Milet Museum, located in the ancient city of Miletos, 40 km. from the Söke district of Aydın, was opened to public in 1973. It is designed to display the archeological findings from Millet in general. It consists of a hall with a pool and one large and one smaller hall which open up to this area. Mycenae ceramics dated back to XVth millenium B.C. and items from Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods are on display.
It was an important Mycenean colony around the middle of 2000 B.C. and a considerably well developed commercial and cultural center. Milet sustained this status and thus its importance during the Roman period, and lost its commercial significance when the Latmos bay filled up during the time of the Byzantines. It was turned into a Turkish Balat by the Menteşe Dynasty in the 13th century and enjoyed a brilliant period as the capital of Menteşeoğulları Dynasty.
Coming from the Söke direction, moving on the road turning towards the historical site of Milet, the first thing one notices is the theatre and the Byzantine castle above it. Walking through the theatre, the ancient the caravansary in front of it, the Faustina Bath, İlyas Bey Mosque, Serapis Temple Bouleterion, Sacred Road, Ionic Stoa, Northern Agora, Delphinion, Hanikah, Port Monument and St. Michael Church are the major sites to be seen.
Near the Güllübahçe settlement, 15 km. from the center of the Söke district. It is laid out according to the plan of famous urban architect Hippoddamos from Miletos and shows Hellenistic characteristics. Prienne, which has reached our times in a well preserved state, was under Roman and Byzantine dominance after the rule of the Pergamon Kingdom.
Sites worth seeing are Prytaneum, Bouleterion, houses, Athena Temple, Grand Church, Baptisterium, Theater, Upper Gymnasium, Egyptian Temple, Sacred Stoa, Agora and the Temple of Alexander the Great along the Main Street or the Sacred House.
It is 55 km. from the central city of Söke district. "Didymaion" means twin and the fact the area is thus named may be seen as evidence in support of the claim that Appollo and Artemis, later the daughter of Titan and the Chief God of the archaic world, Zeus and former the son of Leto, were twins.
Approaching the Appollon Temple before reaching the shops along both sides of the sacred path, there is the small Artemis Temple where excavations are still in progress. It is not yet open for visitors. The archaic Didymaion was built towards the end of 8th century B.C. The temple, which enjoyed some importance in Ionia, became even greater when the city of Miletos gained general renown. In later years, the Appollo Temple was demolished by the Persians. During the times of Alexander the Great, the demolished temple was replaced by a larger temple with 124 columns.
Aydın Museum was established in one room of Zafer Primary School in 1959 and museum activities were conducted in this room for many years. These activities were transferred to the new museum after 1973. Aydın Archaeological and Ethnographical Museum had been the owner of rich collections with objects brought from Aydın and its provincial districts.
The museum is located in a large garden. Stone carvings of various times coming from ancient cities of Aydın, such as Tralleis, Magnesia, Alinda, Alabanda, Nysa, Amyzon, Piginda, Harpasa, Myus, Pygela, Orthosia or Mastaura on exhibition in the garden. These objects include statues, tombs, columns and abacuses, altars, Islamic gravestones and milestones.
Exhibition appears in three sections in the museum halls.
1. Archaeology Section
2. Coin Section
3. Ethnographic Objects Section
The objects in the archaeology section are exhibited according to a chronological order. Beside prehistoric objects, it is possible to see the most beautiful examples of Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman Periods. These are axes, cutting and drilling tools, idols, spindle whorls, ceramic samples made of burnt clay, oil lamps, masks and small statues, glass objects, gold, silver and bronze jewellry, medical instruments, make-up material and guns. Some of the very beautiful examples of Hellenistic Period Tralleis sculpting are as follows: Athena bust, Nike statue, Satyr statue, various statues and embossings adorn the archaeology halls. Many terracottas, oil lamps, unguentariums and toy figurines found during diggings in the Tralleis necropolis constitute a special collection.
Gold, silver, copper and bronze coins of various civilisations such as Greek, Rome, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman Periods are exhibited in this section.
Ethnography hall is the section where the richest works of art from the region are exhibited. Woven textiles, such as carpets, woven matting, rugs and sumach; zeybek cloths, embroidered woman cloths, embroidered headgears; silver jewellry such as belts, necklaces, bracelets, earings and rings; bath sets, Koran manuscripts and books, cigarette holders; copper kitchen vessels such as bowls, large deep copper dishes, kettles, victuals' boxes for travellers, cauldrons and round metal trays; woodwork such as mortars, coffee-mills, coffee cooler and clogs; weapons such as swords, daggers, flint-lock guns and pistols are exhibited in this ethnography hall.