Manisa or Magnesia is located 50 KM North East of Izmir on the main Izmir Istanbul road, Manisa can also be reached from the main Izmir Otogar or by rail from Alsancak, Basmane or Karsiyaka rilway stations.
Set in a fertile plane and overlooked by Spil Dag (Mt. Sipylus), where the original loadstone was found, Manisa is both a modern day industrial city and an area rich in natural beauty and history. There is quite a lot to see in Manisa, it may be worth planning more than 1 trip.
At the foot of Spil Dag you will find Aglayan Kaya, alternatively known as the Weeping Rock or Niobe. Legend has it that Niobe, the daughter of Tantalus, boasted of here 7 sons and 7 daughters to Leto who in turn appealed to the gods for revenge as she herself had only 2 children (Apollo and Artemis). As a result all Niobe's children were killed and Niobe, heartbroken turned into stone and was destined to weep forever.
Carrying on up Spil Dag past Niobe you will first come to a toll gate where to the left there is a road leading to a restaurant and a Tekke (a lodge for the Whirling Dervishes) both are worth a visit. Now continue upwards for about 30 KM and you will eventually reach the Milli Park (National Park) This is a good place to visit any time of year and offers lodges for hire. The region is most colourful in Spring though when the area is covered in wild flora, Tulips, Orchids Peonies and many others, you may even spot wild horses roaming the hillside. You now have the option to turn back round and return to Izmir via Manisa or to continue over the mountain where eventually you will find the Main Izmir Ankara road for your return journey.
Another good idea would be to visit Manisa one Thursday as this is the market day. Market days throughout Turkiye all have a certain charm, but Manisa's Thursday market is a market on Steroids, it is impossible to list what is available, the freshest fruits and vegetables for sure but also a host of hand crafted goods you are almost certain to tire yourself out as you explore.
Another "must" when in Manisa is to enjoy a meal of delicious Manisa Kebab. This is a grilled kebab cooked on skewers and served on a bed of Pita Bread covered in yogurt, tomato and butter with a side order of fresh salad then washed down with local Ayran (butter milk) This is a delight for your tastebuds but it may be a bit a little unkind on your waistline nevertheless a must to try.