It is not exactly known when or by whom Manisa, which is situated in Western Anatolia, was founded in the region that was called Lydia in antiquity. However, it is believed that the history of the city dates back to 2000 B.C. and the first settlement in city, Tantalis, located in where is Yarıkkaya today, which is seven kilometers to the east of the modern city, was destroyed during the migration movements in the early 7th century B.C., after which a new city named Sipylos emerged at the same location.
Viticulture has been known to exist in the Manisa plain since 2000 B.C. Commercial activity in weaving, leather products and agricultural produce trade reached its zenith in the 16th and 17th centuries. Leather trade was a particularly significant area of activity in Manisa. Leather was a material needed both by the people and the army as it was used to make shoes, harnesses for horses, whips, and flasks. Leather was processed in tanneries and the artisans who processed the leather were called debbağ. In Manisa, welt, tanned white leather, saffian, and tanned yellow leather were produced, and Manisa saffian was on par with İstanbul saffian.
A textile mill built in Hereke in 1843 was expanded in 1891 with the addition of a carpet section by craftsmen brought from Manisa and Sivas, which demonstrates that carpet making was highly developed in Manisa. The beating heart of commerce in the city was the Manisa bazaar. The bazaar was in the area surrounded by Hatuniye Mosque, Çeşnigir Mosque, Alaca Bath, Kurşunlu Han and Yeni Han. Saddlers, leather shops, felt makers, aba sellers, dried fruit and nut sellers, cotton sellers, fur makers, and hat makers were all located in this bazaar. In 1575, there were more than 500 stores in the complex, including 235 owned by foundations.
In Manisa, husbandry was also a highly developed area of economic activity. Thousands of herds fed off sheep breeding areas in the Balıkesir, Manisa, Aydın and Bursa plateaus. In the 19th century, industry and commerce, which started to develop and sought markets in foreign countries, chose İzmir as its center, and the railroad connecting Manisa to İzmir led to Manisa losing its former economic vibrancy and importance.
It was during the times when Ottoman princes served as governors, that Manisa not only became a center of knowledge and learning but also witnessed the height of reconstruction activity. The historic cultural heritage we witness in Manisa today are all products of this period of boom. The Ottoman works in Manisa reflect the mood, grandeur, steady character of the era still in their original vitality, beauty and greatness.