Situated inside the Hellenistic walls of Teos, and just to the east of the western city walls, stands the most famous ancient structure of this archaeological site - the Temple of Dionysus.
The Temple of Dionysos in Teos was already mentioned in the famous work of the Roman engineer Vitruvius, De architectura, known today as The Ten Books on Architecture. He wrote that "[...] at Teos in Asia Minor there is one which is hexastyle, dedicated to Father Bacchus."
The architect of the temple was Hermogenes of Priene who planned it based on his 'eustyle principle' (eustylos meaning the beautiful style). It was an architectural ideal that prescribed a series of proportional relationships that was all derived from the diameter of the column. More precisely, the ideal 'eustyle' intercolumniation (i.e. the space between the columns) should be two-and-a-quarter column-thicknesses and the height of the Ionic column nine-and-a-half times its diameter.
The Temple of Dionysos was built entirely of marble within the borders of a trapezoidal-shaped temenos, on a high crepidoma (i.e. a multilevel platform). The temple was surrounded with 6x11 columns, and the dimensions of its stylobate (i.e. the foundation of a row of classical columns) are 18.50 to 35 meters. These impressive dimensions mean that it was the largest temple to Dionysus in the ancient world. The temenos of the temple was surrounded by four stoas: two Doric ones (north and south) and two Ionic ones (west and east).
The peripteral plan of the temple, with a deep two-columned pronaos and a narrow two-columned opisthodomos, strongly resembles the Athena Temple in Priene, built by Pytheos. It is also similar to Hermogenes' other work - the famous Temple of Artemis in Magnesia on the Meander.
According to Ekrem Akurgal, the preserved fragments of the temple of the Ionic order, are from the Roman period (the 2nd century CE), but the excavations also revealed the existence of an earlier temple in the same location, dating back to the Hellenistic times. More precisely, the study of the works of Hermogenes and an inscription related to Antiochus III (223-187 BCE) indicate that Hermogenes must have been active in the last quarter of the 3rd century. Thus, the figurative friezes found within the temple area must date back to that period. The Hellenistic temple was destroyed and later rebuilt, first during the reign of Emperor Augustus and then, Emperor Hadrian.
The frieze of the temple was placed over the architrave. It shows the festivities associated with the cult of Dionysos. The central slab depicts Dionysos with Ariadne, and all of the other figures on the relief frieze are focused on this central depiction.
The site of Teos has attracted the discoverers, scholars and archaeologists for a long time. The site was visited first by the members of the Society of Dilettanti, R. Chandler and N. Revett in 1764-1765, and then the French archaeologists Laumonier and Bequignon in the early 20th century. It was also excavated by the Turkish teams, led by Baki Öğün and Yusuf Boysal, in the 1960s, and Mustafa Uz, an architect, conducted some soundings in the temenos (sacred district) of the temple from 1980 until his death in 1991. His doctoral thesis "Dionysus Temple in Teos", published in 1987, is the most detailed study of the building. Finally, the archaeological excavations and restorations have been conducted continuously since 2010, by Professor Musa Kadıoğlu.
Nowadays, most of the frieze slabs are in the backyard of the Izmir Archaeology Museum, but some are in the collections of the Museum of History and Art, also in Izmir.
The Temple of Dionysos is situated within the archaeological site of Teos that can be visited every day. In summer, it is open from 8 am to 6:30 pm, and in winter - from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. In 2019 the ticket costs 7 TL.