Euromos ruins, located just off the Söke-Milas road, are frequently overlooked by travelers who do not realize that an olive grove hides one of the best preserved ancient temples in Asia Minor. Meanwhile, if you just turn off the road as indicated by a signpost, you will see a magnificent view of the ancient temple of Zeus. More inquisitive tourists can also find the remains of an ancient theater, city walls, and an agora.
The city, located in the region known as Caria, was known from the 5th century BC as Cyramos (Hyramos). During the reign of King Mausolus of Halicarnassus (the 4th century BC) the city was subordinated to Milas and lost its independence. At the same time, its name was changed to Euromos (meaning 'Strong'), which resulted from the program of Caria Hellenization implemented by Mausolus.
In Roman times, Euromos was granted the status of an autonomous city, but soon afterward it was completely abandoned. The most probable reason was the Antonine Plague that broke out in the western part of Asia Minor in 166 AD. The scholars suspect it to have been either smallpox or measles. In subsequent years, an epidemic spread throughout the entire territory of the Roman Empire, and within 20 years decimated its population.
Excavations in Euromos were carried out by Turkish archaeologists under the direction Ümit Serdaroğlu in the 70s of the 20th century. However, they have never been completed. It can be assumed that a large area situated on a hillside hides many more secrets of the past of this ancient city.
The excavations in the ancient city had restarted in 2011, after a 36-year hiatus. Euromos excavations head Abuzer Kızıl from Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University Archaeology Department said that there were plans to restore Zeus Lepsynos Temple, in order to regain its former glory.
The most important, and also the best-preserved building in Euromos is the Temple of Zeus. It is believed that already in the 5th century BC, a temple dedicated to Zeus stood at the foot of the hill. Its erection could be a symbol of the Hellenization process of these areas of Asia Minor, and the replacement of local, mostly female Anatolian deities, with the gods of the Greek pantheon.
However, the temple that we can see nowadays was built much later, in the Roman times, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD). From an architectural point of view, it is a peripteros, i.e. a building surrounded by a single colonnade. The long sides of the temple are decorated with 11 columns each, and the short ones - with six columns. Originally there were 32 columns, all made in the Corinthian order.
The stylobate - the highest layer of the stone base of the temple - has dimensions of 14.40 to 26.80 meters. The interior consisted of a vestibule (pronaos) and a cella (naos). Inside the cella there was the so-called naiskos i.e. an inner sanctuary surrounded by columns.
Sixteen columns are still standing today. Twelve of them have inscriptions indicating the donor who paid for their execution. Among the sponsors of the temple, the inscriptions mention a doctor named Menekrates, his daughter Tryphena, and a bureaucrat Leo Quintus. Stonemasons working on the construction of the temple left in several places their symbol - the so-called labrys or double blade ax.
In front of the temple, on the eastern side, the remains of an altar have been discovered. The inscription on it states that the sanctuary was dedicated to Zeus Lepsynos. The meaning of 'Lepsynos' nickname remains a mystery, but scholars believe that it is a word derived from the Carian language.
Since not all the columns were fluted, archaeologists speculate that the construction of the temple was never completed. Perhaps this was due to leave the abandonment of the city in the second half of the 2nd century AD. Because of this, the Temple of Zeus was never converted into a church and has remained in an excellent state of preservation since the ancient times.
Since Euromos was situated on a low hill that did not provide the sufficient protection against the enemy attacks, Euromos was surrounded by thick city walls. Their traces can be found near the Zeus Temple.
On the western slope of the hill, there are the remains of a small theater. Only five rows of seats have been preserved. The theater can be seen to the west of the temple.
Within the city agora, that was once surrounded on all sides by colonnaded porticoes, only several fragments of columns are visible.
An ancient necropolis is situated on the right side of the path leading from the D525 route to the Temple of Zeus.
A ticket to Euromos costs 5 TL. The official opening hours are 8:30 am to 7:00 pm (from May to September) or to 5:00 pm (from October to April).
In Euromos there is no tourist infrastructure. Remember to bring your water supply, as wandering around the area, especially in summer, is an exhausting activity.
Euromos ruins are not fenced off. They are bordered by pastures for sheep and goats, so be careful where you step. Except for the Temple of Zeus, all the buildings are heavily overgrown and well hidden among olive trees growing on the hill. There are inconspicuous signposts near the Temple of Zeus, indicating the directions to the theater, the city walls, and the necropolis.
By car: Euromos ruins are situated on the eastern side of the D525 route from Selçuku and Söke to Milas. The distance from Söke is 69 km, and from Milas - only 12 km. The nearest settlement is Selimiye (3 km to the north-east).
By public transport: buses and minibuses that travel along the Söke-Milas road can stop at the Euromos crossing on demand. The remaining distance is just 200 meters to walk.