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Ala-Shehr

ALA-SHEHR (anc. Philadelphia), a town of Asia Minor, in the Aidin vilayet, situated in the valley of the Kuzu Chai (Cogamus), at the foot of the Boz Dagh (Mt. Tmolus) 83 m. E. of Smyrna (105 by railway). Pop. 22,000 (Moslems, 17,000; Christians, 5000). Philadelphia was founded by Attalus II. of Pergamum about 150 B.C., became one of the "Seven Churches" of Asia, and was called "Little Athens" on account of its festivals and temples. It was subject to frequent earthquakes. Philadelphia was an independent neutral city, under the influence of the Latin Knights of Rhodes, when taken in . 1390 by Sultan Bayezid I. and an auxiliary Christian force

under the emperor Manuel II. after a prolonged resistance, when all the other cities of Asia Minor had surrendered. Twelve years later it was captured by Timur, who built a wall with the corpses of his prisoners. A fragment of the ghastly structure is in the library of Lincoln cathedral. The town is connected by railway with Afium-Kara-Hissar and Smyrna. It is dirty and ill-built; but, standing on elevated ground and commanding the extensive and fertile plain of the Hermus, presents at a distance an imposing appearance. It is the seat of an archbishop and has several mosques and Christian churches. There are small industries and a fair trade. From one of the mineral springs comes a heavily charged water known in commerce as "Eau de Vals," and in great request in Smyrna.

See W. M. Ramsay, Letters to the Seven Ghurches (Ioo4).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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