Known as the harbor city of Colophon and its link to the sea, the site of ancient Notion, is 30 km north of Kusadasi on the Kusadasi-Seferihisar coastal highway, within the borders of the seaside village- Ahmetbeyli of Izmir. Located on top of the hill of Ahmetbeyli Beach, the city covers an area of 500x1000 meters on two adjoining hills to the east of the beach.
The early settlements of Notion dates back to the 6th century BC. During the Peloponnasian Wars- the dreadful wars between Helens during the years of 431-404 BC, Notion played a significant role, serving as the naval base of Athenians. The numerous wars between Spartans & Athenians were to colonize the coastal towns of Anatolia and ended with the loss of Athenians.
The harbor of Notion was considered as alternative to the harbor of Ephesus but did not become as popular as Ephesus, during the time. In 334 BC, the city was invaded by Alexander the Great. Following his death, Lysimakhos, the founder of the New Ephesus, deported most of the inhabitants to Ephesus and Lebedus. Part of the remaining population emigrated to Notion, which hence forth was called "Neo Colophon".
During the Roman times, the city entered upon a new era of prosperity both in commerce and social life. Temples, agoras, and bouleuterions, buildings housing social activities were built throughout the period. Towards the end of the Roman era, the harbor of Notion lost its prior importance as it was getting filled. During the Byzantine era, Notion was within the borders of Asian Province and remained as the bishopric until the Middle Ages.
Systematic excavations in Notion started in 1921-22 by a French team conducted by C. Picards, R.Demargel and A.Laumonier. During the serious excavations, Sanctuary of Athena was unearthed.
The excavations of the city theatre and the northern necropolis was started by a team under the supervision of Prof. E. Atalay in the years of 1985-86, but canceled by the sudden death of Prof. E. Atalay. In 1992, a project also supported by the Ministry of Culture, Grand Circle Foundation of the USA and Ludwig Institute of Monument Research (Vienna), was started in order to remove the thick cover of vegetation that had caused great damage to the remains of the city and to explore the unknowns about Notion.
The city, located by the sea, resembles an acropolis and is surrounded by 4 km long Hellenistic city walls. Today, most of the city walls giving a clear idea to the plan of the city, have been revealed. The two main gates of Notion are located in the west and in the north, opening onto the harbor.
The north gate was functioning in trade. In the center of the city, overlooking the splendid view of The Temple of Claros, many structures have been revealed The Temple of Athena, primarily. Corinthian order temple with two columns built in the 2AD, in the reign of Hadrian, stands in good condition.
During the recent years, a restoration project to preserve the ruins of the Temple of Athena, has been planned. Built in the Hellenistic era and located in the northeast of the city, the theatre, is one of the well-preserved structures in the city with a seating capacity of approximately 6000 and 27 rows of seats.