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Destinations


─░zmir
 

Area : 11.973 km²

Population : 3.370.866 (2000)

Traffic Code : 35

─░zmir is the third biggest city in Turkey, with a population of around 2.5 million, the second biggest port after Istanbul, and a good transport hub. Once the ancient city of Smyrna, it is now a modern, developed, and busy commercial centre, set around a huge bay and surrounded by mountains and was. The broad boulevards, glass-fronted buildings and modern shopping centres are dotted with traditional red-tiled roofs, the 18th century market, and old mosques and churches, although the city has an atmosphere more of Mediterranean Europe than traditional Turkey.

The climate is comfortable, with a relatively mild summer due to the refreshing breeze from the Aegean. The long attractive palm-fringed promenade, Birince Kordon, which stretches the entire length of the city up to the Alsancak Ferry Terminal, is a popular spot for evening walks, and there are many cafes along the waterfront. Izmir has a good selection of culture and entertainment, from the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museums, to the Izmir State Opera and Ballet and Izmir State Symphony Orchestra, to the many bars and clubs. The cosmopolitan and lively city gets even busier during the International Izmir Festival (mid-June to mid-July) with music and dance, with performances also in nearby Cesme and Ephesus.

Districts : Balcova, Cigli, Gaziemir, Güzelbahçe, Karsiyaka, Konak, Aliaga, Bayindir, Bayrakli, Bergama, Beydag, Bornova, Buca, Cesme, Dikili, Foca, Karaba─člar, Karaburun, Kemalpasa, Kinik, Kiraz, Menderes, Menemen, Narl─▒dere, Odemis, Seferihisar, Selcuk, Tire, Torbal─▒ and Urla.

Selçuk

Bergama

Çe┼čme

Foça

Alia─ča: Alia─ča, which is 60 km. north of ─░zmir, have signes of ─░zmir and Bergama civilizations. 4 of the 12 cities, composing the biggest and most important ones among Aiol cities, whose number is exceeding 30 at Aegean coasts, are within Aigaia, Kyme, Myrna and Gryneion province territories.
Dikili: Dikili is a pretty province and popular summer resort, around 120km north of Izmir. Candarli is nearby, and the area is full of natural beauty as well as historical interest. There is a crater lake in Medivenli village, and pine groves and ancient caverns in Demirtas and Delitas. The area is also famous for its hot springs, which can be found in Nebiler, Bademli and Kocaoba villages. The port at Dikili is large enough for three passenger ships, and is a good transport connection.

Seferihisar: Teos antic city at S─▒─čac─▒k region, Karaköse ruins at Do─čanbey - Gerenalan─▒ region, former settlement area constructed within castle and castle, constructed by Ottomans at S─▒─čac─▒k, monumental structures of Seljukian and Ottoman period at province center of the province, whose settlement history reaches till 1000 B. C., are composing the archeological and historical source potential of the region. Seferihisar has beautiful beaches and bays with its 27 km. Coastal band.

Menderes: Menderes province, which draws attention with its satsuma, beautiful bays and historical values, is 20 km. away from ─░zmir. Lebedos Antic City is at west of province at Ürkmez region. Ruins of Kolophon, Klaros, Notion and Lebedos Antic Cities, which are on Menderes - Seljukian road as adjacent to each other, are composing the important archeological sources of the province. Gümüldür borough is the producer region of Satsuma, which is a world famous kind of tangerine. Özdere is one of the nine big tourism regions of Aegean Region, and it is a tourism borough where amateur fishermen can fish besides its clear sea and coast. Various colored and shaped beads which are produced in natives at Görece Village of Menderes, are drawing attention of national and international tourists.

Karaburun: Karaburun is at the northern point of the Urla Peninsula, and its northern and western coasts have beautiful bays surrounding the Izmir bay. There were settlements in this area which date back to the Stone Age, and excavations have indicated it was a developed cultural centre during the Hittite period, then a trading centre during the Aiol, Lydia and Roman civilisations. It is now the newest suburb of Izmir, and has a couple of small guest houses and fish restaurants. Its most dramatic feature is the setting, with villages and orchards clinging to the steep rock face. There is a bus service in the area, although private vehicles offer more possibilities for exploring.

Urla: Urla is in the middle of the peninsula and holds all the characteristics of the Aegean. It lies 38km west of Izmir and used to be a cultural centre with remains unearthed dating back to the Hitties. It was originally the site of the Ionian city of Clazomenae, with probably the oldest regularly used port in the world. Pieces of art and sculpture found during excavations are now exhibited in the Louvre, Athens National Museum and Izmir Archaeology Museum.

Torbal─▒: An ancient Ionian city, famous for its wines and religious centre, has three marble alters devoted to the Roman Emperor August and his foster child Germanikys, in an ancient theatre which dominates the valley. Pieces of art found during excavations are exhibited in Izmir and Ephesus museums. The town has the remains of an old port and a few holiday complexes, and is set attractively against a pine forest.

