Izmir: Wikis

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Coordinates: 38°25′19″N 27°07′44″E / 38.422°N 27.129°E / 38.422; 27.129

İzmir
Port of İzmir as seen from Konak Pier
İzmir is located in Turkey
İzmir
Location of İzmir
Coordinates: 38°26′N 27°09′E / 38.433°N 27.15°E / 38.433; 27.15
Country  Turkey
Region Aegean Region
Province İzmir
Elevation 30 m (98 ft)
Population (2008)[1]
 - Total 3,210,465
 Density 3,099.00/km2 (8,026.4/sq mi)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 35xxx
Area code(s) (+90) 232
Licence plate 35
Website www.izmir.bel.tr

İzmir, historically Smyrna, is Turkey's third most populous city and the country's second largest port city after Istanbul. It is located along the outlying waters of the Gulf of İzmir, by the Aegean Sea. It is the seat of the İzmir Province, which has an area of 7350 km2. The city of İzmir is composed of twelve metropolitan districts (Balçova, Bayraklı, Bornova, Buca, Çiğli, Gaziemir, Güzelbahçe, Karabağlar, Karşıyaka, Konak, Menemen, Narlıdere, and Torbalı), each with its own distinct features and temperament, but all headed by the Mayor of İzmir. The total population of the province was 3,795,978 by the end of 2008.[1] The central area of the city consisting of metropolitan districts has a total area of 855 km2 (330 sq mi), and a population of 2,606,294.[2]

Contents

Main features

Rediscover Life

İzmir has almost 3,500 years of urban history, and possibly that much more of advanced human settlement. Lying on an advantageous location at the head of its gulf running down in a deep indentation midway on the western Anatolian coast, the city has been one of the principal mercantile cities of the Mediterranean Sea for much of its history. Its port, privatized in 2007,[3] is Turkey's first port for exports in terms of the freight handled and its free zone, a Turkish-U.S. joint-venture established in 1990, is the leader among the twenty in Turkey. Its workforce, and particularly its rising class of young professionals, concentrated either in the city or in its immediate vicinity (such as in Manisa), and under either larger companies or SMEs, affirm their name in an increasingly wider global scale and intensity.[4] İzmir is widely regarded as one of the most progressive Turkish cities in terms of its values, lifestyle, dynamism and gender roles. Politically, it is considered a stronghold of the Republican People's Party.

Cafés along the historic Pasaport Quay (1877) at the port of İzmir.

The city hosts an international arts festival during June and July, and the İzmir International Fair, one of the city's many fair and exhibition events centered around but not limited to Kültürpark, is held in the beginning of September every year. İzmir is served by national and international flights through the Adnan Menderes International Airport and there is a modern metro line running from the southwest to the northeast. İzmir hosted the Mediterranean Games in 1971 and the World University Games (Universiade) in 2005. It had a running bid submitted to the BIE to host the Universal Expo 2015, in March, 2008, that was lost to Milan. Modern İzmir also incorporates the nearby ancient cities of Ephesus, Pergamon, Sardis and Klazomenai, and centers of international tourism such as Kuşadası, Çeşme, Mordoğan and Foça.

Despite its heritage, İzmir has suffered until recently, as one author puts it, from "sketchy understanding" in the eyes of outsiders. When the Ottomans took over İzmir in the 15th century, they did not inherit compelling historical memories, unlike the two other keys of the trade network, namely Istanbul and Aleppo. Its emergence as a major international port as of the 17th century was largely a result of the attraction it exercised over foreigners, and the city's European orientation.[5] Very different people found İzmir attractive over the ages and the city has always been governed by fresh inspirations which stemmed from the location of its center and the readiness of its citizens to adopt novelties and new projects.

Names and etymology

İzmir is a princess with her most beautiful small hat.

Victor Hugo[6]

The name of a locality called Ti-smurna is mentioned in some of the Level II tablets from the Assyrian colony in Kültepe (first half of the 2nd millennium B.C.), with the prefix ti- identifying a proper name, although it is not established with certainty that this name refers to İzmir.[7]

The region of İzmir was situated on the southern fringes of the "Yortan culture" in Anatolia's prehistory, the knowledge of which is almost entirely drawn from its cemeteries,[8] and in the second half of the 2nd millennium B.C., in the western end of the extension of the yet largely obscure Arzawa Kingdom, an offshoot and usually a dependency of the Hittites, who themselves spread their direct rule as far as the coast during their Great Kingdom. That the realm of the local Luwian ruler who legated the 13th century B.C. Kemalpaşa Karabel rock carving at a distance of only 50 km (31 mi) from İzmir was called Mira may also leave ground for association with the city's name.[9]

The newest rendering in Greek of the city's name we know is the Aeolic Greek Μύρρα Mýrrha, corresponding to the later Ionian and Attic Σμύρνα (Smýrna) or Σμύρνη (Smýrnē), both presumably descendants of a Proto-Greek form *Smúrnā. Some would see in the city's name a reference to the name of an Amazon called Smyrna who would have seduced Theseus, leading him to name the city in her honor.[10] Others link the name to the Myrrha commifera shrub, a plant that produces the aromatic resin called myrrh and is indigenous to the Middle East and northeastern Africa. The Romans took this name over as Smyrna which is the name that is still used in English when referring to the city in pre-Turkish periods. The name İzmir (Ottoman Turkish: إزمير İzmir) is the modern Turkish version of the same name. In Greek it is Σμύρνη (Smýrni), Իզմիր (Izmir) in Armenian, Smirne in Italian, Esmirna in Spanish, Smyrne in French, and Izmir (without the Turkish dotted İ) in Ladino. In English, the city was called Smyrna until the Turkish Postal Service Law of 28 March 1930, upon which the name Izmir was also adopted in foreign languages.[11]

İzmir panorama from Kadifekale.

History

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Ancient age

The city is one of the oldest settlements of the Mediterranean basin. The 2004 discovery of Yeşilova Höyük and the neighboring Yassıtepe, situated in the small delta of Meles River, now the plain of Bornova, reset the starting date of the city's past further back than was previously thought. The findings of the two seasons of excavations carried out in the Yeşilova Höyük by a team of archaeologists from İzmir's Ege University indicate three levels, two of which are prehistoric. Level 2 bears traces of early to mid-Chalcolithic, and Level 3 of Neolithic settlements. These two levels would have been inhabited by the indigenous peoples of İzmir, very roughly, between 7th millennium BC to 4th millennium BC. With the seashore drawing away in time, the site was later used as a cemetery. Several graves containing artifacts dating, roughly, from 3000 BC, contemporary with the first city of Troy, were found.[12]

Settlements of prehistory in and around İzmir, with those of the Bronze Age marked in blue, and the earlier ones in red.

