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General northern view of Mount Sipylus as seen from Manisa plain.
Manisa (Ottoman Turkish: ماغنيسا Manisa; Greek: Μαγνησία, Latin: Magnesia) is a large city in Turkeymarker's Aegean Region and the administrative seat of Manisa Provincemarker. Historically, the city was also called Magnesia, and more precisely as Magnesia ad Sipylummarker, by the name of the Mount Sipylus (Mount Spil) that towers over the city and was a city of importance starting with the Roman dominion, particularly after the 190 BC battle referred to under the city's name. The names "Sipylus" or "Sipylum" are also encountered in some sources, again in reference to the mountain and as abbreviated forms. Pliny the Elder, supported by other sources, mentions that formerly in the same place was a very celebrated city which was called "Tantalis" or "the city of Tantalus" whose ruins were still visible around his time .

Under Turkish rule, the name attached to the Beys of "Saruhan", who founded the Beylik which preceded the Ottomans in the region, has been officially used for the city and the region alternatively until the Republicanmarker period. In Ottoman times, many of the sons of sultans received their education in Manisa and the city is still commonly known as "the city of shahzades" (Şehzadeler şehri) in Turkey, a distinctive title it shares only with Amasyamarker and Trabzonmarker.

The English language root word "magnesia", from which the words "magnet" and "magnetism" and numerous other derivations were coined, as well as their equivalents in many other languages, derive from the city's name.

Main features

Modern Manisa is a booming center of industry and services, advantaged by its closeness to the international port city and the regional metropolitan center of İzmirmarker and by its fertile hinterland rich in quantity and variety of agricultural production. Formerly spreading out from the immediate slopes of the Mount Sipylus, Manisa's area of extension more than tripled in size across its vast plain in the last decade, with the construction of new block apartments, industrial zones and Celal Bayar Universitymarker campus.

In 2004/2005 Manisa was chosen among 200 contestants as the Most Cost-Effective European city by the FDi magazine's yearly round of votes to determine European Cities and Regions of the Future, its extremely low office and industrial rents and competitive labor costs having been particularly noted. Again for 2006/2007, Manisa was named among 89 European cities as the winner for the category for the Best Economic Potential in Europe, as runner-up for the categories Southern-Europe's City of the Future (winner for Turkey) and the Most Cost-Effective European city.
Manisa is also widely visited, especially during March and September festivals and for the nearby Mount Spil national park. It is also a departure point for other visitor attractions of international acclaim which are located nearby within Manisa's depending region, such as Sardesmarker and Alaşehirmarker (ancient Philadelphia).

İzmir's proximity also adds a further dimension to all aspects of life's pace in Manisa in the form of a dense traffic of daily commuters between the two cities, separated as they are by a half-hour drive served by a fine six-lane highway nevertheless requiring attention at all times due to its curves and the rapid ascent (sea-level to more than 500 meters at Sabuncubeli Pass) across Mount Sipylus's mythic scenery.

History

Prehistory

Traces of prehistory in the Manisa region, although few in number, nevertheless include two very interesting finds that shed much light on western Anatoliamarker's past. The first are the fossilized footprints, numbering more than fifty and dated to around 20.000-25.000 BC, discovered in 1969 by MTA, Turkey's state body for mineral exploration, in Sindel village near Manisa's depending district of Salihlimarker and referred to under that village's name. Some of these footprints are on display today in Manisa Museum while their site of origin of Sindel, where there are also prehistoric paintings, will reportedly become Turkey's first geopark through a joint project with the European Commissionmarker.

The second finds are tombs contemporaneous with Troy IImarker (3000-2500 BC) and found in the village of Yortan near Kırkağaçmarker district center, north of Manisa. Original burial practices observed in these sepulchres led scholars to the definition of a "Yortan culture" in Anatolia's prehistory, many of whose aspects remain yet to be explored .

