Alaşehir (Turkish pronunciation: [aˈɫaʃehiɾ]) is a municipality and district of Manisa Province, Turkey.[2] Its area is 971 km2,[3] and its population is 104,717 (2022).[1] It is situated in the valley of the Kuzuçay (Cogamus in antiquity), at the foot of the Bozdağ Mountain (Mount Tmolus in antiquity). The town is connected to İzmir by a 105 km (65 mi) railway.

Map showing Alaşehir District in Manisa Province
Map showing Alaşehir District in Manisa Province
Alaşehir is located in Turkey
Location in Turkey
Alaşehir is located in Turkey Aegean
Alaşehir (Turkey Aegean)
Coordinates: 38°21′N 28°31′E / 38.350°N 28.517°E / 38.350; 28.517
971 km2 (375 sq mi)
 • Density110/km2 (280/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+3 (TRT)
Area code0236

Founded in antiquity as Philadelphia (Greek: Φιλαδέλφεια, i.e., "the city of him who loves his brother"), the town was known as such until it was conquered by the Ottomans in 1390.

Alaşehir stands on elevated ground commanding the extensive and fertile plain of the Gediz River (Hermus in antiquity), presenting an imposing appearance when seen from a distance. It has about 45 mosques. There are small industries and a fair trade. From one of the mineral springs comes a heavily charged water popular around Turkey.[4]

Within Turkey, the city's name is synonymous with the dried Sultana raisins, although cultivation for the fresh fruit market, less labour-intensive than the dried fruit, has gained prominence in recent decades. As Philadelphia, Alaşehir was a highly important center in the Early Christian and Byzantine periods. It remained a strong center of Orthodox Christianity until the early 20th century,[5] and remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.[6]



The Turkish name Alaşehir, which translates as "multicolored town", is first attested in the memoir of the 13th-century historian Ibn Bibi.[7] The town was founded by King Attalus II Philadelphus (r. 159–138 BC) of Pergamon with the Greek name "Philadelphia".[7][8] According to numismatic evidence, Philadelphia was briefly given the Latin name "Neocaesarea" during the reigns of the Roman emperors Caligula (r. 37–41) and Claudius (r. 41–54).[9] The town reverted to its original name Philadelphia after Claudius, but under Emperor Vespasian (r. 69–79), the town used the Latin appellation Flavia to honor the imperial house (i.e. "Flavia Philadelphia").[10] The town remained known as Philadelphia until the Ottoman conquest in 1390.[11]



Philadelphia was historically located in Lydia near the northeast foot of Mount Tmolus (modern-day Bozdağ) in the rich valley of the Cogamis river, which was a southern tributary of the Hermus River (modern-day Gediz).[8][9] It was located in southern Catacecaumene, on the road connecting Sardis and Laodicea. Philadelphia was well known for its vulnerability to earthquakes.[9]


Church of St John, Philadelphia (Alaşehir)

Ancient episcopal sees of the late Roman province of Lydia are listed in the Annuario Pontificio as titular sees:[12]

Ancient Philadelphia


Alaşehir began as perhaps one of the first ancient cities with the name Philadelphia. It was established in 189 BC by King Eumenes II of Pergamon (197–160 BC). Eumenes II named the city for the love of his brother, who would be his successor, Attalus II (159–138 BC), whose loyalty earned him the nickname, "Philadelphos", literally meaning "one who loves his brother". The city is perhaps best known as the site of one of the seven churches of Asia in the Book of Revelation.[13]

Lacking an heir, Attalus III Philometer, the last of the Attalid kings of Pergamum, bequeathed his kingdom, including Philadelphia, to his Roman allies when he died in 133 BC. Rome established the province of Asia in 129 BC by combining Ionia and the former Kingdom of Pergamon.[14]

St. Jean Church, carved stone slab lying on the floor in Alaşehir

Roman Philadelphia


Philadelphia was in the administrative district of Sardis (Pliny NH 5.111). In AD 17, the city suffered badly in an earthquake, and Roman Emperor Tiberius relieved it of having to pay taxes (Tacitus Annales 2.47, cf. Strabo 12.8.18, 13.4.10, John Lydus de mensibus 4.115). In response, the city granted honors to Tiberius. Evidence from coinage reveals that Caligula helped the city; under Vespasian, Philadelphia received his cognomen, Flavia. Under Caracalla, Philadelphia housed an imperial cult. Its coins bore the word Neokoron (literally, "temple-sweeper", caretaker of the temple). A small theatre, located at the northern edge of Toptepe Hill, is all that remains of Roman Philadelphia.