By 1500 BC the region fell under the influence of the Central Anatolian Hittite Empire. The Hittites possessed a script and several localities near İzmir were mentioned in their records. The first settlement to have commanded the Gulf of İzmir as a whole is recorded, in a semi-legendary manner, to have been founded on top of Mount Yamanlar, to the northeast of the inner gulf. In connection with the silt brought by the streams which join the sea along the coastline, the settlement to form later the core of "Old Smyrna" was founded on the slopes of the same mountain, on a hill (then a small peninsula connected to the mainland by a small isthmus) in the present-day quarter of Bayraklı. The Bayraklı settlement is thought to have stretched back in time as far as the 3rd millennium BC. It rose up to become one of the most advanced cultures in early Anatolian history and on a par with Troy. The presence of a vineyard of İzmir's Wine and Beer Factory on this hill, also called Tepekule, prevented the urbanization of the site and facilitated the excavations that started in the 1960s by Ekrem Akurgal.

However, in the 1200s BC, invasions from the Balkans (the so-called sea people) destroyed Troy VII. As a result, Central and Western Anatolia fell into what is generally called the period of "Anatolian" and "Greek " Dark Ages of the Bronze Age collapse.

Nearby ancient site of Klazomenai in Urla is associated with some of the oldest known records of trade in olive oil.

Homer
Homer, referred to as Melesigenes which means "Child of the Meles Brook" is said to have been born in Smyrna. Combined with written evidence, it is generally admitted that Smyrna and Chios put forth the strongest arguments in claiming Homer and the main belief is that he was born in Ionia. A River Meles, still carrying the same name, is located within the city of İzmir, although association with the Homeric river is subject to controversy.[13]

Old Smyrna

The fortress of Kadifekale was built by Lysimachus in ca. 300 BC.

The term "Old Smyrna" is used to describe the Greek city-state of the classical era located at the urban settlement in Tepekule, Bayraklı, to make a distinction with Smyrna re-built later on the slopes of Pagos (present-day Kadifekale). The Greek settlement in Old Smyrna is attested by the presence of pottery dating from about 1000 BC onwards and the most ancient ruins preserved to our day date back to 725-700 BC. Herodotus says that the city was founded by Aeolians and later seized by Ionians. [14] The oldest house discovered in Bayraklı is dated to 925 and 900 BC. The walls of this well-preserved house (2.45 by 4 metres/8.0 by 13.1 feet), consisting of one small room typical of the Iron Age, were made of sun-dried bricks and the roof of the house was made of reeds. The oldest model of a multiple-roomed type house of this period was found in Old Smyrna. Known to be the oldest house having so many rooms under its roof, it was built in the second half of the 7th century BC. The house has two floors and five rooms with a courtyard. Around that time, people started to protect the city with thick ramparts made of sun-dried bricks. Smyrna was built on the Hippodamian system in which streets run north-south and east-west and intersect at right angles, in a pattern familiar in the Near East but the earliest example in a western city. The houses all faced to the south. The most ancient paved streets of the Ionian civilization have also been discovered in ancient Smyrna.

From then on, Smyrna achieved an identity of city-state. About 1,000 lived inside the city walls, with others living in near-by villages, where fields, olive trees, vineyards, and the workshops of potters and stonecutters were located. People generally made their living through agriculture and fishing. The most important sanctuary of Old Smyrna was the Temple of Athena, which dates back to 640-580 BC and is partially restored today. Smyrna, by this point, was no longer a small town, but an urban center that took part in the Mediterranean trade. The city eventually became one of the twelve Ionian cities and set out on its way to become a foremost cultural and commercial center of that period in the Mediterranean basin, reaching its peak between 650-545 BC.

Lydians
The city's portuary position near their capital attracted the Lydians to Smyrna. The army of Lydia's Mermnad dynasty conquered the city some time around 610-600 BC and is reported to have burned and destroyed parts of the city, although recent analyses on the remains in Bayraklı demonstrate that the temple has been in continuous use or was very quickly repaired under Lydian rule.

Agora of Smyrna
Agora of Smyrna

Persians
Soon afterwards, an invasion from outside Anatolia, that of the Persian Empire, effectively ended Old Smyrna's history as an urban center of note. The Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great attacked the coastal cities of the Aegean after having conquered Sardis, the capital of Lydia. As a result, Old Smyrna was destroyed in 545 BC.

Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great re-founded the city around 340 BC. Alexander had defeated the Persians in several battles and finally the Emperor Darius III himself at Issus in 333 BC. The cities of the region witnessed a great resurgence in their population. Old Smyrna on a small hill by the sea was sufficient only for a few thousand people. Therefore, the slopes of Mount Pagos (Kadifekale) was chosen for the foundation of the new city, for which Alexander is credited.

Romans
In 133 BC, When Eumenes III, the last king of the Attalid dynasty of Pergamum, was about to die without an heir, he bequeathed his kingdom to the Roman Republic in his will, and this included Smyrna. After it came under Roman rule, Smyrna enjoyed a golden period for the second time. Near the close of the first century AD, when Smyrna appeared as one of the seven churches of Asia addressed in the Book of Revelation, Smyrna had a Christian congregation undergoing persecution from the city's Jews (Revelation 2:9). In contrast to several of the other churches, Apostle John had nothing negative to say about this church. He did, however, predict that the persecution will continue and urged them, "Be faithful to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10). The persecution of Christians continued into the second century, as documented by the martyrdom of Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, in 155 AD.

Due to the importance that the city achieved, the Roman emperors who came to Anatolia also visited Smyrna. In early 124, Emperor Hadrian visited Smyrna as part of his journeys across the Empire [15] and possibly Caracalla in 214-215. It was a fine city with streets paved with stones.

In 178 AD the city was devastated by an earthquake. Considered to be one of the most severe disasters that the city has faced in its history, the earthquake razed the town to the ground. The destruction was so great that the support of the Empire for rebuilding was necessary. Emperor Marcus Aurelius contributed greatly to the rebuilding activities and the city was re-founded again. The state agora was restored during this period. Various works of architecture pertaining to the pre-Turkish period of the city date from this period.

After the Roman Empire's division into two distinct entities, Smyrna became a territory of the Eastern Roman Empire. It preserved its status as a notable religious center in the early times of the Byzantine Empire. However, the city did decrease in size greatly during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Age, never returning to the Roman levels of prosperity.

