The acropolis of Sardis is located at the southern edge of the very fertile Hermus River valley (now called Gediz River), at the foot of the mighty Tmolus Mountain range. The citadel of Sardis was built on a steep northern spur of the Tmolus Mountain, which rises 1,500 feet above the valley floor. Here we see the beginning of the steep path that leads up to the citadel which can be seen in the centre of the picture.
The special geological character of the Acropolis of Sardis proved to be its strength, but also its weakness. Parts of the Acropolis cliffs are so sheer and impregnable that the defenders didn’t always bother to posts guards there. The Acropolis was captured twice, first by Croesus and then by Cyrus. In both cases Sardis was conquered by secretly entering it at a place that was left unguarded.