St. Jean Church, carved stone slab lying on the floor in Alaşehir

Philadelphia in the Book of Revelation


Although several ancient cities bore the name of Philadelphia,[15] it is generally agreed to be the one listed among the seven churches written to by John in the Book of Revelation.[16] Philadelphia is listed as the sixth church of the seven. A letter specifically addressed to the Philadelphian church is recorded in Revelation 3:7–13 (Revelation 3:9). The city's history of earthquakes may lie behind the reference to making her church "a pillar in the temple" (Revelation 3:12).[citation needed]

Aside from the fact that Smyrna was warned of temptation lasting "ten days", and Philadelphia was promised a total exemption, or preservation, from temptation, Philadelphia shares with Smyrna the distinction of receiving nothing but praise from Christ. That explains why modern Protestant churches sometimes use "Philadelphia" as a component in the local church's name as a way of emphasizing its faithfulness.[citation needed]

Philadelphia in Patristic literature


Philadelphia remained a major Christian center also after the New Testament period. One of Ignatius of Antioch's epistles in early 2nd century was addressed to the Christians of that city.

Byzantine Philadelphia


Philadelphia was a prosperous Byzantine city that was called the "little Athens" in the 6th century AD because of its festivals and temples.[17] Presumably, that indicates that the city was not entirely converted to Christianity. Ammia, the Christian prophetess, was from Philadelphia, however.[18] In about 600, the domed Basilica of St. John was built, remains of which are the main archaeological attraction in the modern city. The Byzantine walls that once surrounded the city have all but crumbled away. A few remnants are still visible at the northeast edge of town, near the bus stand. The city was taken by the Seljuk Turks in 1074 and 1093–1094. In 1098, during the First Crusade, it was recovered by Byzantine Emperor Alexios I. In the 11th to the 15th centuries AD, it was the seat of the doux (governor) and stratopedarches (military commander) of the Thrakesion theme.

It was the centre of several revolts against ruling Byzantine emperors: in 1182, led by John Komnenos Vatatzes, and 1188–1205 or 1206, led by Theodore Mangaphas, a local Philadelphian, against Isaac II Angelos. At that time, the bishopric of Philadelphia was promoted to metropolis.[19] In the 14th century, Philadelphia was made the metropolis of Lydia by the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, a status that it still holds. It was granted this honour because the city did not capitulate to the Ottomans. The city was prosperous especially in the 13th and 14th centuries: there was a Genoese trading colony, and the city was an important producer of leather goods and red-dyed silk (whence, perhaps, its Turkish name, which probably means "red city").[20] By the 14th century, the city was surrounded by Ottoman emirates but maintained nominal allegiance to the Byzantine emperor. The city remained prosperous through trade and its strategic location.

Philadelphia was an independent neutral city under the influence of the Latin Knights of Rhodes, when it was taken in 1390 by Bayezid I. Prior to Bayezid I's conquest, it was the last Byzantine Greek stronghold in Asia Minor.[7][9] Twelve years later, it was captured by Timur, who built a wall with the corpses of his prisoners.[4] Later, it passed into the rule of Junayd until it was ultimately captured by Murad II.[21]

Modern period


From 1867 until 1922, Alaşehir was part of the Aidin Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. In 1890, its population consisted of 17,000 Muslims and 4,000 Greeks according to Vital Cuinet.[7] Through the end of the Greco-Turkish War, Alaşehir was severely affected by a fire that broke out. Patrick Kinross wrote, "Alaşehir was no more than a dark scorched cavity, defacing the hillside. Village after village had been reduced to an ash-heap."[22] It is estimated that some 3,000 people died, and 4,300 out of 4,500 buildings were destroyed in the burning of Alaşehir.[23]

A suburb of Athens, Nea Filadelfia ("New Philadelphia"), is named from the Greek refugees from Alaşehir (in Greek known as "Philadelphia") who settled there following the war and the population exchange between Greece and Turkey of 1923.

