Ruins Of Sardis

Excavations were formally begun in 1914, under the auspices of Princeton University. The Temple of Artemis, that had been nearly completely covered over by landslides was dug out, as were other ancjent structures. Other American excavations were undertaken in 1958 by the American School of Oriental Research, and the missions were subsidized in 1968 by the American government. The most impressive of the city’s ruins is the temple. The stadium, though not fully excavated, Is in an excellent state of preservation. A large complex of Sardis remains have been excavated along the highway leading to the site.

Ruins Along the Highway: A large excavation site on the left side of the Izmir highway has revealed a considerable section of the ancient city. Here is found the wide, ‘marble-paved main avenue of Sardis. A colonnade which lined the southern area of the’ avenue is now under the present highway. The long row of shops, as weil as the avenue itself date to the fourth century AD., and are thought to have remained in use until the seventh century when the Persian armies sacked the area. A large court and marble facade lead into the palaestra or exercise field, with Its surrounding colonnades. South of the palaestra is a third century synagogue. The main hall is entered through three gates. Other shops, possibly belonging to Jewish merchants are found adjacent to the synagogue at the ¡south wali of the building. An early Byzantine construction called the House of Bronzes is found in the area of the Hellenistic chamber tombs. This house is thought to have been the residence of a high religious offical since many liturgical bronze pieces were found inside during the excavations. This is a two-level construction with a large central room and several smaller ones on the upper floor, A ramp leads to the storage rooms where materials for the making of olive oil were uncovered. To the south of this is the «Lydian Trench», from which many fine examples of pottery and ceramics dating to the 8th century B.C. have been found. The remains in this area are those of a Lydian market place. Nearby are some Roman foundations and a section of the Byzantine wall. To the east of the stadium is a theater that was restored by the Romans after the great earthquake in A.D. 17, The theater had a seating capacity of some twenty thousand.

The Temple of Artemis : The temple is found in the Pactoius Valley, a short distance from the village of Sart. You will cross the river that was known as the fabled Golden River of King Croesus. The Hellenistic Temple of Artemis was built by Croesus in the 6th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Athenians in 498 B.C. then rebuilt by Alexander the Great in 335 B.C. This structure is considered one of the largest Ionic temples of the Greek world. It measured nearly a hundred meters long and fifty wide. Twenty columns lined each of the temple’s sides; eight were along the front and back. The capitals are some of the most beautiful ever found. Since the temple was separated into sections, it is thought that one area was dedicated to the worship of Artemis, the other to Zeus. At the reor of the temple is a 5th century Christian church that had been completely covered by landslides for twelve centuries before being dug out by excavators. The structure to the west of the building is thought to have been an altar of an earlier temple on the site.

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