Smyrna becomes İzmir

View of the Kızlarağası Han (1744) caravanserai in the historic Kemeraltı bazaar zone of İzmir, with the Hisar Mosque (1592) seen in the background.

Çaka Bey and the Seljuk Turks
The Turks first captured Smyrna under the Seljuk commander Çaka Bey in 1076, along with Klazomenai, Foça and a number of the Aegean Islands. Çaka Bey used İzmir as a base for his naval operations. After his death in 1102, the city and the neighboring region was recaptured by the Byzantine Empire. The port city was then captured by the Knights of Rhodes when Constantinople was conquered by the Crusaders during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, but the Nicaean Empire would reclaim possession of the city soon afterwards, albeit by according vast concessions to their Genoese allies who kept one of the city's castles.

The sons of Aydın
Smyrna was recaptured by the Turks in the early 14th century when, Umur Bey, the son of the founder of the Beylik of Aydın, captured first the upper fort of Kadifekale, and then the lower port castle of Ok Kalesi. As Çaka Bey had done two centuries before, Umur Bey used the city as a base for naval raids. In 1344, a coalition of forces coordinated by Pope Clement VI took back the lower castle in a surprise attack. A sixty-year period of uneasy cohabitation between the two powers followed Umur Bey's death.

Ottoman Empire
The upper city of İzmir was captured from its Aydınoğlu rulers by the Ottomans for the first time in 1389 during the reign of Bayezid I, who led his armies toward the five Western Anatolian Turkish Beyliks in the winter of the same year he had ascended to the throne. The Ottoman take-over took place virtually without conflict. However, in 1402, Tamerlane won the Battle of Ankara against the Ottomans and put a serious check on the fortunes of the Ottoman state for the two following decades. Tamerlane gave back the territories of most of the Anatolian Turkish Beyliks to their former ruling dynasties, and he came in person to İzmir to lodge the only battle of his career against a non-Muslim power, finally taking back the port castle from the Genoese and giving it to Aydınoğlu briefly reinstated.

İzmir's famous Kordon
The Port of Smyrna, from an 1883 encyclopedia.

In 1415, Murad II re-captured İzmir for the Ottomans for the second time and with the death of the last bey of Aydın, İzmiroğlu Cüneyd Bey, in 1426 the city definitely passed under Ottoman control. İzmir's first Ottoman governor was a converted son of the Bulgarian Shishman dynasty. During the campaigns against Cüneyd, the Ottomans were assisted by the forces of the Knights Hospitaller who pressed the Sultan for the return to them of the port castle. However, the sultan refused to make this concession, despite the resulting tensions between the two camps, and he gave the Templars the permission to build a castle (the present-day Bodrum Castle) in Petronium (Bodrum) instead.

In a land-bound arrangement somewhat against its nature, the city and its present-day dependencies became an Ottoman sanjak (sub-province) either inside the larger vilayet (province) of Aydın part of the eyalet of Anatolia with its capital in Kütahya or in "Cezayir" (i.e. "Islands" in reference to "the Aegean Islands". Two notable events for the city during the rest of the 15th century were a Venetian surprise raid in 1475 and the arrival of the Sephardic Jews from Spain after 1492, who later made İzmir one of their principal urban centers in Ottoman lands. İzmir could have been a rather deserted place in this century since the first extant Ottoman records describing the town date from 1528.

The Ottomans also allowed İzmir's inner bay dominated by the port castle to silt up progressively (the location of the present-day Kemeraltı bazaar zone) and the port castle ceased to be of use. İzmir was a small settlement through the 16th century as well. In 1530, 304 adult males, both tax-paying and tax-exempt were on record, 42 of them Christians. There were only five urban wards, one of situated in the immediate vicinity of the comparatively active port, where the non-Muslim population was concentrated. By 1576, İzmir had grown to house 492 taxpayers in eight urban wards, corresponding to a total population estimated between 3500-5000.

International port city

View of Pasaport Quay (1877) in the distance, as seen from Konak Pier (1890) at the port of İzmir.
Konak Pier was designed by Gustave Eiffel in 1890.

With the privileged trading conditions accorded to foreigners in 1620 (the infamous capitulations that were later to cause a serious threat and setback for the Ottoman state in its decline), İzmir set out on its way to become one of the foremost trade centers of the Empire. Foreign consulates moved in from Sakız (Chios) and were present in the city by the early 17th century (1619 for the French Consulate, 1621 for the British), serving as trade centers for their nations. Each consulate had its own quay and the ships under their flag would anchor there. The long campaign for the conquest of Crete (22 years between 1648-1669) also considerably enhanced İzmir's position within the Ottoman realm since the city served as a port of dispatch and supply for the troops.

The city faced a plague in 1676, an earthquake in 1688 and a great fire in 1743, but continued to grow. In 1856 the British-built 130 km (81 mi) railway line to Aydın was opened (the first Ottoman Empire line). By that time, İzmir had a considerable segment of its population composed of French, English, Dutch and Italian merchants, adding to numerous immigrants coming from other parts of the Ottoman Empire. In fact, a class of intermediaries, composed of Greeks and, some time later and to a lesser extent, by Armenians, as well as some among the generally poorer Jews, started to take hold. The attraction the city exercised for merchants and middlemen gradually changed the demographic structure of the city, its culture and its Ottoman character. In 1867, İzmir finally and definitely became the center of its own vilayet, still under its neighbor Aydın's name but with its administrative area covering a large part of Turkey's present-day Aegean Region.

Darío Moreno, İzmir's famous composer and singer, used to live near Asansör which was built in 1907 by Nesim Levi, a wealthy Jewish banker of that epoch.
Gürel Residence and Hilton Hotel near the port of İzmir.

In the late 19th century, the port was threatened by a build-up of silt in the gulf and an initiative, unique in the history of the Ottoman Empire, was undertaken in 1886 to move Gediz River's bed to its present-day northern course, instead of letting it flow into the gulf, in order to redirect the silt. The beginning of the 20th century saw the city under the genuine and cosmopolitan looks of a metropolitan center with a global fame and reach.

Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the victors had, for a time, intended to carve up large parts of Anatolia under respective zones of influence and offered the western regions of Turkey to Greece with the Treaty of Sèvres. On 15 May 1919 the Greek Army occupied İzmir, but the Greek expedition towards central Anatolia turned into a disaster for both that country and for the local Greeks of Turkey.