The city was the site of the Alaşehir Congress in 1919.

In 1969, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck the city and killed 53 people.[24]

Archaeological remains


For survey of remains see Erdoğan (2015).[25]



There are 87 neighbourhoods in Alaşehir District:[26]

  • Akkeçili
  • Alhan
  • Aydoğdu
  • Azıtepe
  • Badınca
  • Bahadır
  • Bahçedere
  • Bahçeliköy
  • Baklacı
  • Barış
  • Belenyaka
  • Beşeylül
  • Caberburhan
  • Caberfakılı
  • Caberkonaklı
  • Çağlayan
  • Çakırcaali
  • Çamlıbel
  • Çarıkbozdağ
  • Çarıkkaralar
  • Çarıktekke
  • Çeşneli
  • Dağarlar
  • Dağhacıyusuf
  • Delemenler
  • Erenköy
  • Esentepe
  • Evrenli
  • Fatih
  • Girelli
  • Göbekli
  • Gülenyaka
  • Gülpınar
  • Gümüşçay
  • Gürsu
  • Hacıbey
  • Hacıhaliller
  • Horzumalayaka
  • Horzumembelli
  • Horzumkeserler
  • Horzumsazdere
  • Ilgın
  • Ilıca
  • Işıklar
  • İsmailbey
  • İsmetiye
  • İstasyon
  • Karacalar
  • Karadağ
  • Kasaplı
  • Kavaklıdere
  • Kemaliye
  • Kestanederesi
  • Killik
  • Kozluca
  • Kurtuluş
  • Kurudere
  • Matarlı
  • Menderes
  • Narlıdere
  • Örencik
  • Örnekköy
  • Osmaniye
  • Piyadeler
  • Şahyar
  • Sakarya
  • Sarıpınar
  • Sarısu
  • Selce
  • Serinköy
  • Serinyayla
  • Şeyhsinan
  • Sobran
  • Soğanlı
  • Soğuksu
  • Soğukyurt
  • Subaşı
  • Tepeköy
  • Toygarlı
  • Türkmen
  • Uluderbent
  • Üzümlü
  • Yeni
  • Yenice
  • Yeniköy
  • Yeşilyurt
  • Yuvacalı

Notable people from Alaşehir


Notable bishops

Church of St. John.
Greek-Orthodox metropolises in Asia Minor, c. 1880.

Philadelphia remains the seat of the Metropolis of Philadelphia,[27] which has been a titular see since the Greco-Turkish population exchange.

Although the Philadelphia area was an Orthodox area, the Roman Catholic Church have maintained a rival titular bishop of Philadelphia since the 1500s.[28] Catholic bishops have included:

  • Bernardo Jordán, (14 Apr 1535 Appointed – 1539)
  • Philippe Musnier (15 Jun 1545 –)
  • Marcus Lyresius (8 Jan 1603 Appointed – 28 Jun 1611)
  • Georg Christoph Rösch (16 Jul 1612 Appointed – 30 Nov 1634)
  • Michael Dalmeras (23 Oct 1623 Appointed – 13 Dec 1629)
  • William Giles (9 Sep 1904 Appointed – 28 Jul 1913)
  • Domenico Pasi (9 Sep 1913 Appointed – 15 Dec 1919)
  • Francis Vazhapilly (7 Apr 1921 Appointed – 21 Dec 1923)
  • Agnello Renzullo (11 Apr 1924 Appointed – 20 Oct 1925 )
  • Luigi Mazzini (24 Jun 1926 Appointed – 13 Dec 1950 Died)
  • Pietro Zuccarino (5 Jan 1951 Appointed – 29 Nov 1953)
  • João de Deus Ramalho, (9 Dec 1953 Appointed – 25 Feb 1958 )
  • Augustin Arce Mostajo (22 May 1958 Appointed – 26 Nov 1970)

