On Sunday morning, you will jump, or slowly saunter depending on your prior evening activities, on the bus in route to Selendi. Selendi is the town and district of Manisa Province in the Aegean region of Turkey. Its neighboring provinces are ?zmir to the west, Aydin to the south, Denizlito the south east, Usak to the east, Kütahya to the north east, and Balakesir to the north. Here you will visit both the Selendi Cistern Vineyard as well as the Selendi Winery Akhisar.
Come late afternoon, you will check into the hotel, where you will learn first hand why the region is known for both its hot springs and its ancient Lydia ancestry. Here you will take the afternoon and early evening to completely relax, preparing your mind and spirit for a fabulously delicious dinner at the hotel.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Now that you’re totally relaxed and have received a fabulous night’s sleep, you’ll jump back on the bus to explore the Acropolis, Temple of Artemis, Gymnasium-Bathhouse and Synagogue of Sardis. Sardis (modern Sart) was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia and home King Croesus (560-546 BC), famous for his wealth. Liberated from the Persians by Alexander the Great in c.340 BC, Sardis became a Greek city with an impressive Temple of Artemis. In the Roman era, the temple was expanded and used also for the imperial cult, and a huge bath-gymnasium complex was built. Ancient Sardis had a very large and prosperous Jewish community, which produced the largest ancient synagogue outside of Palestine. Christianity arrived in the 1st century AD and Sardis was one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Sardis now lies entirely in ruins and is an archaeological site in the village of Sartmahmut with ongoing excavations.
The Acropolis : Known biblically as the home of the church that received the fifth of letters to the seven churches in Revelation, Sardis was the capital of the Lydian empire and one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. Located on the banks of the Pactolus River, Sardis was 60 miles inland from Ephesus and Smyrna. The city was home to the famous bishop Melito in the 2nd century.
Temple of Artemis : Artemis was the main goddess of the city and the temple dedicated to her in Sardis was one of the seven largest Greek temples (more than double the size of the Parthenon). Artemis, known as Diana by the Romans, was the daughter of Zeus and twin of Apollo. She was the goddess of the hunt, the moon and fertility
Gymnasium-Bathhouse : A large complex built in center of the lower city in the 2nd century A.D. included a gymnasium and a bathhouse. The complex was over five acres in size and its western part was characterized by large vaulted halls for bathing. The eastern part was a palaestra, a large open courtyard for exercise.
Synagogue : The synagogue of Sardis is notable for its size and location. In size it is one of the largest ancient synagogues excavated. In location it is found in the center of the urban center, instead of on the periphery as synagogues typically were. This attests to the strength and wealth of the Jewish community in the city. This synagogue came into use in the 3rd c. A.D.
After your visit, you will head towards Kavaklidere Winery for a tour and lunch, followed by a second winery visit to Pamukkale Vineyard. Kavakl?dere Winery was the first private sector wine producer in Turkey. Founded by Cenap in 1929 in Ankara, it has steadily developed to become Turkey’s largest wine producer. Come evening, you can don your Tennis gear (which we’re all confident you brought) and head towards the Pamukkale Tennis Club for dinner.
Finally, you’ll set up camp for the evening at the hotel and gear up for the next day!
Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
Hierapolis is about 20 km north of Denizli, where you will spend much of the day. It is called a Holy City in Archeological literature, because there were many temples and religious buildings in Hierapolis. The ancient city is situated between several historical areas. According to the ancient geographers, Strabon and Ptolemaios, Hierapolis was very close to Laodicea and Tripolis which was in Kario’s Border. Information about Hierapolis is limited. It is known that the king of Pergamum, Eumenes II, founded the city in 190 BC. Hierapolis was completely destroyed by the earthquake in 60 A.D. during the time of Roman Emperor Nero. During the reconstruction after the earthquake, the city lost its Hellenistic Style and became a typical Roman City. Right after the Roman period started, Hierapolis became an important center because of its commercial and religious position. Hierapolis was conquered by the Turks at the end of the 12th century A.D.
Ruins of Hierapolis: Entrances and Main Street: The ancient city is divided by the main street which is about 1 km long. There are columnar governmental galleries on both sides. There are also monumental entrances at the beginning and at the end of the main street. The area is outside of the Byzantine city walls, because the gates, most of the main street, and most of the side streets were built in the Roman Period.
Apollon Temple: The temple is situated in a religious cave, which is called Plutonium. The oldest religious center of the local people is the place where Apollon met the mother goddess, Kybele.
Middle Age (Selcuklu) Fortress :The fortress is on the plateau which controls to the valley, consist of wide rampart system on a strategically position. The walls were built with blocks from the ruins, even a lot of blocks were marble and contained inscriptions. In an excavation in one of the fortress, a door, wide splits on ceiling and flor because of earthquake were brought to light. According to its material the fortress dated to the 9th and 13th century when there were conflicts between Byzantine and Selcuk. An important evidence is a coin dated to that period.
City Walls: The city walls were built in accordance with a law issued in 396 AD. similar to other cities of the Roman Empire with walls on the north, south and east sides of the city.
Theater: It’s a great, well-preserved Greek style building, which is situated on a hillside. It is 91 meters high. The theater’s construction was started in 62 A.D. after the earthquake of 60 AD in the Flavius era. However, it was not completed in the Hadrian era. It was finally completed in the Severus Era in 206 A.D. There are 10 columns in front of the kingdom box and orchestra, which are 3.66 meters high. The front door of the scene has 5 gates and 6 niches. The niches are behind the columns which are decorated with oyster shells and among the columns adorned with statues. Many statues were found during the excavations. There are marble embossments on the wall which is behind the scene.
Churches: There is a cathedral dated in the 6th or 7th century A.D., a columnar church, and two more churches. Moreover, the main hall of the Great Bath was transformed into a church. There are also small prayer rooms on the north part of the city.
Necropolis: Except for the travertine area on the west, the other sides of the city are necropolis areas. They may especially be seen on the roads which go to Laodicea – Colossae on the south and to Tripolis – Sardis on the north.
Great Bath Complex: There are marks that indicate that the bath’s inner walls used to be covered with marble. Some of the walls and vaults of the bath and are still standing.
Travertines, or calcium deposits, made by hot mineral-laden waters at Pamukkale, near Denizli in Meander River valley of Turkey’s Aegean region.
Finally, you will take lunch in a local restaurant in Hierapolis followed by a leisurely drive to Izmir.