Up Lydia Sardis
Manisa is an attractive, modern city with a
far-reaching past. Its history goes back to 500 BC but the first known
settlements date to the 14th century BC. Since the great Ottoman Sultans chose
Manisa as the training ground for crown princes, there are many examples of
Ottoman architecture, as well as Seljuk. The Sultan Mosque of the 16th-century
was built for Ayse Sultan, mother of Suleyman the Magnificent. In her honor, the
Mesir Macunu Festival (Spiced Candy which is supposed to restore health, youth
and potency) is held every year in March, in the grounds of this mosque. The
Muradiye Mosque of the 16th-century was built by the great architect Sinan, and
the Murad Bey Medresse now houses the Archaeological Museum of Manisa.
Manisa celebrates the annual Vintage Festival
every September, when bringing in the fruits of the vineyards is celebrated with
excitement. The vineyards surround the city and provide dry fruit for export and
grapes for wine making.
The Spil Mountain National Park is a cool spot
with a richly forested area, hot springs and a profusion of flowers, especially
wild tulips. There are about 120 kinds of endemic plants here. You may go
mountaineering or camping in this area as well as seeing the famous "crying
rock" of Niobe, and the carving of Goddess Kybele.
Sardis, in Manisa-Salihli is one of the most
remarkable sightseeing areas of Turkey. It is the ancient capital of Lydia, once
ruled by King Croesus, who was the first one to use coinage in exchange for
goods. Since Sardis encountered earthquakes, most of the remains date back only
to Roman times. There are the remains of the temple of Artemis and a restored
gymnasium, exhibiting of the past splendor of this ancient city. The splendid
Synagogue from the 3rd Century is worth visiting, with its elaborate mosaics and
artfully carved colored-stone panels. At Sindelli village there are the fossil
foot prints of mankind, belonging to the period of 25-50-century BC.
The ruins of the ancient city of Philadelphia lie
in the Alasehir area. Houses at Kula are beautiful examples of Ottoman
architecture. For the worshippers of beautiful carpets, Yunt Dagi, Gordes, Kula
and Demirci are famous for their precious carpets, rugs and kilims. In addition
there are many thermal springs throughout the area.
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