Thyatira (Akhisar)

About Thyatira (Akhisar)

Thyatira was established by the Lydians, then conquered and settled by the Seleucids, integrated into the Kingdom of Pergamum, and finally became part of the Roman Republic and one of the major cities of Roman Asia Province.

Prosperous City in Ancient Times

Re-founded by King Seleucid I Nicator, the small city became a thriving commercial centre in the area, famous for its colouring and dye trade. It was the main exporter of purple cloth. Residents of the city became wealthy and began to build temples to pagan gods. It was home to many trade guilds that included coppersmiths, tanners, dyers, wool merchants, garment workers, bakers, potters and many more. Every artisan belonged to a guild and every guild possessed property in its own name. Each guild was accompanied by its patron gods and in many cases included immoral practices associated with pagan feasts. Faithful Christian craftsmen would have found it difficult to live out their faith and practise their craft.

The Church That Follows False Prophets

The church of Thyatira was the fourth of the Seven Churches that received a letter from Apostle John. The church was praised for having grown in faith and service. Yet, the church had allowed a false prophet to lead some members to commit idolatry and immorality.  The Lord was concerned about the congregation and wanted to see repentance and behavioural change.

Points of Interest

Today, all that can be seen of the ancient city are a few scattered ruins in the centre of modern-day Akhisar. However, numerous inscriptions and coins were discovered at the site.

Interesting Facts

  • The city was given the name Thyatira (meaning “daughter”) by King Seleucid I Nicator during the Hellenistic era when he was informed of the birth of his daughter.
  • Although Thyatira was once a garrison town, it had no proper acropolis from which to make a defence.
  • Thyatira was the hometown of Lydia, a seller of purple dye or purple cloth and was associated with Paul’s ministry in Philippi (Acts 16:14-15,40).

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