Miletus is located on the site which was occupied by the village Balat, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1955. The findings of the excavations support the tradition of Cretan presence in the area (approximately 16th century BC). The Minoan settlement was replaced, almost without and interval, by the Mycenaean settlement, while the re-establishment of Miletus by Ionian settlers took place approximately in 1050 BC.
In the Archaic Period Miletus was the site of the most important scientific discoveries. In the beginning of the 6th century BC the Milesians Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes, seeking the primal elements of the world, set the foundations for the development of a scientific, deterministic interpretation, devoid of mythic genealogies.
In the Classical Period, after the destruction of the city from the Persians in 494 BC, Miletus probably continued to be inhabited on a limited scale. However, the re-establishment of the city took place in 479 BC. Then followed the Hippodamian city plan, which owes its name to Hippodamas, who came from Miletus and is considered the founder of the city planning of the Classical city.
Of course, both the Archaic and the Classical city have to a large part been covered by the impressive Hellenistic monuments. Miletus remained an important urban and commercial centre of Ionia with three ports: the Port of Athena, of Theatre and of Lions. In the Hellenistic Period, the most important buildings erected were the Gymnasium of Eumenes II and the Gymnasium of Eudemus, the Theatre, the Stadium, the Bouleuterion and the South Agora.