See also



  1. ^ a b "Address-based population registration system (ADNKS) results dated 31 December 2022, Favorite Reports" (XLS). TÜİK. Retrieved 12 July 2023.
  2. ^ Büyükşehir İlçe Belediyesi, Turkey Civil Administration Departments Inventory. Retrieved 12 July 2023.
  3. ^ "İl ve İlçe Yüz ölçümleri". General Directorate of Mapping. Retrieved 12 July 2023.
  4. ^ a b   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ala-Shehr". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 472.
  5. ^ Philadelphia, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915).
  6. ^ Pétridès, S. (1913). "Philadelphia" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  7. ^ a b c d Berger, Albrecht (2010). "Alaşehir". In Fleet, Kate; Krämer, Gudrun; Matringe, Denis; Nawas, John; Rowson, Everett (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam (3rd ed.). Brill Online. ISSN 1873-9830.
  8. ^ a b Habicht, C. (1989). "The Seleucids and their rivals". In Astin, A. E.; Walbank, F. W.; Frederiksen, M. W.; Ogilvie, R. M. (eds.). The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume VIII: Rome and the Mediterranean to 133 B.C. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 376. ISBN 978-0-5212-3448-1.
  9. ^ a b c d Olshausen, Eckhart (2006). "Philadelphia". In Salazar, Christine F.; Landfester, Manfred; Gentry, Francis G. (eds.). Brill's New Pauly. Brill Online.
  10. ^ Brent, Allen (1999). The Imperial Cult and the Development of Church: Order Concepts and Images of Authority in Paganism and Early Christianity Before the Age of Cyprian. Brill. p. 188.
  11. ^ Gibb, H. A. R.; Kramers, J. H.; Lévi-Provençal, E.; Schacht, J.; Lewis, B. & Pellat, Ch., eds. (1960). "Ala S̲h̲ehir". The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Volume I: A–B. Leiden: E. J. Brill. p. 346. OCLC 495469456.
  12. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), "Sedi titolari", pp. 819-1013
  13. ^ Revelation 1:11
  14. ^   Smith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Asia". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.
  15. ^ W. M. Ramsay, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia (1904), p. 391-412.
  16. ^ Revelation 1:11
  17. ^ Lydus de mensibus 4.58
  18. ^ Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 5.17.
  19. ^ Kiminas, Demetrius (2009). The Ecumenical Patriarchate. Wildside Press LLC. p. 89. ISBN 9781434458766.
  20. ^ I. Beldiceanu-Steinherr, "Notes pour l'histoire d'Alaşehir (Philadelphie) au XIVe siècle." In H. Ahrweiler, 1984, Philadelphie et autres études. Byzantina Sorbonensia 4. Centre de recherches d'histoire et de civilisation byzantines. Paris, p. 33
  21. ^ "ALAŞEHİR Ege bölgesinde Manisa iline bağlı ilçe merkezi.". TDV Encyclopedia of Islam (44+2 vols.) (in Turkish). Istanbul: Turkiye Diyanet Foundation, Centre for Islamic Studies. 1988–2016.
  22. ^ Kinross, Lord (1960). Atatürk: The Rebirth of a Nation. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 318. ISBN 978-0-297-82036-9.
  23. ^ Mango, Atatürk, p. 343.
  24. ^ "M 6.7 - 9 km WSW of Kula, Turkey". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  25. ^ Orçun Erdoğan, "The Remains from Late Antiquity and the East Roman Periods and Their Location within the Lydian City of Philadelphia: New Comments," Mediterranean Journal of Humanities 5/2 (2015): 251-274.
  26. ^ Mahalle, Turkey Civil Administration Departments Inventory. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  27. ^ Kiminas, Demetrius (2009). The Ecumenical Patriarchate. Wildside Press. p89.
  28. ^ Philadelphia at


  • The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia And their place in the plan of the Apocalypse, W. M. Ramsay, D.C.L, Litt.D., LL.D., Professor of Humanity in the University of Aberdeen, 1904