The Turkish Army retook possession of İzmir on 9 September 1922, effectively ending the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) in the field. Part of the Greek population of the city was forced to seek refuge in the nearby Greek islands together with the departing Greek troops, while the rest left in the frame of the ensuing 1923 agreement for the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations, which was a part of the Lausanne Treaty.

The war, and especially its events specific to İzmir, like the fire that broke out on 13 September 1922, one of the greatest disasters İzmir has ever experienced, continues to influence the psyches of the two nations to this day. The Turks have claimed that the occupation was marked from its very first day by the "first bullet" fired on Greek detachments by the journalist Hasan Tahsin and the killing by bayonet coups of Colonel Fethi Bey and his unarmed soldiers in the historic casern of the city (Sarı Kışla — the Yellow Casern), for refusing to shout "Zito o Venizelos" (Long Live Venizelos). The Greeks, on the other hand, have accused the Turks of committing many atrocities against the Greek and Armenian communities in İzmir, including the lynching of the Orthodox Metropolitan Chrysostomos following their recapture of the city on 9 September 1922 and the slaughter of Armenian and Greek Christians.[16] A Turkish source on İzmir's oral history concedes that in 1922, "hat-wearers were thrown into the sea, just like, back in 1919, fez-wearers were thrown."[17] The lack of comprehensive and reliable sources from the period, combined with nationalist feelings running high on both sides, and mutual distrust between the conflicting parties, has led to each side accusing each other for decades of committing atrocities during the period. The city was, once again, gradually rebuilt after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

A seaside view from the İnciraltı quarter.

Population

Forum Bornova Shopping Center
Population of İzmir
Year Population
2007 2,606,294
2000 2,232,265
1990 1,758,780
1985 1,489,817
1970 554,000
1965 442,000
1960 371,000
1955 286,000
1950 231,000
1945 200,000
1940 184,000
1935 171,000
1927 154,000

The period after the 1960s and the 1970s saw another blow to İzmir's tissue - as serious as the 1922 fire for many inhabitants - when local administrations tended to neglect İzmir's traditional values and landmarks. Some administrators were not always in tune with the central government in Ankara and regularly fell short of subsidies, and the city absorbed huge immigration waves from Anatolian inland causing a population explosion. Today it is not surprising to see many inhabitants of İzmir (in line with natives of a number of other prominent Turkish cities) look back to a cozier and more manageable city, which came to an end in the last few decades, with nostalgia. The Floor Ownership Law of 1965 (Kat Mülkiyeti Kanunu), allowing and encouraging arrangements between house or land proprietors and building contractors in which each would share the benefits in rent of 8-floor apartment blocks built in the place of the former single house, proved especially disastrous for the urban landscape.

The population of the city is predominantly Muslim, but secularism is very strong in this region of Turkey.[18] İzmir is also home to Turkey's second largest Jewish community after Istanbul, still 2,500 strong.[19] The community is still concentrated in their traditional quarter of Karataş. Smyrniot Jews like Sabbatai Zevi and Darío Moreno were among the famous figures of the city's Jewish community.

The Levantines of İzmir, who are mostly of Genoese and to a lesser degree of French and Venetian descent, live mainly in the districts of Bornova and Buca. One of the most prominent present-day figures of the community is Caroline Giraud Koç, wife of the renowned Turkish industrialist Mustafa Koç. Koç Holding is one of the largest family-owned industrial conglomerates in the world.

Economy

Economic data on İzmir [20] 2008
Unemployment rate 11.8
Nr. of unemployed 156,000
Public investments 310,793 (million US Dollars)
Exports 21,6 (billion US Dollars)
Imports 26.1 (billion US Dollars)
Nr. of companies 102,153
Nr. of companies
with foreign capital
1,321
Nr. of companies started 2008 4,813
Nr. of companies ceased 2008 2,841
Tax revenues 11.843 (million US Dollars)
Bank deposits total 17.932 (million US Dollars)
Bank loans total 13.315 (million US Dollars)
Nr. of bank branches 667
Nr. of tourists 1,079,000

Trade through the city's port had a determinant importance for the economy of the Ottoman Empire as of the beginning of the 19th century and the economic foundations of the early decades of Turkey's Republican era were also laid here in İzmir Economic Congress. Presently, İzmir area's economy is divided in value between various types of activity as follows: 30.5 % for industry, 22.9 % for trade and related services, 13.5 % for transportation and communication and 7.8 % for agriculture. In 2008, İzmir provided 10.5 % of all tax revenues collected by Turkey and its exports corresponded to 6 % and its imports 4 % of Turkey's foreign trade. The province as a whole is Turkey's third largest exporter after Istanbul and Bursa, and the fifth largest importer. 85-90 % of the region's exports and approximately one fifth of all Turkish exports are made through the Port of Alsancak with an annual container loading capacity of close to a million. [21]

Main sites of interest

For further information on the remnants of the ancient city, see Smyrna

Standing on Mount Yamanlar, the tomb of Tantalus was explored by Charles Texier in 1835 and is an example of the historic traces in the region prior to the Hellenistic Age, along with those found in nearby Kemalpaşa and Mount Sipylus.

The Agora of Smyrna is well preserved, and is arranged into the Agora Open Air Museum of İzmir, although important parts buried under modern buildings are waiting to be brought to daylight. Serious consideration is also being given to uncovering the ancient theatre of Smyrna where St. Polycarp was martyred, buried under an urban zone on the slopes of Kadifekale. It was distinguishable until the 19th century, as evident by the sketchings done at the time. On top of the same hill soars an ancient castle which is one of the landmarks of İzmir.

One of the more pronounced elements of İzmir's harbor is the Clock Tower, a beautiful marble tower that rests in the middle of the Konak district, standing 25 m (82 ft) in height. It was designed by the Levantine French architect Raymond Charles Père in 1901 for the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the ascension of Abdülhamid II to the Ottoman throne in 1876. The clock workings themselves were given as a gift by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, a political ally of Abdülhamid II. The tower features four fountains which are placed around the base in a circular pattern, and the columns are inspired by North African themes.

The Kemeraltı bazaar zone set up by the Ottomans, combined with the Agora, rests near the slopes of Kadifekale. İzmir has had three castles historically - Kadifekale (Pagos), the portuary Ok Kalesi (Neon Kastron, St. Peter), and Sancakkale, which remained vital to İzmir's security for centuries. Sancakkale is situated in the present-day İnciraltı quarter between the Balçova and Narlıdere districts, on the southern shore of the Gulf of İzmir. It is at a key point where the strait allows entry into the innermost tip of the Gulf at its narrowest, and due to shallow waters through a large part of this strait, ships have sailed close to the castle.[22]

Oteller Street in the historic Basmane neighbourhood.

