Sardis was the capital of the
ancient Kingdom of Lydia, ruled
by King Croesus (560-546 BC).
Later, it was an important Roman city.
Located 90 km (56 miles) east of İzmir
next to the town of Sartmahmut, Sardis (Sart in
Turkish) is a large archeological site
with lots to see. Guided
available from İzmir and Ephesus/Kuşadası.
The great Temple
of Artemis was begun in 334
BC, reconfigured over the centuries
in various architectural styles, but
The 2nd-century AD Marble
Court of the Hall of the Imperial Cult complex
has been extensively restored, as has
been the huge, rich Roman synagogue.
Sardis is a large site divided
by the İzmir-Uşak highway (E96/D300),
with the Marble Court and synagogue
on the north side, and the Temple of
Artemis about 1 km (6/10 mile) to the
south, along with remnants of a Byzantine church,
a late Roman villa.
The River Pactolus, now called
the Gediz Nehri, passes along
the western edge of the site. The ancient Lydians gathered gold
dust from its waters by placing
sheepskins in the water which collected
the dust. According to legend, the
gold came from the Phrygian
King Midas who, cursed with the
golden touch, washed in the Pactolus
to rid himself of it. You can visit
the site of the Lydians' gold refinery.
You can see Sardis on a day-trip from İzmir (90
km/56 miles, 75 minutes), either by
private car or
by frequent regional minibus or,
less conveniently, by train.
From İzmir's Otogar (bus terminal),
go to the İlçe Peronları (EEL-cheh
peh-rohn-lah-ruh, regional gates) to
catch a minibus for Salihli,
the town just beyond Sardis, and ask
to be let out at Sartmustafa.
There are two morning trains and one afternoon
train from İzmir's Alsancak
station toward Uşak and Alaşehir that take
2.5 hours to travel the 120
km (75 miles) of track to the Sartmahmut station
one km (6/10 mile) north of the Sardis
archeological site. Two returning
trains from Sartmahmut to İzmir (Alsancak) depart Sartmahmut
in the morning and one in the evening.
The nearest hotels are
in Salihli and Manisa, but the greatest
selection is İzmir hotels.
Distances & Travel Times
Alaşehir (Philadelphia): 58
km (36 miles) SE, 1 hour
km (56 miles) W, 1.5 hours
Manisa: 58 km (36 miles) NW,
Salihli: 10 km (6 miles) E,
121 km (75 miles) SW, 2.25 hours
Uşak: 144 km (90 miles) E,
—by Tom Brosnahan