The ancient Lydian capital of Sardis, Turkey, 205 mi/330 km southwest of Istanbul, is where the process for minting coins was developed.

It's also the site of one of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor (usually seen as a half-day tour from Izmir).

Attractions include the Ionic Temple of Artemis, a restored Roman gymnasium and a fourth-century-BC synagogue that is said to have been the largest in the ancient world.

Sardis can be easily reached by bus or train from Izmir, Manisa and other nearby cities. Just ask the conductor to let you off in Sart Town, as the area is locally known.

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