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Contents / An Ancient Utopia Priene

The people of Priene created a small but magnificent city not with wealth but with consummate skill and a common purpose.
I n very ancient times, in ages when cities were countries, there were places so wonderful that they were considered to be the center of the universe, immortalized by their citizens in legends of heroic founding shepherds. In the dreams of kings, statesmen, thinkers and travelers, these cities came to symbolize power to some, to others an ideal way of life, exactly like the city of Babylon, ‘Gateway to the Gods’. Or, like cities that seemed to embody the ideas and identities of people who lived in a place very far from here, in a time when citizens had control over their government.
Priene is one of those places. Founded on a steep slope in the Samsun Mountains along the Aegean shore south of Söke (Aydýn), this ancient city, with its meeting halls, educational institutions, senate and popular assembly, stands out as a symbol of the age of ancient Greece, the Hellenistic period in particular, when the concept of the state was confined to a small independent world unto itself.

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