There are nine synagogues in İzmir, concentrated either in the traditional Jewish quarter of Karataş or in Havra Sokak (Synagogue street) in Kemeraltı, and they all bear the signature of the 19th century when they were built or re-constructed in depth on the basis of former buildings.

The İzmir Birds Paradise in Çiğli, a bird sanctuary near Karşıyaka, contains 205 species of birds. There are 63 species of domestic birds, 54 species of summer migratory birds, 43 species of winter migratory birds, and 30 species of transit birds. 56 species of birds have been breeding in the Park. İzmir Bird's Paradise which covers 80 square kilometres was registered as "The protected area for water birds and for their breeding" by the Turkish Ministry of Forestry in 1982. A large open air zoo was established in the same district of Çiğli in 2008 under the name Sasalı Park of Natural Life.

İzmir International Fair

İzmir prides itself with its busy schedule of trade fairs, exhibitions and congresses. İzmir International Fair (IEF), the oldest member from Turkey of the International Union of Fairs is held every year in August-September at Kültürpark, which covers an area of 421,000 m² in the heart of the city with open-air theatres, the Painting and Sculpture Museum, art centers, amusement park, zoo, parachute tower, and other amenities. Aside from this main event, which acts as a central theme for many other secondary events, there are numerous others throughout the year. In 2007, for example, 35 national or international fairs and exhibitions were held in İzmir around the year and in relation to different areas of activity. These fairs have made great contributions to İzmir's social and cultural life.

Climate

İzmir has a typical Mediterranean climate which is characterized by long, hot and dry summers; and mild to cool, rainy winters. The total precipitation for İzmir averages 706 mm (27.8 inches) per year; however, 77% of that falls during November through March. The rest of the precipitation falls during April through May and September through October. There is virtually no rainfall during the months of June, July and August.

The average maximum temperatures during the winter months vary between 12 and 14 °C. Although it's rare, snow can fall in İzmir in December, January and February staying for a period of hours rather than a whole day or more. The summer months — from May to October — usually brings average daytime temperatures of 30 °C or higher. On a number of occasions, temperatures as high as 46°C have been recorded in the city.

Climate data for İzmir, Turkey
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 53
(11.7)
54
(12.2)
60
(15.6)
68
(20)
77
(25)
87
(30.6)
91
(32.8)
90
(32.2)
84
(28.9)
74
(23.3)
63
(17.2)
55
(12.8)
71
(21.7)
Average low °F (°C) 39
(3.9)
40
(4.4)
44
(6.7)
50
(10)
57
(13.9)
64
(17.8)
68
(20)
67
(19.4)
61
(16.1)
55
(12.8)
47
(8.3)
42
(5.6)
53
(11.7)
Source: Weatherbase[23] September 2007

Cuisine of İzmir

İzmir's cuisine has largely been affected by its multicultural history, hence the large variety of food originating from the Aegean, Mediterranean and Anatolian regions. Another factor is the large area of land surrounding the region which grows a rich selection of vegetables. Some of the common dishes found here are the tarhana soup (made from dried yoghurt and tomatoes), İzmir köfte, keşkek (boiled wheat with meat), zerde (sweetened rice with saffron) and mücver (made from zucchini and eggs). Boyoz and lokma are Turkish pastries associated with İzmir, the former prepared for commercial purposes and the latter to commemorate the deceased. Kumru is a special kind of sandwich that is associated particularly with the Çeşme district and features cheese and tomato in its basics, with sucuk also added sometimes.[24]

Historically, as a result of the influx of Greek refugees from İzmir (as well as from other parts of Asia Minor and Istanbul) to mainland Greece after 1922, the cuisine of İzmir has had an enormous impact on Greek cuisine, exporting many sophisticated spices and foods.

Festivals

Ahmet Adnan Saygun Art Center

The annual İzmir International Festival, which begins in mid-June and continues until mid-July, has been organized since 1987. During the festival, many world-class performers such as soloists and virtuosi, orchestras, dance companies, rock and jazz groups including Ray Charles, Paco de Lucia, Joan Baez, Martha Graham Dance Company, Tanita Tikaram, Jethro Tull, Leningrad Philarmonic Orchestra, Chris De Burgh, Sting, Moscow State Philarmony Orchestra, Jan Garbarek, Red Army Chorus, Academy of St. Martin in the Field, Kodo, Chick Corea and Origin, New York City Ballet, Nigel Kennedy, Bryan Adams, James Brown, Elton John, Anathema, Kiri Te Kanawa, Mikhail Barishnikov and Josep Carreras have given recitals and performances at various venues in the city and its surrounding areas; including the ancient theatres at Ephesus and Metropolis (an ancient Ionian city situated near the town of Torbalı.) The festival is a member of the "European Festivals Association" since 2003.

The İzmir European Jazz Festival is among the numerous events organized every year by the İKSEV (İzmir Foundation for Culture, Arts and Education) since 1994. The festival aims to bring together masters and lovers of jazz with the aim to generate feelings of love, friendship and peace.

The International İzmir Short Film Festival is organized since 1999 and is a member of the European Coordination of Film Festivals.

İzmir Metropolitan Municipality has built the Ahmet Adnan Saygun Art Center on a 21,000 m2 land plot in the Güzelyalı district, in order to contribute to the city's culture and art life. The acoustics of the center have been prepared by ARUP which is a world famous company in this field.

Sports

The mascot of Universiade 2005 in İzmir

Notable football clubs in İzmir are: Altay SK, Bucaspor, Altınordu, Göztepe A.Ş., İzmirspor and Karşıyaka SK. Currently there is no team from İzmir playing in the Turkish Super League, but the teams of İzmir were once among the greatest in Turkey. Göztepe A.Ş. played the semi finals of the UEFA Cup in the 1968-1969 season, and the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in the 1969-1970 season; becoming the first ever Turkish football club to play a semi-final game in Europe. Altay SK and Göztepe A.Ş. have won the Turkish Cup twice for İzmir.

Legendary 1960s football star Metin Oktay, a native of İzmir, played in İzmirspor, Galatasaray and Palermo.

Despite the current lack of any İzmir-based team in the Turkish Super League, the İzmir Atatürk Stadium regularly hosts many Super League and Turkish Cup derby matches, including those of Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe, and Galatasaray.

Karşıyaka SK's basketball team won the Turkish Basketball Championship title and Presidential Cup in 1987.

