Bafa – Kapıkırı
The first name of the Heraklia, located in ancient Latmos Gulf was Latmos and took its name from Latmos Mountain with a 1300 meters height from the seal level. Heraklia, being not on the Efes-Milet trade route but in Latmos Gulf had never been an important city. It has given sea trade rein to famous Milet which was very close. Despite being in Ionia, Heraklia always carried the characteristics of a Karyan city and historically shared the fate of the Karyan cities. King Mausolos cunningly invaded the city and changed the city’s name. In order to be distinguished from many cities also called Heraklia, took the name “Heraklia ad Latmos” meaning, ‘Heraklio under the Latmos Mountain’. In 287 BC, conquered by Lizimahos and the city walls have been built still standing in the present day with all its magnificence. These walls which are almost 500 meters high above the lake level, have been reinforced with 65 towers and are 4 miles long.
Like its neighbors Miley and Priene cities, Heraklia is also built in Hippodamic style, where streets are planned in chess-board pattern perpendicularly.
At the end of 1st century BC, Heraklia lost its connection with the sea and relatively with sea trade due to the alluvions carried by Menderes river.
Another structure to be mentioned in the city is, Athena Temple from Hellenistic era, built on a prominence at the seaside.
After a very insipid Roman era, Heraklia’s star shined again at the Byzantine era. At 7th century AD, many monks coming from the Arabian Peninsula has started to live in Latmos Mountains. These religious functionaries which some of them had a great fame, lead many people come to this area. This era in Heraklia which became one of the greatest monastery centers of Anatolia, lasted for 400 years. With the coming of the Turks to Anatolia, monastery life has paused and reignited with the victory of Crusaders against Seljukians.
According to the legend, monks who came to this area, have discovered the famous grave of Endymion and made the grave a holy Christian holy place.