Magnesia is one of those places hardly anyone goes to, a shame because it is a wonderful place, and not difficult to reach or expensive to enter. The Dolmus that runs the Didim – Söke – Aydın route passes the front gates, and not being far from Söke it is therefore very accessible from Kuşadası. The site is not on the regular tour route from any of the big resorts.
The main site of Magnesia has been fairly extensively excavated but not greatly restored. Magnesia was a city through into the Byzantine period and possibly later so much that was Roman or earlier would have been recycled. The original theatre for example is gone. The stadium appears to have survived relatively intact and is currently being excavated, a task that will take a fair few years.
We have been before but on our previous visits we had not managed to find the stadium, so we did some research on where precisely it is, google earth was very useful with this. On arrival we discovered it is now easy to find due to added signs marking the way. We were pleased about this, we’d heard good things about the stadium and wanted to take some photos of it. The stadium and the theatron are not actually in the main site so are free to enter and are probably the nicest and most interesting parts, although the main site is well worth a visit. We had the theatron completely to ourselves, it is an interesting structure, like a theatre, but never completed and of unclear function. We had to share the stadium with a fine looking kestrel hunting across the rows of seats.
Ashley noticed that the stadium seats had been numbered. At least they looked like numbered seats. It didn’t look like an inscription (though we will check with a friend who is an expert on this kind of thing) and it didn’t look like graffiti. There as also some decoration around the stadium, noting special, very provincial Roman, but well preserved. We really enjoyed our trip to see this stadium, it is rare to see one so intact.