Manisa province was home to important civilizations and to early Christians in ancient times.
Three of the seven churches mentioned in the Bible, Sardes, Thyatira and Philadelphia, also known as the Seven Churches of Revelation, were located in Manisa.
Located in Akhisar District, the city was located in the northern part of ancient Lydia of the Roman province of Asia, The ancient Thyatira was a prosperous trading town and was an important location on the road from Pergamon to Laodicea. The city, which was a weaving centre in ancient times, carried military and commercial activities since it was located at the junction of several roads. Among its ruins were found inscriptions relating to a guild of dyers where artisans made purple dyes.
The city of Sardes (Sardis or Sart) was the capital of Lydian Kingdom during the 6th century BCE. The city of Sardes and its surrounding area were enriched by the river Pactolus. The river known for gold deposits which was the source of the wealth of Lydian King Croesus (Kroisos/Karun), and helped make the city prosperous. Legends also suggest that Midas washed himself off at Pactolus river the to get rid of his golden touch. World's first coins were minted in Sardes by King Alyattes, father of Croesus.
The most important architectural structures uncovered with excavations are the ancient synagogue and gymnasium. The synagogue is a uniquely beautiful building built in the 3rd century CE. The gymnasium is next to the synagogue. It is understood that the ornate eastern front of Gymnasium was built at the beginning of the 3rd century CE. The arched shops along the edges of these two buildings date back to the Byzantine Period.
Most of the ancient city of Philadelphia is under the modern settlement of Alaşehir. During the Roman period, Philadelphia was called “Little Athens” for the abundance of temples and festivals held in the city. The city preserved its importance during the Byzantine period. During the excavations in Philadelphia, a theatre and a temple dating back to the Roman Period were uncovered.
The name of the Aigai Ancient City is located in Yunus Emre District’s Köseler village, is also known as Nemrut Kale. Aigai is one of the 12 Aeolian cities in western Anatolia mentioned by Herodotus. Aigai is located on the Yunt Mountain (Yunt Dağı /Aspordenos), in a mountainous area, relatively far from the Aegean Sea. Archaeological studies carried out in Aigai show that foundation of the city goes back to the end of 800s BCE and it was an important commercial center during the 4th century.
Manisa Castle ruins can be seen on the northern slope of Mount Spil (Spil Dağı), south of Manisa city centre. The castle consists of two parts: the “inner castle” and the “outer castle”. The inner castle also called Sandıkkale was renewed and surrounded by the outer wall during the Byzantine period.
Kula Volcanoes and Fairy Chimneys
Kula Volcanoes (Kula Yanardağı) and its surroundings in between Kula and Salihli Districts have a volcanic geological zone and it was recognized by UNESCO as a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2013. Volcanic activities in the Kula region continued until the beginning of the quaternary period. In this region eruptions occurred in various periods and lava flows spread around several times. Now, volcanoes are dormant. This feature made the famous geographer Strabon called these lands “Yanık Ülke” (Burnt Land). Within the geopark, there are some natural formations caused by the effects of temperature changes, rain, wind and erosion: Kula Fairy Chimneys (Kula Peri Bacaları) create a magnificent landscape with its pastel tones on the Gediz Valley.
Spil Mountain National Park
The name “Sipylos” was inspired from the ancient mythology. It has an east-west orientation as a separate mass at the northwest end of Bozdağ range on Gediz Basin. It is a limestone mass with a height of 1513 metres. Background to mythological stories, the mountain is an important cultural component. It is also a natural riches with its geological and geomorphological characteristics, limestone rocks, canyon valleys, doline lakes, lapias, caves and diverse vegetation and wildlife. It’s extremely rich flora includes red pine, larch and iron oak trees. Among the shrubs of the lower flora stand out junipers, rockrose, heather, laurel and myrtle. Spil Mountain has a unique value with more than 120 endemic plant species. Other than hiking and biking paths, paragliding centres and off-road tracks, the mountain hides Niobe natural rock formation, Manisa Castle (Manisa Kalesi) and Taş Suret (Cybele Relief) –located in a niche about 100-120 m up a granite cliff-face of Spil Mountain, overlooking the city of Manisa. The Manisa tulips (magnesian tulip or tulipa orphanidea) growing on Spil Mountain and blooming from April to May, are under preservation.
19th century wooden Kula houses are successful examples of Ottoman civil architecture and art of its period. The town of Kula also reflects the Ottoman city texture of the 19th century.
More to See in Manisa
Soma Darkale Museum Village, Bintepeler ve Gyges Tumulus, Türkmen Waterfalls (Türkmen Şelalesi), Turgutlu Ovacık Plateau (Turgutlu Ovacık Yaylası), 2000-year-old Kırkağaç Monument Olive Tree, Ayşe Hafsa Sultan Mosque and Complex, Grand Mosque and Complex (Ulu Cami), Muradiye Mosque and Complex, Şehzadeler Park, Carullah Bin Süleyman Mosque with Handcrafted Ottoman Decorations, Turgutlu City Museum, Manisa Museum, Salihli City Museum, Akhisar Museum, Obasya (a unique workshop for studying history, social anthropology, and ethnology, living by seeing, touching and dealing with history and folklore) and Yörük Çadırları (nomad tents).