Synagogue of Sardis

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Synagogue of Sardis is a magnificent building that I visited especially in the Seven Churches tours in Sardes Antique City in Salihli district of Manisa. It is known that Sardis, which was the capital of the Lydians during the Iron Age period, was founded in 1300 BC and was abandoned in 1200 AD. Sardes is one of the most important cities of its period because it was the first place where money was minted, the homeland of the famously rich king Croesus and the beginning of the King’s Road.

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History of Synagogue of Sardis

Synagogue of Sardis 1
Sardis Gymnasium

It is estimated that the synagogue, which was known to be built in 212 BC, was used by the Jewish community which was approximately ten thousand people. It is understood from a Hebrew inscription that the emperor who gave the building to the Jewish community of the city could be Emperor Lucius Verus. There is a large pool in the middle of the synagogue. This pool is believed to be the place where young girls bless themselves before getting married. Three different doors are used to go from the “pool hall” to the main hall. Men and women used to pass through two separate doors, and clergymen through their private doors. The walls and locations of the hall attract attention with its mosaic, inscription, and wall decorations which are kept in the Manisa Museum. To the east of the synagogue, there is the Honor Lodge and Rabbi Chair, where the notables of the city sit, and where the problems of the city are discussed and decided.

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The Sardes excavations, which were initiated before the First World War, have been continuing since 1958. Two leading universities are working on the Sardis excavations, which are Harvard and Cornell universities.

Sardis ruins and the synagogue of Sardis can be visited all days of the week. Sardis is open for visits between 09:00 – 19:00 in Summertime and between 08:00–17:00 in wintertime. The entrance fee is 3 Euros and tickets can be bought at the entrance. There are free-of-charge toilets provided at the entrance too. Sardis is a must-see place when it comes to touring biblical sites in western Turkey, especially for groups who want to have the ” Seven Churches of the Apocalypse ” tour. I also recommend Sardis for my guests who believe in Judaism. I hope one day you will have a chance to see this amazing place with a great history. You can write to me to ask questions about Sardis. You can hire a private tour guide to see Sardis ancient site by contacting me. See you soon, Hasan Gülday.

Hasan Gülday

Hasan Gülday. Professional licensed tour guide working in Turkey.

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