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Philadelphia was Located at an important road junction. Both the Royal Road between Smyrna and the East and the road southeast from Pergamum to Attalia on the Mediterranean coast passed through it. All east-west and north-south trade in the province of Asia passed through Philadelphia. Its position made it an outpost of Hellenism, founded to spread Greek language and culture in Lydia and Phrygia. Lacking an heir, Attalus III Philometer, the last of the Attalid kings, willed his kingdom, including Philadelphia, to his Roman allies upon his death in 133 BC. In 129 BC Rome established the province of Asia by combining Ionia and the former Kingdom of Pergamum.

Like other towns in the region, Philadelphia prospered through agriculture. The soil was suited to growing grapes. Wine was an important product, thus the city was a center of worship of Dionysus, god of wine and fertility. The flocks that grazed in the area supplied wool and hides for textiles and leather production. Philadelphia was easily defended but the surrounding district was disastrously earthquake prone. A massive earthquake in 17 AD completely ruined the city; the citizens lived in fear of aftershocks for years afterward.

There is not much to see from the early city. The site is now covered by modern Alasehir ("city of Allah" or God). The only extant remains are the old acropolis, ruins of a 7th century AD church, an unexcavated theater, and a length of the city walls and gate from the Byzantine era. Below, Google Earth view of modern Alasehir.

Google Earth view of modern Alasehir

Below, Overall view of modern Alasehir, successor to ancient Philadelphia.

modern AlaÅŸehir

Below, Low dark hill in the center is the area of the ancient city, at the foot of Bozdag (Mount Tmolus in antiquity).

Philadelphia acropolis surrounded by modern Alesehir

Below, Unexcavated theater on the northern foot of the acropolis of the ancient city.

Philadelphia unexcavated theater

Below, view of modern Alasehir, successor to ancient Philadelphia.

Alasehir View

Below, Sign identifying the remains of "St. Jean Kilisesi" (Turkish, "St. John Church").

sign with st. jean church

Below, tucked into a quaint neighborhood in the modern Alasehir is a city block, enclosed by a wall, containing the large piers of a Byzantine basilica, the church of St. John (c. 600 AD).

remains of St John church

st john church in alasehir

Scattered around the church site are small stone sarcophagi, headstones with Christian and Arabic inscriptions and other remains.

alasehir tombstone

Below, Typical multi-story buildings of modern Alasehir; population about 40,000.

Street in modern Alasehir

Below, Broken section of the Byzantine-era city walls, composed of rough stone blocks of coarse workmanship, recalling Strabo's reference to the ancient city's untrustworthy walls.

Section of the Byzantine wall