Several important international sports events were held in İzmir:

Education

The following universities are located in İzmir:

There are ongoing plans to establish a eighth, and perhaps also a ninth university in İzmir. The city is also home to well-rooted high-school establishments that are renowned across Turkey, such as the American Collegiate Institute which was established in 1878.

İzmir is also home to the third U.S. Space Camp in the world, Space Camp Turkey.

Transportation

İzmir is served by national and international flights through the Adnan Menderes International Airport and there is a modern rapid transit line running from the southwest to the northeast. The city is trying to attract investors through its strategic location and its relatively new and highly developed technological infrastructure in transportation, telecommunications and energy.[25]

Connection with other cities and countries

  • Air: The Adnan Menderes International Airport is well served with connections to Turkish and international destinations. Its new international terminal was opened in September 2006 and the airport is set on its way for becoming one of the busiest hubs in Turkey. The city-to-airport shuttle buses are operated by the private company Havaş which run on two lines; the first connecting Karşıyaka (in the city's northern part) and the second connecting Alsancak (in the south) with the airport. Trains remain a comparatively slow alternative, while the metro line that will reach the airport is under construction. The taxis are not cheap and can cost up to fifty U.S. dollars, depending on the distance.
  • Bus: A recently-built large bus terminal, the Otogar in the Altındağ suburb on the outskirts of the city, has intercity buses to destinations across Turkey. It is quite easy to reach the bus terminal, since bus companies' shuttle services pick up customers from each of their branch offices scattered across the city at regular intervals, free of charge.
  • Rail: The city has rail service from historic terminals in downtown (such as the famous Alsancak Terminal (1858) which is the oldest train station in Turkey) to Ankara in the east and Aydın in the south. An express train to Bandırma, to reach the Sea of Marmara port city in four hours and to combine the journey with İDO's HSC services from Bandırma to Istanbul is in service since February 2007.
Alsancak Train Station (1858) in İzmir, where the first railway line in the Ottoman Empire, the İzmir–Aydın line, entered service in 1856.

Transportation within the city

Co-ordinated transport was introduced to İzmir in 1999, the first place in Turkey to apply the lessons of integration. A body known as UKOME gives strategic direction to the Metro, the ESHOT bus division, ferry operations, utilities and road developments. İzmir has an integrated pre-pay ticket, the Kentkart (Citycard). The card is valid on metro (subway), buses, ferries and certain other municipal facilities.

Bus

All major districts are covered by a dense municipal bus network under the name ESHOT. The acronym stands for "E elektrik (electricity); S su (water); H havagazı (gas); O otobüs (bus) and T troleybüs (trolleybus)." Electricity, water and gas are now supplied by separate undertakings and the trolleybuses ceased to operate in 1992. However, the bus company has inherited the original name. ESHOT operates about 1,500 buses with a staff of 2,700. It has five garages at Karataş, Gümrük, Basmane, Yeşilyurt and Konak. A privately-owned company, İzulaş, operates 400 buses from two garages, running services under contract for ESHOT. These scheduled services are supplemented by the privately-owned minibus or dolmuş services.

Urban ferries

İzmir Municipality's urban ferry services in the Gulf of İzmir.

Taken over by İzmir Metropolitan Municipality since 2000 and operated within the structure of a private company (İzdeniz), İzmir's urban ferry services for passengers and vehicles are very much a part of the life of the inhabitants of the city, which is located along the deep end of a large gulf. 24 ferries shuttle between 8 quays (clockwise Bostanlı, Karşıyaka, Bayraklı, Alsancak, Pasaport, Konak, Göztepe and Üçkuyular.) Special lines to points further out in the gulf are also put in service during summer, transporting excursion or holiday makers. These services are surprisingly cheap and it is not unusual to see natives or visitors taking a ferry ride simply as a pastime.

Metro

İzmir has a subway network (rapid transit over the surface in parts) that is constantly being extended with new stations being put in service. The network "İzmir Metrosu", consisting of one line, starts from the Üçyol station in Hatay in the southern portion of the metropolitan area and runs towards northeast to end in Bornova. The line is 11.6 km (7.2 mi) long.

İzmir Metro: Halkapınar Station
The stations are: 1) Üçyol, 2) Konak, 3) Çankaya, 4) Basmane, 5) Hilal, 6) Halkapınar, 7) Stadyum, 8) Sanayi, 9) Bölge, 10) Bornova. An extension of the line between Üçyol and Üçkuyular, which aims to serve the southern portion of the city more efficiently, is currently under construction.
Basic fare on the Metro is TRL 1.25 but only TRL 0.95 if the Kentkart is used. About 12% of passengers pay cash and the rest use Kentkart, 35% at reduced rate and 53% at standard rate. The Metro carries about 30 million passengers per year, and by the end of September 2005, 160 million passengers had travelled since the opening of the metro in May 2000.
A more ambitious venture that begun involves the construction of a new 80 km (50 mi) line between the Aliağa district in the north, where an oil refinery and its port are located, and the Menderes district in the south, in order to reach and serve the Adnan Menderes International Airport. This new line will have a connection with the existing one and was scheduled for completion by the autumn of 2008. The line comprises 32 stations and the full ride between the two ends takes 86 minutes.

See also

Media and art mentioning İzmir

Town twinning

The following is a list of İzmir's sister cities.[26]:

Europe
Asia
Africa
Americas
Australia

Books

  • Ekrem Akurgal (2002). Ancient Civilizations and Ruins of Turkey: From Prehistoric Times Until the End of the Roman Empire ISBN 0710307764. Kegan Paul. 
  • George E. Bean. Aegean Turkey: An archaeological guide ISBN 978-0510032005, 1967. Ernest Benn, London. 
  • Cecil John Cadoux (1938). Ancient Smyrna: A History of the City from the Earliest Times to 324 A.D.. Blackwell Publishing. 
  • Daniel Goffman. İzmir and the Levantine world (1550-1650) ISBN 029-59-6932-6, 2000. University of Washington. 
  • C. Edmund Bosworth. Historic Cities of the Islamic World, İzmir pp. 218-221 ISBN 978-9004153882, 2008. Brill Academic Publishers. 

