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Sardis (modern Sart) was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia and home King Croesus (560-546 BC), famous for his wealth.
Liberated from the Persians by Alexander the Great in c.340 BC, Sardis became a Greek city with an impressive Temple of Artemis. In the Roman era, the temple was expanded and used also for the imperial cult, and a huge bath-gymnasium complex was built.
Ancient Sardis had a very large and prosperous Jewish community, which produced the largest ancient synagogue outside of Palestine. Christianity arrived in the 1st century AD and Sardis was one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Sardis now lies entirely in ruins and is an archaeological site in the village of Sartmahmut with ongoing excavations.
The Temple of Artemis in Sardis was the fourth largest Ionic temple in the world. Originally built in 300 BC by the ancient Greeks, the temple was renovated by the Romans in the 2nd century AD. During the Roman period it served also as a temple of the imperial cult.
The synagogue discovered at Sardis dates from the 3rd century AD. At that time, the Jewish community was wealthy and Jews held seats on the city council and important offices in the Roman civil administration. The ruins of the synagogue include splendid mosaic floors, some walls and columns, and over 80 Greek and seven Hebrew inscriptions.