City of Princes with a Historical Fabric: Manisa

Written by TR Dergisi

Manisa was called “Magnesia ad Sipylum” in the Roman Empire.

Manisa has a past dating back to as early as the Palaeolithic Age with its geographical location. The city established by the Magnets who migrated from Thessaly and settled at the foots of Mount Spil, was known as “Magnesia” and over time, it was a settlement of the Hittites, Phrygians, Greeks, Lydians, Persians, Roman, Byzantines, Sarukhanids and Ottomans. Due to principality’s presence in the region, the city was also referred to as Saruhan. Following the Ottoman rule, the  city’s name changed first into Magnisia, later Magnisa and finally Manisa. Because the city was a sanjak centre for the Ottomans, it was a place where prospective sultans improved their administrative skills. Murad II, Mehmed II The Conqueror, Suleiman the Magnificent, Selim II, Murad III, Mehmed III and Mustafa I acted as sanjak governors in Manisa.



If you are a history enthusiast, you must stop by at Manisa, the city of princes. Before reaching the city, olive groves and vineyards of famous Sultaniye grapes that stretch for kilometres will welcome you with Mount Spil that encircles the entire city. You come across a number of historical monuments that bear traces of the Ottoman and ancient period, once you arrive in the city. First of all, you must stop by at Niobe also known as the Weeping Rock, and see this legendary work in its original place. In this neighbourhood established around the monument, the district called Karaköy, if you walk along Çaybaşı Creek where historical Red Bridge is located, you can take a short break at the Historical Country Coffee house, relax in the shade of sycamores accompanied by the musical gurgle of the stream, and later visit Revak Sultan Tomb right in front of Niobe. Gülgün Hatun Dere Masjid and Bathhouse dating back to 14th century, resting in the shade of cypresses on the right and left of the tomb, and the historical fabric of Yedi Kızlar (Seven Girls) Tomb built by command of Saruhan Bey’s wife Gülgün Hatun, are worth visiting. Kabak Lodge built by Pilavcı Hacı Hüseyin in the 16th century, stands out with its architecture, stone-masonry and magnificence.

You can observe the artistic taste of centuries ago by looking at the exquisite patterns and brick workmanship on the facades and minaret of Ivaz Pasha Mosque, while walking along the creek flowing in the shade of plane trees on the route. The brickwork of Kaval Fountain surrounded by buildings in the area, is also splendid. The examples of brickwork in Ivaz Pasha Mosque can be seen near Karaköy Bath. Right behind the bathhouse is Attar Hoca Mosque dating back to 1480, has a balcony at its entrance, and resembles an art gallery with its interior decorations, pulpit, altar and ceiling decorations. Ahead is Hacı Yahya Mosque from 1470 with a brickwork worth seeing. Looking towards the foots of Mount Spil from here, Lala Pasha Mosque built in the 16th century, has a relaxing atmosphere with its stone-masonry, splendour and garden. Again in this neighbourhood, Defterdar Mahmut Efendi Mosque and at its entrance Pür Nefes Çelebi Fountain dating back to 1586, welcome us. The mosque is an aesthetic delight with its woodwork, ceiling motifs and pulpit. A fighter who lived in the establishment period, and considerably influenced Manisa’s Turkification and Islamizatio the tomb of Haki Baba is also in the area.




As you walk on 8 Eylül Avenue that divides the city centre into two, you can see historical tombs, fountains and mosques on the right and left side of the avenue. 22 Sultans Tomb, said to be the largest tomb in Anatolia, Yarhasanlar Mosque that stands out with its prismatic dome, Süleyman Paşa Fountain, Ayn-ı Ali Mosque and Tomb, are some of these monuments. When you leave the tomb behind, built by command of Karamanizade Emre Hoca’s son, İbrahim Çelebi Mosque with three small brick domes and a spacious garden in the shade of cypress trees, is located on a narrow street and Entekkeliler Lodge is located right across the mosque. If you walk along the street where tomb is located, you can see Sultan Mosque built by command of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent’s mother Ayşe Hafsa Sultan, Primary School, Sultan Bathhouse, Hospital and Madrasah. Mosque is a rare example of Ottoman art with its interior and exterior decorations. The structure built as a hospital which serves as a Medicinal History Museum today, has rooms where medical instruments used by the Ottomans, wax sculptures of treatments as eye surgery and cauterization, century-old drug containers and manuscripts are exhibited. Additionally, the illustration of production of “Mesir Paste” which is a combination of 41 herbs, the wax sculpture of Cemil Şener who lived in Manisa in Republic period and produced the drug called “Lityazol Cemil” which is the first local and patented drug made from blessed thistle, and the instruments he used are exhibited.



