The city of Sardis, the history of which dates from nearly 1000 B.C. served as the capital city of the Lydian Kingdom. The city was the Provincial Centre during the Roman Period and became the Episcopal Centre in the Byzantine Period. It was established on the road which links the Aegean coasts to Central Anatolia. The most significant remains of the city are the Sacred Temple of Artemis and a gymnasium and a synagogue.
The Temple of Artemis is recorded as being one of the greatest temples built in antiquity, the fourth largest Ionic temple of the ancient world. The small church behind the temple is thought to have been built in the 5th century A.D. After antiquity, the sacred placed was gradually abandoned and the stones of the temple were taken away be used in new construction as spolia and consequently these buildings became ruins in time. At the start of the 20th century (1914-1920), the temple was completely buried beneath the earth except for the upper parts of two of its columns. This is extremely important in terms of indicating the large amount of erosion and deposition over the course of the past 1500 years. It is possible to see the traces of the restoration works that were carried out in response to the damage caused by earthquakes over the passage of the centuries and the temple is also important for recording in traces the physical evidence of the natural disasters in the region. The area has an international significance because The Ancient City of Sardis and the Lydian Tumuli of Bin Tepe (Thousand Hills) is on the tentative list of the UNESCO World Herritage.
There are a group of important royal tombs which are termedBintepe (Thousand Hills) on the road from Salihli to Akhisar, 8-10 km north of the GedizRiver, within an area of some 74 square kilometers, Bin Tepe is the largest tumulus cemetery inTurkey.These 119 tumuli scattered across the area between the ancient city of Sardis and Marmara Lake belonged to the rulers of Lydia. The dimensions of these tombs vary depending upon the social status of their owners. Three of the largest burial mounds-tumulus are said to have belonged to the famous Lydian Kings, Giges, Alyattes and Ardys. The largest tumulus,63 m. high, which was compared by Herodotos to the Egyptian Pyramids, is thought to have been the burial place of King Alyattes. It is also the region of a major, newly-discovered Bronze Age kingdom contemporary with the Mycenaean Greeks, the Trojans, and the Hittites. The Thousand Hills is on the tentative list for listing on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Kurşunlu Thermal Spring
The Kurşunlu Hot Springs are one of the most important 15 geothermal areas in Turkey. These hot springs, located beside the İzmir-Ankara highway, downstream of the Kursunlu stream, are considered an important thermal tourism destination in western Turkey. Today almost all of the hot springs in the Kurşunlu Geothermal area has dried up, in consequence of the on-going hot water extraction activities. The ground surface temperatures of the water sources varies between 42-55ºC., and the water extracted from the wells has a temperature of 51-114ºC. The hot water obtained from the wells is mainly used in the thermal resort as well as for heating buildings in the Salihli District. It is thought that the thermal water from these hot springs has positive effects on rheumatism, in skin treatments, for respiratory diseases, for psychiatric disorders and in the treatment of calcification. In addition to these characteristics, this area is also known for being an important recreational.
Kula Divlit Volcano
The Kula Divlit Volcanic Park is located in the eastern part of the Kula-Salihli Geopark, northeast of the centre of Kula district. This park has all the landforms that were formed in consequence of the third stage of volcanic activities. Within the park area, you can see the Kula-Divlit cinder cone, lava flow, parasitic cones, spatter cones and lava tunnels and ditches. Within the park area, there is a pathway guiding visitors to the geosites (approx. length 2.7 km) with wooden bridges and 1 cycling track (approx. length 34.8 km).
Kula Fairy Chimneys
Fairy chimneys typically form in areas where a thick layer of a relatively soft rock, such as mudstone, poorly cemented sandstone or tuff (consolidated volcanic ash), is covered by a thin layer of hard rock, such as well-cemented sandstone, limestone or basalt. Sometimes these sequences alternate several times. These protective capstones protect the underlying soft and easily erodible rock from direct rain erosion. Over time, cracks in the resistant layer allow the much softer rock beneath to be eroded and washed away. The spacing and size of fairy chimneys is therefore typically related to the fracture patterns and density of the overlying cap rock. Fairy chimneys form where a cap of the resistant layer remains, and protects a ridge and later a cone of the underlying softer layer from erosion. In the figure below these different stages (from plateau to fin to fairy chimney (hoodoo) of development are illustrated. The heavy cap pressing downwards gives the pedestal of the fairy chimney its strength to resist erosion.
Emir Hot Spring
Emir Thermal Springs are found 18km east of Kula next to the Ilıca Hamam Creek within the Kula volcanics. This area was very famous during the Roman period and known as “Thermai Thessos” or the “Thessos Hot Springs”. According to the descriptions of Hamilton’s survey (1842-1844) this area was both a religious and healthcare center. Today the remnants of the Roman bath s found next to the Ottoman bath, which is still operational.