The City of the Mother Goddess

Torbalı, which is on the İzmir – Efes Highway, is located on a hill overlooking the plain between the villages of Yeniköy and Özbey. The first settlement in this region between the ancient cities of Ephesus (Efes), Smyrna (İzmir), Kolophon (Değirmendere) and Notion (Ahmetbeyli) was built during the reign of the Seleucid Kingdom of in the 3rd century B.C. and this settlement was named Metropolis, meaning “the City of the Mother Goddess”.


Metropolis experienced its golden age during the Hellenistic Period, with altars in honour of the Emperor Augustus in the Roman Period, and it served as a centre of episcopacy in the Byzantine Period. Significant finds have been unearthed relating to the foundation of the city in the excavations. Artefacts discovered beneath the ruins of the Byzantine and Hellenistic structures include pieces of prehistoric ceramic containers, stone axes and obsidian, which is natural glass, dating back to 3000 B.C., namely the early Bronze Period, and materials belonging to the Ancient Period.


Monumental public structures can be seen, such as the Temple of Ares in the acropolis, an eyvan (three-walled vaulted antechamber, open at the front) and a theatre up on a hill. As a result of excavations carried out, the stage building of the theatre, the orchestra floor and sections of seat rows including seats and altars allocated for the noblemen were unearthed. It is understood that the eyvan was built from the donations of philanthropists in the first half of the 3rd century B.C. The outer walls of the acropolis surround an area of about 16 thousand square meters, and are recognized as the most successful example of the architecture from the period when it was built. The glassworks and pieces of glass articles produced there indicate that apart from agriculture, animal husbandry and marble production, industry was also advanced in the region.


In the environs of the metropolis there are many ancient structures belonging to the 3rd century B.C., Roman and Byzantine Periods. These are the mounds of Araplıtepe, Aslanlar, Sinektepe and Tepeköy. The excavations led to the unearthing of a large number of artefacts including ceramic articles, earrings, coins, bronze articles, glassware pieces and earthenware. Research on the cult cave belonging to the Mother Goddess, which gave her name to the city, as well as the excavation work in the metropolis is currently in process. The finds and fortune telling lists discovered in the cave indicate that the Mother Goddess Cave was used as a centre of soothsaying.