Across Sultan Mosque is Muradiye Mosque, a most precious Ottoman relic in Manisa built by command of Murat III. The mosque, rumoured to have been planned by Architect Sinan consists of a Madrasah, a hospice, and a primary school. The mosque is a masterpiece of Turkish decoration art with various adornments and workmanship. The madrasah section located in the side yard of the mosque, now serves as the Ethnography Museum; and the hospice is used as the Museum of Archaeology. Works dating back to Ottoman period are exhibited in the Museum of Archaeology as well as hundreds of works such as marble columns, sculptures, tombstones and sarcophagi from ancient times in Manisa. Near the mosque is centuries-old tomb of Saruhan Bey, or as locals call as Saruhan Father, who conquered an important centre of Byzantine period, Manisa and made it the centre of the Beylik. When you walk from Saruhan Bey’s tomb, Yiğitbaşı Veli tomb, Ali Bey Mosque built as a cornered mosque with a large courtyard, and Ilyas Bey Masjid with a fountain on the wall, can be seen. When you look up from the masjid, you can see Seyit Hoca Lodge/ Masjid dating back to 14th century. Flowing Vakvak Fountain and Vakvak Lodge are located at the next street to the masjid. You can view Manisa from this bird’s eye along the road. If you follow the road, you come across the historical Ulu Mosque. One of the oldest mosques in Manisa that overlooks the city, was built by command of Ishak Bey, the grandson of Saruhan Bey in 1366 by architect Emet bin Osman. Mosque’s pulpit is one of the rare examples of Turkish wood carving. Inside the structure, is the tomb of Ishak Bey as well as Çukur Bathhouse on the north-east of the mosque. There is a historical building on the road from Ulu Camii that leads to the ruins of Manisa Fortress, which is said to be a two-storeys high Mint. The remains of the fortress located at foots of Mount Spil, are in ruins. When you view the city from the Fortress, you feel like Manisa is under your feet. Ahead the road is Mevlevi Lodge and Sarabat Mosque. From Çukur Bathhouse, you will come across Göktaşlı Mosque, Dilşikar Hatun Mosque and Bathhouse and Hacı Osman Ağa (Fork) Mosque on the road.

As you walk towards city centre, you see Alaybeyi Mosque built in 1571 by Ferhat Aga. Just ahead is Hüsrev Aga Complex that has a mosque, bathhouse, tomb and a burial area within its structure. At the entrance of the mosque, there are two historical fountains and a magnificent bathhouse dating back to 1558, opposite of the mosque which is a part of the complex. There is also Nişan Pasha Mosque near this complex where mosque is located. On the mosque route, one of Manisa’s famous sultan mosques Hatıniye Mosque, and Manisa Government Office are located. Office was built in 1924-1925 by architect Rüstem Bakoğlu during Governor Müstak Lütfi Bey period. Hatuniye Mosque across the office was built in 1490 by command of Hüsnü Şah Hatun, the wife of Sultan Bayezid II. An exquisite example of the early Ottoman architecture, mosque’s minaret’s body is adorned with zigzag-shaped twists. Pulpit decorated with geometric carvings, is spectacular. To the right of the mosque  Hatunevi (Lady House) and Grand Vizier Translator Rüştü Pasha’s tomb are also located. On the backstreet of Hatuniye Mosque, when you take the right road at the junction, you see small shops where traces of the old bazaar are still preserved. Yeni Inn just ahead still preserves its splendour with its solemnity and beauty of the stone-masonry in its interior, and must be visited. In the area, there is also Taşçılar Masjid and tradesmen let sherbet flow from its fountain on Fridays. Polad Hacı Mehmet Aga Fountain is worth seeing with its two facades and decorations. Kurşunlu Inn draws attention with its historical fabric, magnificence and architectural texture right behind Hatuniye. Artisan bazaar set up around Cumhuriyet Bathhouse and Çeşnigir Mosque is ahead. From here, you should get to the yard of Çeşnigir Mosque to rest for a while and admire the aesthetic structure of the historical library in the mosque. There is also Rum Mehmet Paşa Covered Bazaar and Alaca Bathhouse in the vicinity  also referred to as craftsman park.

We have given some information about the historical sites at city centre and on Manisa route, you should visit the following after visiting these sites: the statue of “Manisa Tarzan” known as Turkey’s first environmentalist, and Aigai Ancient City must be visited. Agricultural products such as Sultaniye grape, Akhisar olive, Kırkağaç melon, grown on the fertile lands of Gediz plain should be tasted. Do not forget to buy mesir paste. Try Manisa kebab. The city centre should be viewed from Uncubozköy, located on the foots of Mount Spil. Again, at Spil, if you come across a Manisa Tulip at promenades, make sure to take a photo. You can explore the beauties of nature by hiking in the area, and can come across a jade. If you want

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TR Dergisi

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