Journey to the Land of th0e Lydians

Yapı Kredi’s Vedat Nedim Tör Museum is our address this month for a brief foray into the land of the Lydians, who discovered gold and invented money.

Ancient civilizations seem to like the Yapı Kredi Vedat Nedim Tör Museum. Three years ago Çatalhöyük settled in here with its pots and pans and houses. The current guests are the Lydians, who are strutting their stuff in a total of 245 artifacts representing their splendid civilization, culled mainly from Manisa Museum as well as from the Ankara Museum of the Anatolian Civilizations, the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, the Izmir Archaeological Museum, the museums of Ephesus, Ödemiş, Miletus and Gordion and the Vehbi Koç Sadberk Hanım Museum in Istanbul. Those not satisfied with this limited sampling, which runs through May 15th, can make their way to the Aegean region to see for themselves. For Sardis (also Sardes or Sardeis), capital of the Lydian kingdom, lies in the foothills of Bozdağ on the main roads into Anatolia from the coast.
The Lydians, whose first settlements in the region date to 5000 B.C., enjoyed a golden age between 680 and 547 B.C. Judging by early Greek sources, Sardis was known to be ‘rich in gold’, and the wealth of its king is the origin of the expression, ‘rich as Croesus’.  According to Greek and Roman legends, the presence of gold in the region was due to the Phrygian King Midas’s having bathed here. It was said of Midas that everything he touched turned to gold.

The Sardis excavations continue today in the town of Sart under the direction of
Prof. Dr. Nicholas Cahill and Prof. Dr. Crawford H. Greenwalt.

‘The Lydians and Their World’. At Yapı Kredi’s Vedat Nedim Tör Museum in Beyoğlu through May 15. For details: