The later city of Priene was organized on the S slopes of Mount Mycale in the mid-4th century BC, to a Hippodamian plan. It is one of the best preserved ancient cities in Asia Minor, with a defensive wall and an excellent water supply system.
The city's main cult was of Athena Polias. Her peripteral temple, a work by Pytheos the architect of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, was considered the canon (paradigm) of the Ionic order. Completed by Alexander the Great, its altar was in the type of the altar-throne (foundations) with relief decoration.
The rectangular agora was built in the 3rd century BC and surrounded by Doric stoas on three sides. To its W was the commercial agora. In the late 2nd century BC King Ariarrhathes VI of Cappadocia built the so-called 'sacred stoa', also Doric, which was used as a public archive (inscriptions on the walls). The temenos of Zeus Olympios, with its Ionic temple (3rd century BC) influenced by that of Athena, was part of the same building complex. Architectural members from the temple are now in the Pergamonmuseum, Berlin.
The almost square bouleuterion or ekklesiasterion, which could accommodate some 700 persons, is considered exemplary of its kind. The theatre of Priene is regarded as the earliest of the Hellenistic period. The cavea was built c. 300 BC and the two-storey skene was added almost a century later. The city had two gymnasia. In the earlier (4th century BC) thermae were added later, while the later (2nd century BC) was in contact with the stadium. The houses of Priene are among the best preserved in the Hellenistic world; some were two-storeyed or with peristyle. One was dedicated to the cult of Alexander the Great.
In Early Christian times the city was confined to half the area of ancient Priene. Building phases of this period can be distinguished in the defensive wall of the acropolis. W of the upper gymnasium are the ruins of an Early Christian three-aisled basilica (episcopal church) with attached baptistery. Building material from the gymnasium and the temple of Athena is incorporated in the monument. Other ruins of small dimensions, of Early Christian single-aisled churches. E of the temple of Athena are remains of a circular building, most probably a baptistery. A Byzantine cistern on the acropolis. Remains of an Early Byzantine synagogue with a small apse.
Info: Archaeological Atlas of the Aegean
(Archaeological Atlas of the Aegean, Ministry of the Aegean)