Excavation Sites in 5 Questions: Teos


5 Minute

The Ancient City of Teos was a prominent port city during ancient times. The archaeological site is located near Türkiye’s Aegean city of İzmir. The famous poets Antimachos and Anacreon, philosophers Nausiphanes and Democritus, historian Hecataios as well as the famous wealthy man and book collector Apellicon, who had bought the library of Aristoteles, were all from Teos.

The Ancient City of Teos was one of the twelve Ionian city-states as stated by Excavation Director Prof. Dr. Musa Kadıoğlu. According to Prof. Dr. Musa Kadıoğlu, “The two natural harbors and the fertile plain along the coast have probably contributed to the prosperity of Teos from its foundation in the Proto-geometric period onwards. Teos kept its importance from the Archaic period to the end of the Roman Imperial period, as evidence in the diverse buildings within the city.” 

Check out our interview with Prof. Dr. Kadıoğlu to learn more about what makes the Ancient City of Teos so special.

History of Teos 

Located in spectacular geography where blue and green meet, Teos is situated within the borders of Seferihisar district of İzmir. According to the information obtained from the archaeological excavations, the settlement history in Teos begins from the Proto-Geometric Period. Thanks to its geographical advantages and location, Teos has become a major trade and port city in a short time. Like most ancient cities of Anatolia, Teos came under Persian rule after 545 BC. The city, included in the Ionian union formed by twelve Ionian cities in the Aegean, was later connected to the Kingdom of Pergamon. Starting from 129 BC, the Roman Period starts in Teos. Considering the quality of the architectural works seen in the city, we can say that Teos continued its importance in the Roman Period.

If we look at the prominent structures of the city, we see that one of the most impressive ones is the Temple of Dionysos. This magnificent structure, one of the largest and most important Dionysos temples of the Ancient Period, is worth seeing. According to the book of the architect Vitruvius, this building is a masterpiece created by Hermogenes, a famous architect of the Ancient Period. This temple, built in the name of Dionysos, the protector god of the city, also hosted many festivals and ceremonies of the cult of Dionysos.

Another building you should see in Teos is the Bouleterion (Parliament Building), where the assembly met and important decisions were taken. The structure, very well preserved today, consists of 16 rows of seating. The inscriptions and statue bases unearthed here give us very valuable information about the life of the Teos society.

The South Harbor of Teos, as an important port city, is another structure worth visiting. The pier of the South Harbor is one of the best well-preserved examples of historical piers on the Anatolian coast. A small church structure was also found at the end of the harbor. The port of the city, owing its wealth to maritime trade, fascinates its visitors with its magnificent Aegean view.

Some of the other monuments that can be seen in Teos are; Agora, Theatre, Hellenistic Period Walls, and Agora Temple. When you visit the city that is home to these gorgeous monuments, you can also witness centuries-old olive trees as well as historical artifacts and archaeological remains. With its olive trees that are reminiscent of old sages who witnessed the glorious history of the ancient city and unique structures and history, Teos Archaeological Site awaits its visitors to have a unique experience. 

You can also visit the İzmir Archaeology Museum to see the artifacts excavated in the ancient city, and learn more about the history of the city.