Spilling out from the foothills of the Manisa Dağı range, the sprawling city of MANISA lies 38km east of Menemen along the E87/550 highway, and is easily reached from there or from İzmir, also 38km away. While most of its historic centre was torched by the Greek army during its 1922 retreat, a few fine Selçuk and Ottoman monuments survive, and it’s now home to more than over 280,000 people.
The area was settled early in the first millennium BC, by veterans of the Trojan War according to legend, and the ancient town of Magnesia ad Sipylus was an important Roman centre. For a short time during the thirteenth century, after the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople, Manisa was capital of the Byzantine Empire. In 1313 it was captured by Selçuk chieftain Saruhan Bey, responsible for the earliest of the surviving local monuments. Later, the Ottomans sent heirs to the throne here to serve an apprenticeship as local governors, to prepare them for the rigours of İstanbul palace life.