Sardes was an important ancient city and capital of the kingdom of Lydia, located in western Anatolia, present-day Sartmustafa, Manisa province in western Turkey. Its strategic location made it a central point connecting the interior of Anatolia to the Aegean coast. During its history, control of Sardes changed many times, but it always kept a high status among cities.
Around 612 BCE, the greatest city in the world at that time, Nineveh, was besieged and sacked by an allied army of Persians, Medes, rebelling Chaldeans, and Babylonians, putting an end to the Assyrian Empire. This event shaped a new political map: Babylon became the imperial centre of Mesopotamia and the kingdom of Lydia became the dominant power in western Anatolia with Sardes as its capital.
The life of Sardes began as a hilltop citadel where the king of Lydia lived. The city developed into a two part town: the lower town, located along the banks of the Pactolus river, where the ordinary citizens lived, and the upper town for the wealthy citizens, royal members, and the palace. Herodotus wrote that the lower town was a modest place with many of its houses made of reeds from the river and with no surrounding wall.