Hittites, Phrygians and Lydians

Central and southern parts of western Anatolia entered history with the still obscure kingdom of Arzawa, probably offshoots, as well as neighbors and, after around 1320 BCE, vassals of the Hittites. Cybele monument located on the northern flank of Mount Sipylus, at a distance of 7 km from Manisa on the road to Turgutlumarker is, along with Kemalpaşamarker's King of Mira rock relief and written records found in cuneiform tablets concerning Miletmarker (Hittite Milawata), among the principal evidence of extension of Hittite control and influence in western Anatolia. Cybele monument by itself represents a step of innovation in Hittite art where full-faced figures in high relief are rare.

The first millennium BC saw the emergence, blended with myths, of "Meonians" , Phrygians and Lydians. Lydians attained statehood in the 7th century BC and expanded their control over a large part of Anatoliamarker, centered in their capital "Sfardmarker" (Sard, Sardesmarker, Sardismarker) situated more inland at a distance of 62 km from Manisa. The vestiges which reached our day from their capital bring together remains from several successive civilizations.
Legends surrounding such semi-legendary figures like the local ruler Tantalus, his son Pelops, his daughter Niobe, the departure of a sizable part of the region's population from their shores to found, according to one account, the future Etruscan civilizationmarker in present-day Italymarker, are all centered around Mount Sipylus, where the first urban settlement was probably located, date from the period of "proto-Lydians". It has been suggested that the mountain could be the geographical setting for Baucis and Philemon tale as well, while most sources still usually associate it with Tyanamarker (Hittite Tuwanuwa) in modern-day Kemerhisar near Niğdemarker .

Hellenistic and Roman periods

In Classical antiquity, the city was known as Magnesia ad Sipylummarker and played an important role in the history of the epoch by being the place where, in 190 BC, Antiochus the Great was defeated in the Battle of Magnesia by the Roman Empire. It became a city of importance under the Roman dominion and, though nearly destroyed by an earthquake in the reign of Tiberius, was restored by that emperor and flourished through the Roman empire.

Turkish era

Manisa came under Turkish rule with its capture in 1313 by the Beylik of Saruhan, led by the Bey of the same name who had started out as a tributary of the Seljuks and who reigned until 1346. His sons held the region until 1390, when the first incorporation of their lands into the expanding Ottoman state took place. After a brief interval caused by the Ottoman interregnum after the Battle of Ankara, Manisa and its surroundings definitely became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1410.

The city remained prosperous and developed steadily, especially as of the mid-15th century. As the central town of the Ottoman Empire's Saruhan province, the city's development was enhanced particularly by its choice as the training ground for shahzades (crown princes), and it stood out as one of the wealthiest parts of the Empire with many examples of Ottoman architecture built. In a practice started by Murad II in 1437, fifteen members of the Ottoman dynasty, including two among the most notable, namely Mehmed II and Süleyman I, held the administration of the city and of its dependencies in seventeen near-continuous periods until 1595. Although the sanjak of Saruhan officially depended the eyalet of Anadolu with its seat in Kütahyamarker, a large degree of autonomy was left to the princes for them to acquire the experience of government. This practice was discontinued in 1595, largely due to the growing insecurity in the countryside, precursor of Jelali Revolts, and a violent earthquake dealt a severe blow to the Manisa region's prosperity the same year.

Around 1700, Manisa counted about 2,000 taxpayers and 300 pious foundations (vakıf) shops, was renowned for its cotton markets and a type of leather named after the city. Large parts of the population had begun settling and becoming sedentary and the city was a point of terminus for caravans from the east, with İzmir's growth still in its early stages . But already during the preceding century, influent western merchants such as Orlando, often in pact with local warlords such as Cennetoğlu, a brigand (sometimes cited as one of the first in line in western Anatolia's long tradition of efes to come) who in the 1620s had assembled a vast company of disbanded Ottoman soldiers and renegades and established control over much of the fertile land around Manisa, had triggered a movement of more commercially sensitive Greek and Jewish populations towards the port city .

