Turkey Day 16 - Sardis & the Red Basilica in Bergama

Luke not really fully respecting the ruins inside a ruined synagogue in Sardis.

It was a sad day leaving our place of residence, this time the wonderful Serenity Cottage; so very nice having our own cute cottage.

Being in control of our own breakfast means we can all eat when we want and have far more control of the morning and this morning we had our earliest start, just before 9am.

Today is a short drive, with only a single stop at Sardis and we arrived at around 11am. The Lonely Planet guide talked about the Lydian civilisation that founded Sardis – but there was only Greek, Roman and Byzantine ruins to look at which was disappointing – especially as the visit added several hours to the drive today.

Luke & Grandma eyeing each other up in the Roman shop ruins.

Robin and Luke running through Sardis

Luke exploring in Sardis

There was still several items of interest such as this huge reconstructed entranceway to an old Roman Bath House – the Romans where just so industrial and built on scale.

Standing outside a reconstructed Roman bath house.

The ruins of one of the old pools inside the bath house.

There was also old synagogue ruins – which is the oldest synagogue I have ever seen.

Me standing in part of the reconstructed synagogue.

And finally a huge temple to Artemis, which included several pillars which are still standing after 2000 years which is damn impressive. This was a huge Greek temple which again even through it was in use for hundreds of years was never finished.

Temple of Artemis in Sardis – not much left except the original still standing pillars at the end.

The still standing pillars up close.

One advantage of ruins is that you can see the original Roman joinery in places.

Happy Robin with his new Eye Pillow.  

Luke trying to pick up a rock way too heavy for him.

Back in the car we reached Bergama around 3-30pm, our earliest time yet. The hostel is a great B&B pension in an Ottoman building which is 130 years old. The house is great and everything looks so old, the roofs are high, the stairs are wooden and crooked and I am sleeping in an old four poster bed under a chandler. There is of course parking problems being in the old historic area of town and the car is large and has to be parked in the next door pension and was a mission to get in and turn around down this tiny alleyway designed for horses. I’m amazed there were no damages. No way I want to move the car tomorrow so everything has to be on foot until we leave.

As we arrived early, it was decided to get an early start on exploring the town and we headed out to visit the Red Basilica which is this impressive huge temple from 1800 years ago – 2nd century AD and is actually a temple to Egyptian gods Serapis, Isis and Harpocrates. This temple is mentioned in the bible in Revelations by St John as one of the churches of the Apocalypse and identifying it as the throne of the devil.

This temple is so huge that a Christian basilica was actually built inside it, which shows the scale of the buildings in Roman times that couldn’t be duplicated in the centuries afterwards.

Here you can see the grey stone wall of the Christian basilica inside the huge red walled Roman temple.

A new carving showing the temple as it would have looked like.

Grandma, Julianne, Luke & Robin showing the share size of the building.

Luke making friends with the local shop keepers after the Red Basilica.

It was then tea at a very Turkish non-touristy café again with some translation issues but at least there was some English. We had a number of plates that we all shared ranging from beef goulash and chicken drum sticks through to rice & noodles. For desert we had these honey coated rice and dough things – very yummy. A great meal at half the cost of a fancy restaurant and we all enjoyed it.

Adam Weller