4 June 2012.
Being built near the mouth of the River Cayster it was one of the busiest inland harbours on the Aegean Coast.
Harbour Street is approximatly 500m long and 11m wide and connected the harbour to the city terminating outside the theatre. The street which is finished in fine marble slabs was originally constructed in the 1st Century BC but extensively repaired and widened during the reign of the Emperor Arcadius (AD 395-408).
At both ends of the street once stood triumphant arches each with three gates and along the sides of the road was a portico with a roof supported by columns, this provided a place for pedestrians to walk and afforded some protection from the sun or inclement weather. Behind this portico were shops and other establishments which no doubt made good use of the passing trade on what would have been a very busy road.
According to an inscription found during excavations the road was illuminated at night by 50 lamps. I imagine the shops and other establishments would have stayed open late into the night and the street would have been busy with merchants, sailors, visitors, soldiers and locals enjoying a night out.
The harbour had continual problems with silting up and many times would have been cleared of silt and made navigable until the 4th Century AD when the city was finally cut off from the sea.
Where there was once a harbour full of ships from all over the known World there are now fields. The road is still there but it no longer links a busy port with a thriving city.
Visiting the City today most people I imagine will remember the theatre and library and the road will be largely forgotten, but it is along this road that goods would have traveled to and from the port and people would have walked into the city after arriving by ship.
The city is well worth a visit, we spent two hours there and I did feel a bit rushed when we were visiting the covered exhibition as we were trapped for a while in a very slow moving queue, three hours would have been better but I do tend to dawdle and try to look at everything. Basically you get dropped off at one end of the city and walk through to a pick up at the other end. At the taxi rank back in Kusadasi some of the drivers were doing deals based on being on the site 1 hour which would be too much of a rush in my opinion. This is no doubt geared to getting as many cruise ship visitors to the site and back they can in a day.