Izmir


Izmir is the pearl of the Aegean, a fascinating city whose history begins in the mists of legend. Turkey’s third largest city and second most important port, Izmir is the center of tourism in the region. This modern city still retains traces of its ancient, Ottoman and Levantine past.

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AGORA

Revealed in central Izmir during excavations carried out in 1932-1941 in the district of Namazgah. eovering an area of 120 x 80 m, the agora throws invaluable light on Roman period Izmir. it was not only a market place, but the location of public institutions and the Temple of Zeus. The agora is open to the public between 9.00 -12.00 and 13.00 -18.00. The statues found here are on exhibit in Izmir Archaeological Museum.

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ALSANCAK

A select neighbourhood with a unique character in modern Izmir. Stretching from the waterfront esplanade inland most of the area has been transformed into a pedestrian precinct, so there is no trarffic to disturb shoppers and strollers.The streets lined by modern buildings and attractive shops lead onto the square where Alsancak station stands. Dating from 1858 the colonial architecture of the station distinguishes it in style from the rest of the city. Trains to Buca, Aydin and Denizli depart from here.

ANGLICAN CHURCH

This church was built in 1835 by Levantines of English extraction living in Buca. The church is famous for its wood carving, beautiful stained glass windows and huge organ.

ASANSOR

The city’s famous public elevator, and a symbol of Izmir. This elevator links Mithatpasa street below with Halil Rifat Pasa street at the summit of the precipitous hill. It was built in 1907 and restored by the municipality in 1993. The upper terrace has a breathtaking view over the city and the bay. Here there is an Open-air cafe, a restaurant and a Genoese tavern.

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BALCOVA

This spa is on the outskirts of Izmir on the road to Urla and Çesme. Turn left at Inciralti crossroads to reach Balçova thermal springs one kilometer down the road. Known as the Agamemnon Springs in antiquity, this may have been the first hydrotherapy center of the ancient world. Today there are modern facilities for visitors to the hot springs and luxury hotels. The temperature of the water is 63 degrees C.

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BARLAR SOKAGI

Street of Bars. Some of the attractive old houses under conservation order in Alsancak now house bars and restaurants.

BASMANE

In this district are Izmir’s oldfashioned shopping streets, the park where the famous Izmir Fair is held each summer, and Basmane station. The trains to Manisa, and suburban rail buses to Bornova and other destinations leave from this station.

BORNOVA

A suburb of Izmir, Bornova was the hub of the Levantine community in the late l9th and 20th centuries. Today it houses the campus of Ege University The Izmir-Manisa road passes through Bornova, which is linked to the city centre by a 7 km railway line.

BUCA

Once Izmir’s summer resort, Buca is today part of the city. With a population of 200000 in 1990, Buca is today a commercial and university district. The British Levantine merchants who ran businesses in Izmir from the late l8th century onward s built imposing mansions here. Not until the 1950s did Buca undergo radical change as various institutions moved into the mansions, whose extensive gardens are under conservation.

CLIMATE

Typical mediterranean climate, with hot dry summers and warm wet winters. The average temperature is 18 degrees C. Snowfall is extremely rare, and approximately 148 days of the year are clear and sunny.

CLOCK TOWER

Another symbol of the city, this picturesque clock tower in Konak Meydan was build in 1901 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Abduhamit II’s accession to the throne. The clock itsetf was a gift of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. The 25 m high tower is currently being restored.

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CESME

This popular and attractive resort west of lzmir is famous for its modern hotels, sparkling clean sea and wonderful sandy beaches.

FOCA

A picturesque fishing town 50 km north of Izmir. A magnet for holliday makers during summer today, Foca was an important Ionian town in antiquity. The Phokaians were famed for their commercial prowess, courage and seamanship. They establishe d trading cololnies at distant ports, and were the founders of the French port of Marseilles (the ancient Massalia).

HISAR MOSQUE

The city’s most magnificent mosque in the district of Hisar next to Kemeralti office complex. The mosque was built by Yakup Bey in 1592. It is roofed by a large dome resting on eight piers, and noted for the decoration on the altar ni che and pulpit.

HOUSE OF THE VIRGIN MARY

This holy Christian shrine on Mt.Bulbul between Selcuk and Ephesus was sanctifìed by Pope Paul VI in 1967, after the Vatican confirmed that the Virgin Mary had spent the last years of her life here. Numerous travel agencie s in Izmir organise day tours to the House of the Virgin Mary and Ephesus.

KADIFEKALE

Velvet Castle, to be literal. This 4th century BC castle commands a bird’s eye view of Izmir and is th perfect place to watch the sun set over the city.

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KARSIYAKA

The name of this district of Izmir on the north shore off Izmir Bay means “opposite shore”, as indeed it is. The inhabitants of this pleasant residential area with its Own esplanade claim an identity distinct from the rest of the city. In their view, Karsiyaka is a town in its own right with an individual cultulre and history.

KEMERALTI

The old fashioned shopping district of Izmir, consisting of narrow streets winding their way from Konak towards central Izmir around Anafartalar Caddesi. Here you can find jewellers, drapers, shoemaker, and shops specialising in all kind s of goods from leather to olives and cheese. The atmosphere of an earlier century still pervades the bulidings here, with their distinctive 19th century doorways and roof tiles.

KORDON

The famous esplanade between Konak Meydan and Alsancak is packed with promenaders on weekends and fine evenings. As families and young lovers hand in hand stroll along the waterfront, horse-drawn phaetons with colourful ponpons swinging from the harnesses es trot past, and cars cruise by. Izmir’s esplanade is the subject of a popular old song:”My lover seemed to say/Let us meet on the Kordon one day/Perhaps at ten o’clock”.

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SELCUK

A town in the foothills of the Aydin mountains 94 km south of Izmir. SeIcuk is the site of Ephesus Museum, a magnificent castle and the 6th century Basilica of St.John. The road to the resorts of Marmaris and Bodrum passes through Selcuk, w hile Kusadasi, port of call for many yachts and cruise liners, is just a twenty minute drive to the north.

SMYRNA

The ancient name for Izmir and the heroic Amazon who founded the city according to Herodotus and Strabon.

TEOS

The ruins of Teos are set amidst olive groves at one end of Sigacik harbour near Seferihisar, famous for its beaches and thermal springs. Thales relates that Teos was selected as capital of the league of twelve Ionian cities in the 7th centur y BC. The largest temple of Dionysus ever built in Teos.

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URLA

Urla is a resort 42 km from Izmir n the road to Cesme. Izmirians spend their summers and weekends here, the site of the ancient Ionian city of Klazomenai. This city was the birthplace of the illustrious philosopher Anaxogoras, and is latterly also famous for a local pastry dish “katmer” and for its meat and fis restaurants.