Main Attractions in Sardis

While in Sardis you must journey back to the times of Pagan worship by a visit to the temple of Artemis. This is about 1km. to the south of the Izmir-Ayfon highway. It is of gigantic proportions and is perhaps the most splendid relic of the Cult of Cybele. It was built in three phases of construction but is now in ruins.

The most interesting monument in Sardis is the Jewish synagogue, which dates back to the 3rd century AD. It is perhaps the most impressive synagogue unearthed from history. The synagogue is actually remodeled from a bath-gymnasium complex that was built during the Hellenistic and Roman times. You can approach the site of the synagogue through the Marble Way. This is a main street with shops on either side, which were earlier owned by Jewish merchants. Though not much remains of the synagogue except for the floor, some walls and columns, its imposing structure can be well imagined from more than 80 Greek and 7 Hebrew inscriptions, and the numerous mosaic floors.

The ancient synagogue is also significant because you can see evidence of the existence of a thriving Jewish community in Asia Minor at the time, and discredits the earlier theory that Christianity had eclipsed Judaism in the region.

To the ardent student of archeology and antiquity, the artifacts unearthed by the Harvard-Cornell expedition would be of great interest. Most of the important ones are in the Archeological Museum of Manisa, 35 miles to the northwest. Here you can see Roman mosaics, sculpture, and pottery from different periods.

If you wish to see the current excavations, you should visit Sardis between June to mid-August and view the domestic and industrial units and Roman townhouses where a lot of painted wall decorations are still preserved. The area is out of bounds when the excavations are not taking place, but attempts to construct a permanent shelter with a viewing platform are now underway.

Also of interest to you would be the Lydian gold refining installations that gave us the first gold coins. These lie to the south of the temple of Artemis.
Sardis  |  History of Sardis  |  Main Attractions in Sardis  |  Sardis Hotels and Accommodation  |  Sardis Restaurants  |  Getting to Sardis