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b Türkiye istatistik kurumu, İlçelere göre şehir ve köy nüfusları, İzmir Address-based population survey 2007. Retrieved on 2009-01-22.
  2. ^ Türkiye istatistik kurumu, Belediye teşkilatı olan yerleşim yerlerinin nüfusları, İzmir Address-based population survey 2007. Retrieved on 2009-01-22.
  3. ^ News Wire: "Hutchison Port Holdings Consortium Wins Port of Izmir Concession". Asia Business News. 2007-05-03. http://www.abnnewswire.net/press/en/36374/Hutchison-Whampoa-Ltd.html News Wire:. 
  4. ^ News article: "Microsoft acquires Devbiz business solutions". WebProNews. http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2007/03/28/microsoft-acquires-devbiz-business-solutions News article:.  See also: List of companies acquired by Microsoft Corporation
  5. ^ Edhem Eldem, Daniel Goffman, David Morgan (1999). The Ottoman City Between East and West: Aleppo, Izmir and Istanbul ISBN 052164304X. Cambridge University Press. 
  6. ^ "Victor Hugo-"Le Captive", published in his book "Les Orientales" (1829)". http://www.izto.org.tr/IZTO/IN/Pearl+of+Aegean/For+Pleasure/alsancak.htm. 
  7. ^ Ekrem Akurgal (1983). Old Smyrna's 1st Settlement Layer and the Artemis Sanctuary. Turkish Historical Society. 
  8. ^ K. Lambrianides. Anatolian Studies, Volume 42, 1992, pp. 75-78 "Preliminary survey and core sampling on the Aegean coast of Turkey". British Institute at Ankara. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0066-1546(1992)42%3C75%3APSACSO%3E2.0.CO%3B2-2 Anatolian Studies, Volume 42, 1992, pp. 75-78. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  9. ^ J.D.Hawkins. Anatolian Studies, Volume 48, 1998, pp. 1-31 "Tarkasnawa King of Mira". British Institute at Ankara. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0066-1546(1998)48%3C1%3ATKOM'B%3E2.0.CO%3B2-G Anatolian Studies, Volume 48, 1998, pp. 1-31. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  10. ^ Molly Miller (1971). The Thalassocracies ISBN 0873950623, 9780873950626. State University of New York Press. . See also Life of Homer (Pseudo-Herodotus) and Cadoux.
  11. ^ For example, Izmir in the Library of Congress Country Studies (Turkey), by the US State Department, by the UN in legal treaty texts, by the British Foreign Office, in Encarta (first listing is Izmir, secondary is İzmir), in Webster's, by the BBC, by the London Times, by CNN, by CBC, by NPR, by the Washington Post. The Turkish spelling İzmir is also seen in English texts, for example, in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  12. ^ Yeşilova Höyük Excavations web site "Yeşilova Höyük excavations". http://www.yesilova.ege.edu.tr Yeşilova Höyük Excavations web site. Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  13. ^ Six other cities claimed Homer as their countryman, these are: Salamis, Argos, Athens, Rhodes, Colophon and Chios.
  14. ^ According to Herodotus, the Ionian seizure of the city from the Aeolians was a celebrated deceit that had occurred in the following manner: Colophonians fleeing internal strife within their Ionian city had taken refuge in Old Smyrna. But soon afterwards, these defectors had taken advantage of an opportunity that had presented itself when native Aeolian Smyrniots had gone outside the city ramparts for a festival in honor of Dionysos, and had taken possession of the city. They forced an agreement upon the former inhabitants who saw themselves obliged to take all their movable assets in the city and leave.
  15. ^ Ronald Syme (1998). p. 162: "Journeys of Hadrian". Dr. Rudolf Hbelt GmbH, Bonn - University of Cologne. http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/ifa/zpe/downloads/1988/073pdf/073159.pdf p. 162:. 
  16. ^ Marjorie H. Dobkin, Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of a City (London: Faber, 1972; reprint: Kent, OH: Kent State University, 1988).
  17. ^ Leyla Neyzi (2004) (in Turkish). Ben kimim? Oral history, identity and subjectivity in Turkey ISBN 9750502698. İletişim. 
  18. ^ "Two faces of modern Turkey". BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6906010.stm. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  19. ^ "Smyrniots in Israel (1/7)" (in Turkish). The newspaper Yeni Asır. http://www.yeniasir.com.tr/a/dizi/israil/israil1.htm. Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  20. ^ Statistics: "İzmir's Economic Profile" (in Turkish). http://www.izto.org.tr İzmir Chamber of Commerce. 2009. http://www.izto.org.tr/IZTO/TC/IZTO+Bilgi/izmir/ekonomi/ Statistics:. 
  21. ^ Information leaf: "İzmir's Foreign Trade Structure" (in Turkish). http://www.izto.org.tr İzmir Chamber of Commerce. 2009. http://www.izto.org.tr/IZTO/TC/IZTO+Bilgi/izmir/ekonomi/eko2.htm Information leaf:. 
  22. ^ Lord Byron's notes on 8 March 1810 during his travels into the region indicate: "Passed the low fort on the right on a tongue of land – immense cannon mouths with marble balls appearing under the fort walls. Obliged to go close to the Castle, on account of shallows on the other side in [the] large bay of Smyrna."
  23. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for İzmir, Turkey". Weatherbase. 2007. http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather.php3?s=81271&refer=&units=us=. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  24. ^ "Izmir Food: Boyoz and Kumru". Eatinizmir. 2007. http://www.eatinizmir.com/trademark-tastes-of-izmir-1. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  25. ^ "Izmir News". http://www.rollsrein.de/izmir.html. 
  26. ^ "Sister cities of İzmir (1/7)" (in Turkish). http://www.izmir-yerelgundem21.org.tr/kardes.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  27. ^ "Wrocław Official Website - Partnership Cities of Wrocław" (in English, German, French and Polish). http://www.wroclaw.pl/p/964/. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 

External links and resources


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Izmir is a rapidly growing modern town in Turkey.

Understand

İzmir is the third largest city in Turkey with a population of around 3.7 million, the second biggest port after Istanbul, and a very good transport hub. Once the ancient city of Smyrna, it is now a modern, developed, and busy commercial center, set around a huge bay and surrounded by mountains. The broad boulevards, glass-fronted buildings and modern shopping centers 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.

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 here around the 8th century BC. The Aeolians, the first greek settlers, were eventually taken over by the (also greek) 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 center, despite its frequent earthquakes. It was cosmopolitan, with mainly Greek Orthodox and also Jews and Muslims, and many languages were spoken amongst locals and visiting traders.

Following World War I and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, on the basis of major Greek-speaking population of the area, Greece was granted a mandate over Izmir from the Allies and so Greece took control of the whole Aegean Area. Led by Kemal Ataturk the Turkish army launched a counter-attack and seized the city. Soon thereafter 70% of the city burned to the ground. The big fire ended the multinational era of the city. Ataturk formally took Izmir on 9 September 1922 which is celebrated as the day of city's independence in Izmir.