Ödemi┼č: The north of Odemis, which is 113km southeast of Izmir, are the ruins of Hypaiapa. The historical importance of the region began with Birgi, west of Odemis, which was the capital during the Aydinogullari period and contained outstanding examples of Seljuk and Ottoman architecture. Birgi has been on the World Cultural Heritage list since 1994, and points of interest here include Cakiraga Mansion, Imam-i Birgivi Medrese and Sultan Sah Mausoleum.

Tire: One of the largest towns in the area, Tire is 82km southeast of Izmir and lies at the foot of the Aydin Mountains. Its long cultural heritage includes periods under the Hittites, Frygians, Lydians, Persians, Romans and Byzantines, and developed its strong links with the economy during the Ottoman period. The town has an attractive old quarter with many impressive examples of Islamic architecture, and a lively Tuesday market influenced by the gypsy population in the surrounding villages.

Kemalpa┼ča: The historical background of Kemalpasa, which lies 29km west of Izmir, dates back to 1300 BC. It was host to the Akkads, Hitties, Seljuk and Ottoman civilisations, and was a resort between the Art and Ion cities during Roman and Byzantine times. The only remains from the Hittites in the Aegean region is the Karabel relief, which is in the province. Previously known in ancient times as Nymphaion, the town lies at the foot of Nif mountain at 200m altitude, and is best known for its cherries and pine forests.

 

History
 

The history of Izmir stretches back to around 3000 BC when the Trojans founded the city in Tepekule in the northern suburb of Bayrakli. This was the birthplace of Homer, who was thought to have lived there around the 8th century BC. The Aeolians, the first settlers, were eventually taken over by the Ionians, and then the Lydians destroyed the city around 600BC before a brief recovery following Alexander the Great’s arrival in 334 BC.

After his death, Alexander’s generals followed his wishes and re-established Smyrna on Mount Pagos in Kadifekale, and the city then prospered under the Romans. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 178 AD but later reconstructed and became a major commercial port. After the Byzantines, the city had a turbulent time under the Arabs, Seljuks, Crusaders and Mongols, until Mehmet I incorporated it into the Ottoman Empire in 1415. Under Suleyman the Magnificent, Smyrna became a thriving and sophisticated city and a huge trading centre, despite its frequent earthquakes. It was cosmopolitan, with Greek Orthodox, Jews and Muslims, and many languages were spoken amongst locals and visiting traders.

Following World War I and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, Greece was granted a mandate over Izmir and entered the area, coming against the resistance of Ataturk’s nationalists. This resulted in a 3-day bloody battle, during which 70% of the city was burned to the ground and thousands were killed, and the beaten Greeks eventually left on the waiting ships. Ataturk formally took Izmir on 9 September 1922, considered to be the day of victory in the War of Independence and is a national holiday.

Where to Visit
 

Kemeralt─▒ Bazaar : The big bazaar in the city centre stretches from the coast road to the Konak area, and is a major shopping centre with a vast array of goods inside. It combines modern businesses, shops and cafes, with antiques, dried fruit, household and leather goods in old alleyways with vaults and domes.

Inside the bazaar, there is one of the most interesting structures of Izmir: Kizlaragasi Hani is an Ottoman caravanserai inside the Halim Aga Bazaar and was completed in 1745. This covered market sells hand-made products, carpets, leather and souvenirs. There are many entrances to the markets, from Basmane, Konak and Anafartalar. Konak is one of the oldest areas of the city, with most of the buildings that survived the great fire, although the traditional areas are gradually being modernised. This is the location of the city’s landmark, the Saat Kulesi (Ottoman clock tower) decorated with tiles.

Asansör (Elevator) : The elevator was constructed by Jewish businessman Nesim Levi in 1907, in order to make life easier for the local residents to go to their mansions on the top of the hill. These days tourists use it to admire the views of the old streets and houses of Mithatpasa. Located in the heart of Izmir’s old Jewish quarter, it is housed in a 50m-high brick tower and after refurbishment in 1992 it now contains a café on the top floor, and the original hydraulics are exhibited on the ground floor. In its heyday in the 1930s, it also contained a theatre, cinema, refreshment stall and photographer’s shop.

Kültürpark : The big Kulturpark in the city centre is one of the densest green areas in Izmir, covering 30 hectares. There is a zoo, artificial lake, parachute tower, open-air theatre and a collection of bars and cafes. This has been the venue of the International Izmir Fair every August since 1936.

Botanic Garden : One of the best Botanical Gardens of Turkey, is in the Ege University field. There are around 3000 species of plants from the tropical regions to the Alps, many of which are kept under artificial conditions. The arboretum has hundreds of species of trees and bushes, and the herbarium centre contains dried plant samples that are preserved for the use of scientific research.

 

Don't Leave Without
 

- Visiting Birgi Cakiraga Mansion, K─▒zlara─čas─▒ Han, and Asansör,
- Stepping into the past in Izmir Archaeology Museum, Ataturk Museum, Kordonboyu and Kemeralti Bazaar.
- Tasting Izmir’s famous meatballs in the Asansor Restaurant.
- Buying tasty local dried figs and sultanas
- Shopping for Ödemis Silk (Pembizar), hand-painted handkerchiefs and Görece blue beads,
- Visiting the International Izmir Festival.


 

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