We did overnight next to the ruined capital of ancient Lydia, about kilometers west of present İzmir. Sardis (🎫 25 TRY) is strategically located on a spur at the foot of Mount Tmolus, it commanded the central plain of the Hermus Valley and was the western terminus of the Persian royal road. Sardis was the capital of the flourishing Lydian kingdom of the 7th century BCE and was the first city where gold and silver coins were minted. From about 560 to about 546 Sardis was ruled by Croesus, who was renowned for his great wealth and was the last king of Lydia. Taken by the Persians (c. 546 BCE), Sardis fell in turn to the Athenians, the Seleucids, and the Attalids until bequeathed to the Romans in 133 BCE. Under the Roman Empire, it was the metropolitan capital and center of judicial administration of the Roman province of Lydia. Destroyed by an earthquake in 17 CE, the city was rebuilt and remained one of the great cities of Anatolia until the later Byzantine period. It was obliterated in 1402 by the Mongol Timur. The site consists of ruined Byzantine shops, a synagogue, palestra (an open expanse where athletes trained and where the gymnasium and baths once stood), a Roman villa, a 4th-century church, and the Temple of Artemis. It´s one kilometer away from the main site, but today only a few columns of the once-magnificent but never-completed building still stand. Nevertheless, the temple’s plan is clearly visible and very impressive. Nearby is an early Christian church dating from the 4th century AD.

Sardis / Sardes

Temple of Artemis

Parking location – Sardis: 38.487732N 28.039875E