Get in

By train

Izmir has two railway stations: Basmane in the city center is the major terminal for intercity trains, and Alsancak in the north is mainly a commuter and local route.

The main intercity services include: Ankara (Mavi Tren is the fastest at 14 hours), Denizli (3 express trains daily, 5-6 hours) and Isparta (9 hours). Trains for Istanbul connect with a ferry at Bandirma.

Basmane Station Tel: +90 232 484 8638 Alsancak Station Tel: +90 232 458 3131

By boat

There is a weekly ferry from Istanbul-Izmir (19 hours), operating at weekends, and one or two weekly ferries between Izmir and Venice (67 hours). All ferries dock at the Alsancak Ferry Terminal, 2km north of the city center.

Alsansak Yeni Liman (terminal) Tel: + 90 232 464 8864 / 89. Fax: +90 232 464 7834.

By plane

Adnan Menderes Airport, 16km south of the city center, has several daily flights to Istanbul, Ankara and Antalya. There are also regular flights from many European cities. Airport buses (HAVAS) meet incoming flights and go to and from the city center for 10 lira (be sure to get off the bus in the centre of town, as the bus continues north to Tersana) and there are hourly trains to Alsancak Station. There are also ESHOT buses run by the city council which are cheaper than HAVAS. It costs only 4 lira.

Airport Tel : +90 232 274 2187. Fax: +90 232 274 2071

Iz Air [1] operates from Turkey and has flights to a lot of places in Turkey.

By bus

The bus station, or otogar, is 6km north east of town although there are plenty of dolmus that make the journey there from the centre. The bus station is huge and has an Internet cafe, plenty of facilities for food and drink and a large number of agencies selling tickets for coaches which, if departing imminently, they will be shouting out the destinations of. It also has pay toilets.

Buses to Istanbul take 9 hours (including a brief trip on a ferry) and travellers are provided with water, hot drinks, snacks and regular stops for toilets and food all for free on the better services for fares around 35YTL per person one way.

  • Walking in Izmir - you can explore Izmir by inside city walking. Walking Routes [2] to center of city ar very easy to walk and enjoyable.
  • Public ferries are easy, fast inside the coast and gives a nice shot of Izmir. Preferable to every other transportation in nice weather.
  • There is a big public bus system covers all of the city.
  • Many taxis with normal price.
  • There is also a metro line connecting city centre/Konak Square with the northeastern suburb of Bornova.
  • Konak Square: It is famous for the clock tower, one of the unique smybols of Izmir. The clock tower was built in 1901. There are also Konak Yali Mosque and Kemeraltı Bazaar located around the square.
  • Asansör (Elevator): It was constructed by a Jewish businessman in 1907. The purpose was to help residents to go to their districts on the top of the hill. The elevator used to work by a water-driven mechanism. Later, it was restored by Izmir Municipality and now it works by electricity. There is a restaurant located on the top of the elevator with a bird-eye view of Izmir.
  • Teleferik (Teleferic): Having served since 1977, it carries people to 423 m. up above the sea level. There are restaurants, cafes and gift shops located on the top of the hill.(in construction)
  • Beaches: Having a coastline on Aegean sea, Izmir owns lots of beaches which are not too far from the city center. There is public transportation available to most of them. The places include Foça, Dikili, Urla, Seferihisar, and Çeşme.
  • Alsancak, small streets with lots of bars in old Greek houses, where you can have tea or a beer and try several waterpipe flavors.
  • Kadifekale, old castle on the hill which it's named after.
  • Agora, remains of the Roman Empire.
  • Walk around at Kordon, Alsancak. You can walk around beside the Aegaen Sea.
  • Kemeralti: A must see. A big bazaar, where you can buy clothes, presents etc. There are also a lot of lounges where you can sit.
  • Kizlaragasi Hani: An old kervansaray in Kemeralti where you can shop for carpets and jewelry
  • Take the boat from Konak to Karsiyaka.

Buy

You can go to Konak Pier, a small mall along the Kordon with a cinema and with local and other known brands. Another mall is called Forum, in Bornova. Forum is a very big mall with all brands and a supermarket in a Mediterreanean style one floored houses in open air. Kemeraltı (in the city center) offers great deal of souveniers in a nice traditional athmosphere.

  • Melons, because Izmir has a warm climate so melons are always local and fresh.
  • Izmir has a famous restaurant that serves the region's specialties, especially shish kebabs.
  • Fish, grilled sea bass and mezes. Usually the fish is fresh and plenty in all seasons. Veli Usta offers great deal of fish in Alsancak.
  • Kumru, a warm sandwich, made with a special bread with sesame seeds, Turkish sausage, grilled cheese and tomatoes, also a vegetarian version is available without the sausage and with the addition of green pepper. This is something not to be missed while in Izmir, because it's almost impossible to find it anywhere else in the country. It's sold at numerous stalls in the streets. Best to be eaten earlier in the day to have it warm as they find their way out of bakeries in the morning. Two of them is more than enough to appease you hunger and 1.25 TL is the standard price per each throughout the city.
  • Tulum Peyniri, a kind of cheese specially made in Izmir region.
  • Copsis Kebab at Topcu in Cankaya
  • Belkahve: izmir from the eye of Ataturk in 1922 [3]
  • Boyoz, another local pastry but much oilier than kumru, to eat with a cup of tea in the breakfast.
  • All pubs and cafe's in Kordon (Alsancak's waterfront) are attractive in nice weather.
  • 1448 Sokak at Alsancak is full of bars and pubs from one end to another. They also have seats out on the sidewalk, and the uniform price for a bottle of beer (a pint/0.50 litre) is 3.50 TL all along the street.

Sleep

In Izmir there are several hotels. Hilton is very close to city center in Alsancak, and Swissotel is opened this year which is also located in Alsancak. Also there is Crowne Plaza, which is about 30 min. from center.

Stay at Hotel Yaman, located at 1440 Sokak in Alsancak.

  • Cesme a small village for all summer activities, half an hour drive to Izmir.
  • Selcuk, a few hours by bus or train to the south of the city, includes Ephesus and Virgin Mary’s House. It is also a few kilometers away from Kuşadası.
  • Tire, takes only an hour to arrive from the city center, a typical Aegean town, you can visit Turkey's biggest open town market on Tuesdays and have a good lunch in Kaplan with typical Aegean foods and famous meatballs of Tire.
Routes through Izmir
CanakkaleBergama  N noframe S  SelcukDenizli
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