Many people--myself included--sometimes forget how extensive the ancient Hellenic empire was. It wasn't just what is now modern Greece. It extended all the way down to, for example, Turkey. Today: Lagina (and Stratonkeia).

Just a few kilometers away from modern day Yatağan in Turkey are the ruins of the ancient city of Lagina (Λαγίνα), which is famous for its Hekate Sanctuary. The establishment of the sanctuary at Lagina as a religious center dates back to the Seleucids but evidence from the necropolis implies that the origins of the settlement go back to the 7th century BC. Seleucid kings conducted a considerable reconstruction effort in the sacred ground of Lagina and transformed it into a foremost religious center of its time, with the nearby (at a distance of 11 kilometers) site of Stratonikeia becoming the administrative center. The sites of Lagina and Stratonkeia were connected to each other in antiquity by an 11 km long road called the Sacred Way (ceremonial road).

The sanctuary consisted in its center of the famous Temple of Hekate. It was bordered by a wide temenos (the sacred area around a temple) surrounded by a stoa (a covered walkway) in the Doric order. The entrance was a propylaea (monumental gateway) with a semicircular colonnade at the front. A stairway with ten steps led from the propylaea to a paved way and then to the altar.

The Temple of Hekate, dated to the last quarter of the 2nd century AD, measured 21m x 28m and was built in the Corinthian order with 8 columns on its shorter sides and 11 columns on its longer sides. A frieze covered all four sides of the building. The reliefs are exhibited in the Istanbul Archaeology Museums and bear representations from the Greek and Carian (the ancient inhabitants of Caria in southwest Anatolia) mythology; scenes from the life of Zeus could be seen on the eastern frieze, the Gigantomachy (a battle between the Gods and giants) on the western frieze; on the southern frieze a gathering of Carian gods, and on the northern frieze the Amazonomachy, a battle between the Amazons and the Greeks.

Numerous festivals were celebrated at the site during which a procession delivered the key of the temple from Lagina to the bouleuterion in Stratonkeia on which the rules of the religious celebrations of Hekate were written.