Manisa is in the Aegean Region of Turkey. Rising near Gediz district of Kütahya and running to the West through a narrow channel, Gediz River encircles the province in its basin by running through Manisa from east to west. It can be said that the region owes being a prominent center throughout the history in part to fertile plains formed by Gediz River by alluvial deposits carried in its waters. In this respect, it might be said, in a sense, that Gediz is the most important river creating Manisa.
Mount Spil, upon the north mountainsides of which the city is settled, is among land forms that comes to mind when you speak of Manisa. City center is established in a central sence in between Gediz River in north and Mount Spil on its southern side. Bakırçay, originating from eastern mountainsides of Gölcük Mountains and passing near Soma, is one of the prominent streams of Manisa. Other streams within provincial borders of Manisa are Alaşehir, Selendi, Demirci, Deliniş, Gördes and Kum streams. Built on the streamline of Gediz River, Demirköprü Dam is the most important dam within borders of the province, where electric power production, as well as flood control and irrigation, is provided. An earth-fill core type dam, Demirköprü Dam generates 193 GWh electric power production annually, and provides irrigation service to an area of 99.220 hectares. Avşar, Sevişler and Gördes dams are other dams within the borders of the province.
There is also a natural lake with the name Marmara in the province, along with these four dams. Marmara Lake, an alluvial dam lake, is within borders of Gölmarmara, named after the lake, and Salihli districts. Especially famous for aquatic birds it hosts, the lake has become an international preservation area for this feature. Despite not having a coast, Manisa is the province situated at the closest position to the sea in the Aegean Region. The province, settling in central and northern parts of the Aegean Region, can be considered as one geographically divided into two with parts remaining in the Aegean Region and West Anatolia Region.
With respect to administrative boundaries, the province is surrounded by Balıkesir, Kütahya, Uşak Denizli, Aydın and İzmir provinces. On the other hand, with respect to topographical forms, it can be said that natural boundaries of the province are created by mountains. Yunt Mountain, Boz Mountains and Demirci Mountains can be counted among these land forms. While Yunt Mountain and Boz Mountains form the boundary of Manisa with İzmir, Demirci Mountains are the boundaries of the province with Balıkesir and Kütahya provinces. These land forms making up a great portion of West Anatolia Mountains along with Mount Spil, Çal Mountain and Uysal Mountain are usually covered with forests and virtually giving their breath to the region.
In Manisa, plateaus stretch on vast mountainsides of Demirci Mountains. Cut by branches of Gediz River in a dense pattern, elevation of these areas gradually decrease in south and southwest, while climbing over 1000 meters in northeast. All these expansive highlands ending with steep edges near Gediz River are called Kula-Gördes Plateau all together. These lands are covered with volcanic formations especially in Kula region. These volcanic formations with their shapes filling valleys and with different colours have interesting appearances.
Other than Kula-Gördes plateaus, there are also plateaus with an average elevation of 400 meters in Soma region, on mountainsides of Yunt Mountain mass that are stretching all the way to Bakırçay. These plain lands, which are standing as a threshold between Bakırçay valley and the mountainous region, and cut densely by branches of Bakırçay, are named Uzunca Highlands. While dominance of geography is accounted for by mountains with 54% in Manisa, where almost all types of land forms can be observed, plateaus come in the second place and plains come in the third place. Despite the dominance of mountainous lands within boundaries of the province, valleys and plains stretching along them give the general characteristic of the provincial lands. In depression areas remaining in between mountains lying in a perpendicular direction to the sea, regular and vast valleys have been formed by streams. Two main valleys of Manisa, which intersect in the vicinity of the city center, are created by Gediz, connecting with Alaşehir valley approaching from southeast direction, and Kumçayı valley approaching from northeast. Gediz Valley and Plain, Bakırçay Valley, Gördes-Kum Stream Valley, Soma-Kırkağaç Plain, along with Salihli, Akhisar and Turgutlu plains are land forms allowing the characteristic relationship to be established between streams, valleys and plains throughout the province, which create the geography of the region. In Manisa, the lands of which spread over an expansive area, characteristics of continental climate as well as those of Mediterranean climate are observed. While Mediterranean climate with continental qualities is observed in plains and valleys surrounding them, effects of continental climate of Central Anatolia are encountered in high mountainous areas and plateaus along with mountains and plateaus located north and northeast of the province.
It can be said that Mediterranean land climate type is doninant throughout the plains of Manisa. While temperatures increase during summer months, precipitation events concentrate during winter season. Mountains around plains are not high enough to prevent the effect of the sea and they lie perpendicular to the shoreline. Therefore, effect of the sea is experienced in a trend decreasing from the West to the East.
Climate is warmer especially in plain lands due to the effect of the sea; however, northern mountainsides of Mount Spil, overlooking the city center, have an impact to increase temperature and drought during summer, and to decrease temperature during winter season. While not even a single snowflake falls to the ground in some regions during the year, within provincial borders stretching throughout an area where land forms exhibit such diversity, frequent snowfall events can be observed in regions with relatively high elevations.
Due to climate exhibiting variations in different corners of the province, distinguished species in vegetation cover can be observed together. Mountain masses preventing the effect of the sea have caused plant species of Mediterranean and continental climate areas to get intertwined.
A huge portion of the area making up the province of Manisa are covered with forests and maquis. While maquis shrublands are located on northern and western hills of mountains, forests are located in places where the altitude is beyond 1000 meters, and encompass oak, ash, elm, turkish pine, juniper, wild pear and sycamore trees. Maquis species observed in the region are largeleaf linden, mastic, arbutus, shrub, spruce, olive and small amounts of bay tree, asparagus and rowan. Mount Spil is the first place among all exhibiting diversity in vegetative cover in Manisa. In the National Park established upon the mountain, around 600 plant species have been identified. Vineyards and olive groves occupy a significant area along with other plantations.
A significant variety of wild animals is also observed as the result of climate and vegetative cover types found together in Manisa. Deers and roes are seldom encountered in relatively higher regions of the province with mountains in east and north, along with plateaus. In the same regions, wild animals such as boar, fox, coyote, squirrel, hedgehog, grizzly bear and rabbit. Poultry animals such as hawk, falcon, wild dove, sterling, woodcock, wood partridge, English partridge, stork, wild goose and wild duck can also be found in the province.
Streams and water basin of Marmara Lake are important winter quarters and breeding areas for aquatic birds with their water meadows and reeds. Species of kutan, black-necked grebe, cormorant, teal, boz dalağan, eurasian coot, short-toed snake eagle, common redshank, spur-winged lapwing, swan and rudds shelduck spend most of the year in this region. Again, in lakes and dams of the province, fish species such as carp, eel, perch and catfish can be found.