Architectural landmarks

Example of civil architecture -1930s- in Manisa.
The 16th century Sultan Mosquemarker was built for Ayşe Hafsa Sultan, Süleyman the Magnificent's mother. In her honor, Mesir Festival (featuring "The Mesir Paste" (Tr. Mesir Macunu), a spiced paste in the form of candy, and claimed to restore health, youth and potency, also known in recent years as the "Turkish Viagra") is held every year in March, in the grounds of this mosque.

The mosque is part of a large külliye -a religious complex- among whose buildings the hospital "darüşşifa" is particularly notable. Specialized in mental diseases, the medical center was in activity until the beginning of the 20th century when new buildings were built within the same compound. That Turkey's only two institutions specialized on mental health were until recently located in İstanbul district of Bakırköymarker and in Manisa gave way in Turkey's public lore to gentle innuendos on the challenging spirit of the natives - Manisalı.
One such likeable eccentric of the 20th century was Ahmet Bedevi, the Tarzan of Manisa, a figure who became a symbol for the city by greatly contributing to raising consciousness for protection of the environment across the country, and by preserving and enriching Mount Sipylus's forests almost single-handed.

The Muradiye Mosque of the 16th century was built by the great architect Sinan (and completed by Sedefhar Mehmet Ağa), and the Murad Bey Medresse now houses the Archaeological Museum of Manisa.

Manisa celebrates the Vintage Festival every September, when the fruits of the vineyards are celebrated. The vineyards surround the city and provide dry fruit for exportfrom İzmirmarker, and grapes for wine making.

Modern Manisa

Nr. of persons
employed by enterprise
Nr. of enterprises
in the employment segment
Total employed
by enterprise segment
Manisa Province 694 total 44.449 total
0-9 235 1.530
10-19 137 1.867
20-49 186 6.319
50-249 99 9.958
249 and more 37 24.775
Manisa and some of its depending district centers have succeeded in solidly clinching an industrial production base in recent decades, in this supported both initially and continuously by the century-old wide-scale agricultural processing and related activities (production of flour and olive oil, basic textiles, leather goods, agricultural tools and instruments, cotton ginning).

According to the figures published by the Governorship, 694 companies in Manisa Province out of the province's total number of companies of 5.502 for 2007 are certified industrial enterprises and these employ a total of 44.449 people. Within the 694, Manisa center is in the lead with 238 enterprises engaged in industrial production, with the depending centers of Turgutlumarker (125 industrial enterprises), Akhisarmarker (100), Salihlimarker (78) closely contending, and Saruhanlımarker (33), Alaşehirmarker (30), Kulamarker (28), Demircimarker (20) and Soma (17) following .

Among leading industrial activities Manisa companies are engaged in are production of foodstuffs (196 companies), building materials (114), metal goods (85), as well as textile industry and clothing industry (46) and cotton ginning (43). The highest numbers of workforce are concentrated in electronics/electrical appliances, foodstuffs and construction industries.

The choice of Manisa as production base in the eighties by the Turkish consumer electronics and white goods giant Vestel was an important boost for the present-day level of sophistication. Today Manisa's economic activities are far from being confined to a sole company. Manisa registered roughly 200m US Dollars in FDI in 2004 and well-known businesses such as Italianmarker white goods company Indesit, Germanmarker electrical goods company Bosch, UKmarker packaging company Rexam and Imperial Tobacco of the UK have invested in Manisa.

The city also has a football team, Vestel Manisaspor, which plays in the Turkish Premier Super League under the home colors of red and white and away colors of black and white. Manisaspor's home ground is the Manisa 19 Mayis Stadimarker.
Park in Manisa

Notable natives

Early period

Greco-Roman period

  • Pausanias (possibly) - Greek traveller, geographer, and writer of the 2nd century AD

Saruhan-Ottoman period

Turkish Republic

See also



International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Manisa is twinned with:

Footnotes



Manisa train station

Sources



External links




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