Manisa is both a province and a capital city. In Greek times this city would have been known as Magnesia. It is situated inland just 40 km from Izmir. This modern and vibrant Aegean city has a rich history that dates back as far as 500 BC although settlements would have been here well before that time.
This city has been home to the Hittites, Phrygians, Greeks, Lydians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Sarukhanids and the Ottomans. It was a learning and cultural centre for the Ottoman Empire. The city of Princes, with its vineyards and olive groves, is surrounded by Mount Spil. There is so much history here.
You will notice that there are some good examples of Ottoman architecture in Manisa, since this was where the young crown princes of the Sultans were sent to be educated. Work from the great Turkish architect Sinan can be found at the 16th century Muradiye Mosque. The Murad Bey Medrese ( Religious education centre ), is now home to the Manisa Archaeological Museum.
Manisa holds an annual Vintage Festival every September to celebrate the bringing in of the fruits of the Vineyards. The grapes are turned into dry fruits and wine and exported via the port of Izmir. The first point of call when visiting Manisa should be the “Weeping Rock” or “Ağlayan Kaya” which is also known as Niobe’s Rock. The Greeks believed this to be Niobe, whose children were killed by Apollo, and who fled to Mount Sipylus where she turned to stone. There is an ancient bridge called the “Red Bridge” or “Kırmızı Köprü” and several tombs and mosques. You should also visit Manisa Museum
Spil Mountain National Park is a top favourite with visitors to Manisa. It is 24 km out of town but exceptionally beautiful with its trees, flora and fauna. The landscape has canyons, caves, valleys and some very spectacular scenery. It is very popular with hikers and for camping.
There is not a great deal to see but Manisa Castle or Manisa Kalesi on the Sandık Hill at the foot of Mount Spil provides for some amazing views of the city below. Said to be of Byzantine origin the castle has not been restored and parts of the settlement are scattered over quite a large area.