|SARDES - Sard
The site of ancient Lydian capital of Sardis is located near the present-day village of Sart in the province of Manisa. The ruins are located on either side of the Ankara-Izmir highway, 72 kilometers from Izmir. Excavations conducted by Americans at Sardis in 1910-14 unearthed the Temple of Artemis and more than a thousand Lydian tombs. The works that they brought to light are now in the New York Metropolitan Museum.
From inscriptions that have been turned up in excavations, we know that the decorative eastern facade of the gymnasium was built during the reign of the emperors Caracalla and Geta (around the beginning of the 3rd century A.D.) Taking advantage of the fragments found here, the gymnasium's facade has been successfully restored. The baths were entered through doorso opening into the courtyard. Originally built in 161 A.D. during the reign of Lucius Verus, they underwent major repairs in 211. The synagogue and eastern section of the baths were restored between 1964 and 1973.
House of the Infidels". Excavations that have been conducted here have turned up numerous bronze works of a religious nature. This building dates to around 550 A.D. and may have been a bishop's palace. Southwest of the bronze house are the remains of the Lydian agora which numerous ceramics dating from the 8th to the 4th century B.C.have been found. Along the southern foot of the acropolis one sees the remains of Byzantine period walls.
Proceeding along the highway in the direction of Salihli, we come to a large Roman-period structure with a courtyard located on the northern side of the road. Here one may see the ruins of a Byzantine church and of a Roman bath with wall paintings.
The terrain on the southern side of the road rises towards the acropolis. Immediately by the road is a building that was used for municipal business during the Roman period. Passing by this and walking towards the acropolis a bit we come to the stadium. This Roman-period structure is supported by vaulting. At the eastern end of the stadium is a Roman theater. The original structure was built in 215 B.C. but was destroyed in an earthquake in 17 A.D. It could accommodate an audience of 20,000. The other ruins of ancient Sardis are on the road that runs along the Paktalos River and leads to the Temple of Artemis. On the western bank of the river to one's left rises the steep pinnacle of Paktalos. At the top of it are the foundations of a Roman or Byzantine house from the 4th or 5th century A.D. In an excavated depression near the river one sees examples of 7th and 6th century B.C. "Lydian walls". After passing the houses of the village, we come to a pyramid-shaped tomb halfway along the road rising towards the valley's south. This stepped structure is 300 meters high and is the monumental tomb of a Susan nobleman by the name of Abradates and his wife Pantheia. Excavations have demonstrated that the practice of the Artemis cult at this site goes back at least as far as the 5th century B.C. The red sandstone altar standing before temple and only partially excavated measures 21 by 11meters and is from the Lydian period. The Anatolian fertility goddess Kybele, with whom Artemis was identified, was also worshipped here.
The Artemis temple went through three stages of development. The original temple was constructed in the 4th century B.C. This first building faced west and was in the Ionic order. It measured 23.00 by 67.52 meters in size. It consisted of a pronaos (an outer portico), a cella (an enclosure in which the statue of the goddess was housed), and an opisthodome (back chamber). The temple had a double row of columns. This temple was destroyed or fell to ruin and work on building a second one on the same site took place between 175-150 B.C. Thirteen of the bases of the columns on the east were erected during this period after which construction came to a halt. Had it continued, there would have been twenty columns on the temple's long side and eight on the short. Only six columns were added to the opisthodome. Work did not begin again until 150 A.D. when the work of building was taken up for a third time and the temple was finally completed in the pseudo-dipteros plan laid down three centuires earlier with 8 by 20 columns and measuring 45 by 97.94 meters. In Roman times, the cella was divided into two with the western half being dedicated to Artemis and the eastern to Zeus. During a later period, the temple was also employed in the worship of the emperor Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina. The temple was used until the 5th century A.D. after which it appears to have been abandoned.