Sardis (modern Sart) is located 52 mi. [83 km]. inland (east) from Smyrna (Izmir) in the Hermus River valley. It was a connecting link with Asia to the east. It was the capital of the Lydian kingdom that was ruled by king Croesus (ca. 560–546 B.C.). Its economic base included trade, textiles, and especially gold - mined from the nearby Pactolus River. Croesus was defeated by Cyrus the Persian (546 B.C.) who later defeated Babylon (539 B.C.) and allowed the Jews to return to Judea (Ezra 1:1–4).
It was one of the seven churches addressed by John (Revelation 3:1–6).
Sardis has been under excavation for over one hundred years. Major structural finds include a synagogue, gymnasium, and a temple of Artemis (fourth largest in the ancient world, and one of the best preserved).