During the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, Manisa was one of Turkey's most important cities and still boasts a characterful historic centre, ancient ruins and beautiful 16th-century mosque. There are excellent museums to explore, along with great shopping and fantastic local cuisine.
Things to do in Manisa
Topped by a pair of soaring minarets, Muradiye Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Murad III in the late-1500s. You enter via a magnificent door inlaid with gleaming marble and beautifully carved wood. Inside you'll find intricate Iznik tiling and stained-glass windows.
The Ruins of Sardis offers a window into Turkey's ancient past. The fascinating archaeological site is anchored by Sartmustafa, a small village surrounded by Byzantine buildings once used by Jewish merchants. You can also admire Roman villas, stone temples and the impressive Temple of Artemis.
The Medical History Museum is housed in a former hospital located in the grounds of the Sultan Mosque. It's run by the Celal Bayar University and traces the history of medicine across the globe. After touring the museum, enjoy refreshments at the shady courtyard cafe.
Don't leave without sampling a Manisa kebab, the town's famous local delicacy. The dish features juicy kofte meatballs served on fluffy pide bread topped with rich tomato sauce and yoghurt. While you'll find plenty of restaurants serving kebabs, Gulcemal is a longstanding favourite with locals.
Getting around Manisa
Manisa's city centre is easy to explore on foot, with most attractions within walking distance. The city is also serviced by local buses and taxis. Izmir's Adnan Menderes International Airport is a one-hour bus ride from Manisa.