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The antique city of Heracleia may be reached by a road branching off at Çamiçi district on the Milas-Söke highway. The city is in the Kapkırı village and is 39 km. from Milas. In the antique period the city reached out to the Latmos Bay which was an extension of the Aegean Sea. However, due to alluvions from the Meander River, the bay is the Bafa Lake today.
The city is named after the famous epic hero, Heraclitos. It was called Latmos in the 8th century B.C. and was seized by the Carian satrap Mausolus, during the Persian reign. It fell into the hands of Alexander during his Asian campaign and was later dominated by Seleucos. Being cut off from the sea in the first century B.C., Heracleia lost some of its prominence. However, due to its inaccessibility, it became a hiding place for Christian hermits. The antique city, situated on a very rough and rocky terrain, was surrounded by city walls 6.5 km. long, supported by 65 towers. The walls, made of smooth rectangular and square stones, were built during the Hellenistic period. Heracleia, based on the city plan of Hippodoamos, is a good example of gridiron patches and streets vertically cris-crossing one another.
The Temple of Athena on the bluff behind the harbour is one of the best preserved buildings on the site. It is in Antis style with two Hellenistic columns. The agora to the east of the temple is on two levels, with only the first level still standing. The shops and the inns in the agora are still discernible. The walls on the south are in good masonry. They are rectangular, surrounded by porticos. The U-shaped building on the east of the agora is the bouleterion. The north-eastern walls are quite intact.
The theatre is in the north-east of the city. The walls of the stagebuilding and the seats in the first cavea are discernible. Along the road to the shore and to the island, the apsidal cella and the pronao of the Endymion sanctuary can be viewed.
According to mythology, Selene, the Moon Goddess, fell in love with the handsome shepherd on the Latmos Mountain and put him to eternal sleep.
On the islands in the Bafa Lake and among the rocks on Latmos Mountain, there are various monasteries. The priests arriving from the Sina peninsula and Greece founded the first monastery here in the 7th century A.D. Thirteen monasteries have been built in this area, the most famous ones being Yediler, Stylos, Soteros, Menet Island, İkizce Islands, Kahve Asar Island. During the Byzantine period, a tower was built along the Bafa Lake to protect the monasteries. In addition to the monasteries, there are numerous caves or trial units around where the monks led their solitary lives. Those closer to the monasteries are decorated with rich frescos. The designs on the walls and the ceilings depict scenes from the life of Christ, Virgin Mary and various saints.
The surface research on the Heracleia antique city is carried out annually by German scientist Annelisa Pesclow.