Near Sart in Salihli (district), Manisa, Turkey
Synagogue - Main Hall
Apse and Benches
The curved wall of the apse was once pierced by three niches and two vaulted passageways. The openings were later blocked and the wall covered with bands of white and colored marble. Three tiers of marble-covered benches provided seats for synagogue elders. A high brick semidome originally covered the area.
The semicircular floor mosaic within the apse was a gift of two brothers. Stratoneikianos and Synphoros Flavius, whose names are inscribed in the central wreath. Vines growing from a central urn resemble decor of the forecourt. Images of flanking peacocks were removed in late antiquity. The original mosaic is in the Manisa Museum.
Excavation of the main hall found hundreds of pieces of cut marble, in many shapes and colors, known as opus sectile or skoutlosis. These pieces were once mounted on the walls in panels of marble inlay. The geometric patterns are similar topatterns in the floor mosaics. Pieces for floral designs and images of a camel, birds, and fish were also found. New inlay pieces were used in the restoration on the
The inscription above the inlay panels (replica) records: "I with my wife Regina and our children (in fulfillment of a vow) executed from the gifts of almighty God all the skoutlosis of the (section of wall?) and the painting (of the ceiling or upper wall)."
Wall Decoration in the Main Hall
The installation of marble wall decoration probably continued from the late 4th to the 6th century. The work took several generations to complete. Many names of donors are inscribed in Greek on marble plaques; two such donor inscriptions are restored. Many of the donors held the honorary title "citizen of Sardis." Several donors are identified as city councilors or holders of other government offices.
Excavations at the east end of the main hall identified the remains of two shrines that stood between the doors from the forecourt. These shrines probably housed the Torah, scrolls of the Hebrew bible.
Tables and Lions
Torah scrolls probably were carried from the shrines at the east end of the hall and read from this huge marble table near the apse. The table and the lions that stand guard are older than the synagogue itself; they were moved from their original locations and set up here. The table supports, depicting eagles clutching thunderbolts in their talons, and the paired lions are replicas;
Bema or Baldachin?
The mosaic inscription at the center of the main hall records the gift of a "priest and teacher of wisdom." Four stone bases around this panel supported slender columns or pillars, probably marking the place where the teacher stood.
Erected by The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Republic of Turkey, and the Harvard Art Museums and Cornell University.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Churches & Religion.
Location. 38° 29.285′ N, 28° 2.417′ E. Marker is near Sart, Manisa, in Salihli (district). Marker can be reached from Kenan Evren Cd. just east of Sart Yolu, on the left when traveling east. This marker is on the grounds of the Sardis Archaeological Park, near the Roman Bath-Gymnasium and affixed to the inside walls of the Synagogue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sart, Manisa 45370, Turkey. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bath-Gymnasium Complex (a few steps from this marker); (Yakub'un) Boya Dükkáni / (Jacob's) Paint Shop (within shouting distance of this marker); Mesken / Residence (within shouting distance of this marker); Synagogue Forecourt (within shouting distance of this marker); Synagogue Roman Avenue (within shouting distance of this marker); Lokantalar / Restaurants (within shouting distance of this marker); Boya Dükkán / Paint Shop (about 90 meters away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sart.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 30, 2018. It was originally submitted on June 28, 2018, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page has been viewed 76 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 28, 2018, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on June 30, 2018, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.