Miletus was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria. Its ruins are located near the modern town of Balat in Aydin Province, Turkey. Before the Persian invasion in the middle of the 6th century BC, Miletus was considered the greatest and wealthiest of Greek cities. In other sources however it is mentioned that the city was much more modest up until the Peloponnesian War (431 BCE-404 BCE), when the city state of Samos for example on the island of Samos opposite Miletus was considered a larger and more important city and harbor at the time. Miletus's greatest wealth and splendor was reached during the Hellenistic era (323 BCE-30 BCE) and later Roman times.
Evidence of first settlement at the site has been made inaccessible by the rise of sea level and deposition of sediments from the Maeander. The first available evidence is of the Neolithic. In the early and middle Bronze age the settlement came under Minoan influence. Legend has it that an influx of Cretans occurred displacing the indigenous Leleges. The site was renamed Miletus after a place in Crete.
The Hometown of Olympic Games Miletos, which had nearly 90 colonies, was one of the greatest and richest of all the Greek cities. It was the main trade center in Anatolia for a long time, and was also rich in culture; science, philosophy and architecture. The city was the home town of the famous philosophers of nature such as Thales, Aneximender, Aneximenes, Hekataios and also, the great city planner Hippodomus who was the first to try the grid city plan in Miletos. Also, we know that Miletos was known for athletics, very similar to the Olympic games. Moreover, the symbol of the Olympic games, the tripod with a fire, originates from the Lighthouse at the biggest harbor of Miletos. The Theater where St. Paul gave his emotional good-bye message to the elders of Ephesus, the Faustina Baths, The Harbour Monument and the Ilyas Bey Mosque are the highlights of the site.