarry for building a pier at Bebek, near Rumeli Hisar.
In the side of the rock is the theatre, fronting 60" east of north, with many rows of seats remaining, but covered with soil or enveloped in bushes. On the left wing is an inscription in very large and well-formed characters ranging in a long line, and recording certain donations to Bacchus
and the people. Beneath, near the bottom, are several stones inscribed, but not legible. Chandler
In 1889 the theatre of Iasos was deprived of its stones, but the lower part of the bouleuterion was covered by earth so its benches were not removed. It was built before 125 BC when Iasos became part of the Roman province of Asia, but it was modified in the Ist and IInd centuries AD. While the original purpose of the bouleuterion was to serve as the hall for assembly meetings, during the Roman rule it was mainly used as a an odeon, a small theatre for poetry and music. It had vaulted underground passages which allowed the audience to easily reach assigned seats; the benches were decorated with lion paws, similar to what can be seen in other theatres, e.g. at Side.
Notwithstanding the damage caused in 1889 archaeologists have been able to identify the main sites of the ancient town. The agora was entirely rebuilt at the time of Emperors Hadrian and Antoninus Pius: it had a rectangular shape and it was surrounded by porticoes and temples, which included a shrine dedicated to Artemis (Diana).
Even though Iasos was a minor town when compared with Miletus, Ephesus or Smyrna, its porticoes were made of stones which were not available locally; granite from Egypt, cipollino from Euboea, white marble from Paros and other stones gave the agora a colourful appearance.
Roman villa: mosaics (see a larger mosaic with a vortex pattern at Pergamum)
Archaeologists have found a residential area on the side of the town overlooking the sea. Several rooms of a villa have been unearthed. They were decorated with elaborate floor mosaics.
Aqueduct and Roman monument
A Roman aqueduct provided Iasos with fresh water; some of its arches were incorporated into a courtyard which surrounded a Roman funerary monument: it had the appearance of a small temple on a very high podium, perhaps it was similar to a mausoleum at nearby Milas.
Local museum: Latin inscription and decorations
Today the courtyard surrounding the funerary monument houses a small museum with inscriptions, statues, altars and sarcophagi found in the excavations.
Archaeological Museum of Istanbul: sarcophagus of the IInd century AD found at Iasos in 1886
The sepulchres of the Iasians on the continent are very numerous, ranging along above a mile on the slope of the mountain. (..) They consist mostly of a single camera or vault; (..) many of them have a small square stone over the entrance, inscribed, but no longer legible. (..) Below the sepulchres are broken arches, and pieces of wall, among which is a massive sarcophagus or two standing on their basements. Chandler
The image used as background for this page shows the drawing of a relief which was found at Iasos.
Friends you can meet in Iasos