Sardis Ancient City

Sardis Ancient City

Sardis, an ancient city located in the middle of the Hermus valley at the base of Mount Tmolus, served as the capital of the Kingdom of Lydia, ruled by the wealthy King Croesus from 560-546 BC. Today, Sardis can be found near the modern village of Sart in the Salihli province of Manisa, Turkey, about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) south of the Hermus River. Visitors to the site can explore the remains of the bath-gymnasium complex buildings, a synagogue, and Byzantine shops.

As part of an empire that controlled much of western Anatolia during the seventh and sixth centuries BC, the native Iron Age Anatolian people of Sardis were conquered by the Persians in 547 BC. Alexander the Great later captured the Greek city of Sardis in 330 BC, gradually converting it into a Greek city while maintaining some of its former customs. Sardis was renowned for its temples, including the Temple of Artemis, considered one of the largest Ionic temples in history.

Sardis Ancient City

During the Roman occupation, Sardis retained its splendor and was home to the imperial cult, monumental avenues, public baths, and the largest synagogue of ancient times. Today, visitors can witness the remains of this impressive city and explore its rich history.

In the fourth century, Sardis became an increasingly important Christian center with the site of one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Alongside its founding as a Lydian city in the middle or towards the end of sixth century BC, Sardis constituted a city with rich heritage that included being home to those influential in minting coinage and housing many Christians and Jews.

A Lydian industrial sector outside the city walls, which preserves the earliest evidence in the world for refining gold and silver from electrum. The Lydian fortification, which enclosed the city with a massive defense 20 meters wide at its base and preserved to a height of 10 meters (larger than any other defense work in Anatolia), well-preserved houses dating to both late Roman and Lydian times, natural terraces made by ancient builders and acropolis with remains from both Lydian-age buildings as well as major Byzantine fortifications.

Other notable attractions at Sardis include the Temple of Artemis, an ancient Roman bath-gymnasium complex with its monumental columned marble court, a sanctuary for Roman Imperial cults, and adjacent theater and stadium. There were also remnants of a synagogue which was the largest in the ancient world; after that, there are Byzantine shops and burial tombs.

With its rich history and well-preserved remains, it is no wonder that Sardis Ancient City has been added to the Tentative List of UNESCO in 2013.