MANISA - SARDES - KUTAHYA

Manisa - Sardis  

An attractive Aegean city, Manisa has preserved several splendid examples of Seljuk and Ottoman architecture. Endowed by Ayşe Sultana, mother of Süleyman the Magnificent, the Sultan Mosque was built early in the 16th century. Every year in April, on the grounds of this mosque, a festival is held celebrating Mesir Macunu, a sticky imperial elixir that reputedly cured the sultan's ailing mother. The 16th century Muradiye Mosque was designed by the great architect Sinan and the adjacent medrese, or theological college, today houses the Archaeological Museum. September sees the annual Harvest Festival begin when the fruit of the vineyards are brought in with great celebration. The region's numerous vineyards produce grapes, dried for export. South of the city lies the Sipil Dagı National Park, home of the famous "crying rock" of Niobe. If you travel to the northeast you come to Gördes, a pleasant town particularly known for its fine carpets.

The ruins of ancient Sart (Sardis), once the capital of the Lydian realm of Croesus, lie on the Sart Cayi (Pactole River). Here the first coins were minted. The Temple of Artemis and a restored gymnasium testify to the city's past splendour, as does the important third-century A.D. synagogue. On the south side of Sardis, Mt. Boz offers trekking and other mountain sports. On its south slope, in the village of Birgi, is the Cakir Aga Mansion, a fine example of traditional Turkish architecture.

Kutahya

Kutahya is a small province in the midst of hill country, clustering about the walls of an impressive hilltop fortress. It is the hometown of the world famous Yagolbedir Carpets, and Kütahya tiles which you can see everywhere in the country. But the best and the cheapest are in Kutahya, where you may visit the workshops and see these tiles produced with designs from the 16th- and 17th-centuries. They are especially famous for their cobalt blue on a milky white background. The old wood and stucco houses of Kütahya are picturesque. The Hungarian House (Kossouth Museum) and those on the Germian Street are the most interesting ones. Kutahya is a thermal springs center with Harlek-lilca, Muratdagi-Gediz and Eynal-Simav, among the most famous .

To the southwest of Kutahya an ancient city awaits you for an eccentric archaeological excursion, Cavdarhisar (Aizanoi) has one of the best preserved Roman temples in Anatolia; the Temple of Jupiter. Dating back to the time of Hadrian, it was built for the worship of Zeus and also the Anatolian fertility goddess Kybele. A Byzantine fortress, the Seljuk Hidirilk Mosque and Balikil Bath and the Ottoman Bedesten, Saadettin Mosque, Sengui Bath are just some of the important historical remains in Kütahya.

At Murat Mountain there are camping facilities including hot springs in the midst of delightful scenery.

City, western Turkey. It lies along the Porsuk River, at the foot of a hill crowned by a ruined medieval castle. Kutahya, known as Cotyaeum in antiquity, lay on the great road from the Marmara region to the Mesopotamian plains; the town flourished and declined according to the changing importance of the trade routes. As a medieval Byzantine town, it was taken by the Seljuk Turks toward the end of the 11th century. It functioned as the capital of the Germiyan Turkmen principality from 1302 to 1429 before its absorption into the Ottoman Empire. During the 16th century, Kutahya emerged as a center of the Ottoman ceramic industry, supplying tiles 

and faience for mosques, churches, and other buildings in Turkey and parts of the Middle East. Its importance was eclipsed by the growth of neighboring Eskisehir at the end of the 19th century, but the development of industries at Kutahya in the mid-20th century restored some of the town's former importance. Its industries now include sugar refining, tanning, nitrate processing, pottery and carpet making, and the manufacture of smoking pipes and other articles from meerschaum (silicate of magnesium), which is extracted in the vicinity. Kutahya is linked by road and railway with Eskisehir (40 miles [65 km] northeast) and Afyon Karahisar (56 miles [90 km] southeast). The city's old neighborhoods have traditional Ottoman houses made of wood and stucco.