The legendary female warriors, the Amazons founded Izmir, or Smyrna as it was called in Ancient Times, according to one story. Alternatively, according to another tale, the Legels established it.


The city is located on the Aegean Coast in the west of Turkey, and the city is the biggest and most important settlement in the Aegean Region. Izmir, which has managed to modernize whilst preserving its archaeological and historical assets, is an important trade centre, because of its port. The diversity of activities and resources that Izmir is able to provide makes it a very attractive are for tourism. It boasts both spas with healing thermal waters,and the deep blue sea with beaches displaying the safety symbol of the blue flag.

The city known as “Beautiful Izmir” in Turkey, is located at the start of a long and narrow gulf, decorated with yachts, passenger ships and gulf steamers. It has a warm climate and the cooling sea breeze in the summer  takes away the burning heat of the sun. Izmir, which enjoys a special cultural and historical identity, is the third largest in Turkey. As a live and cosmopolitan city, it occupies a significant place in Turkey`s cultural life with the international Arts Festival and Internatinal Fair.

“I am 8500 years old...” says Izmir. This metropolis, which is a cornucopia of civilizations and mythology in ancient lonia, has been home to the Amazons, Lydians, Persians, Alexander the Great and his generals, Romans, Arabs, Umayyads, Byzantines, Seljuk and Ottomans throughout thousands of years of history.

Izmir is attractively multi-cultural. From the perspective of cultural identity, its present socio-demographic composition is still characterized by tolerance towards different religions and cultural due to its Levantine, Jewish and Christian heritage. The synagogues and churches, which are open to visitors and still used, are important signs of this multi-cultural character.


Summers, due to Mediterranean climate in the region are hot and dry, while winters are warm and rainy. The temperature rarely drops below zero in the winter months. This temperature climate means that for rmost of the year it is a good place for outdoor pursuits and water sports.


    Throughout history, Izmir has been a port city and Konak is the city centre of Izmir. Following recent restorations this area has also been turned into a recreational centre, and thus is now a lively spot throughout the day. In the square can be seen: - the monumental statue of Hasan Tahsin, who fired the “first bullet” at the occupation forces during the War of Liberation, the Yali Mosque decorated with tiles from Kutahya, the Clock Tower, the Municipality Building and the Governor`s Office.


    Built between the year 1868 and 1872. The Turkish flag, raised at the Governor`s Office, marked the arrival of the Turkish army on September 9, 1922. This event symbolized the liberation of Izmir, giving this location particular importance


    The Clock Tower, which is a symbol of Izmir, is located at Konak Square, and is a favourite meeting place for today`s residents of Izmir. The Clock Tower was designed by the Levantine French architect, Raymond Charles Pere in 1901 in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the ascension of Abdulhamit II. In the construction, the use of iron and lead elements between the cut stone meant that the tower was rendered earthquake resistant. The clock in the tower was a gift from Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany to Sultan Abdulhamit II of the Ottoman Empire as the symbol of their personal friendship besides the Turk-German friendship. The fountains located on all the four corners of the wide chamber under the Clock Tower have also given the tower the characteristics of a şadırvan (fountain used for ritual ablutions and usually located in the middle of a mosque courtyard). Another feature of the tower is the city gas installation built inside it. In the past, this was used as a lighting source at night and in the evenings.


    Izmir`s first settlement

    The history of Izmir was re-written as a result of the excavations carried out by the Archaeological Department of the Aegean University in the District of Bornova in the 2000`s. Significant artefacts such as reliefs and small statues of animals, arrows made from flint stone, short handled spoons made of fired earth and seals with labyrinth motifs were unearthed particularly at Yeşilova Höyüğü (Mound) and classified as dating back to the Neolithic Period. These are very recent historical developments for Izmir, and these finds have proved that the city had been a continuous settlement for 8500 years.


    The second most well known ancient settlement in Izmir is located at a place currently called Bayrakli Tepekule, and dates back to 3000 B.C Bayrakli, which was under water in Ancient Times, was built on a peninsula extending out towards the Gulf of Izmir. Bayrakli at that period exhibited contemporary characteristics with Troy I and II. Megaron-style, rectangular designed houses dating back from the 10th century B.C to the 7th century B.C in the settlement where proto-geometric pots were unearthed have the characteristics of the Archaic Period.


    Izmir`s first crown

    Taking a bird`s eyes view of Izmir and the port, Kadifekale, which was called Pagos in Ancient Times, has the characteristics of an acropolis due to its position at an altitude of 186m. The ruins of walls on the western and southern parts, comprising of five towers, date back to the period of Lysimachus, one of the generals of Alexander the Great. The settlement in Izmir was re-located to Kadifekale from Bayrakli in the period that followed the arrival of Alexander the Great in Anatolia in 334 B.C. According to the geographer Strabo, the urban core of Izmir, which was one of the 12 most beautiful Ionian cities, extending from Kadifekale to the port, comprised of streets paved with smooth stones, a temple dedicated to the mother goddess and Homer, a theatre, agora, which was a lively trade centre, a stadium, grain warehouses, water cisterns and aqueducts.


    Centre for arts, trade and philosophy

    Agora, etymologically, means “city square, shopping centre, market place”. At the heart of all trade, Agora with its open vaulted three walled porches, monuments, altars and statues had commercial, judicial, religious and political functions besides it was a venue for intensive artistic activities. It was also the place where the foundations of philosophy were laid. The agora located in the District of Namazgah in Izmir dates back to the Roman Period (2nd C. A.D.), and according to the grid planned Hippodamos model, it was built on three floors at a location near the centre. Of all the Roman Agorae, the Agora in Izmir is the largest and best preserved. It is understood that the Agora in Izmir was a composite structure in a rectangular form, built on arches and surrounded by columns with a central courtyard; it has three floors and a staircase in front of it. It is also understood that the relief of the Goddess Vesta at the northern gate of the agora is an extension of the reliefs from the Zeus Altar unearthed in the initial period of excavations. In addition to some statues of various gods, namely Hermes, Dionysus, Eros and Heracles, many artefacts including statues of men, women and animals, reliefs, figurines, marbles, bones, glasses, metal works and articles made of fired earth were uncovered. The newly unearthed inscriptions provided information about the people who assisted the city during an earthquake which occurred in Izmir in 178.


    A historic bazaar

    Kemeralti is a historic bazaar covering an area extending from the Neighbourhood of Mezarlikbasi to Konak Square. Anafartalar Avenue, that constitutes the main street of the bazaar, forms a wide curve. This curve stems from the fact that the street once surrounded the perimeters of the internal port, which existed in previous centuries. As in the past, Kemeralti Bazaar is a major shopping centre in Izmir today. The bazaar, having an outdoor visitors a rich variety of products and services ranging from traditional Turkish handicrafts like ceramics, tile panels, wooden products, copper, carpets, rugs and leather products, to delicious Aegean foodstuffs.


    Modern Shopping Centre

    Gustav Eiffel, in his offices in France, designed Konak Pier, which is also within walking distance of the business and commercial centres such as Alsancak and Konak, before it was built in the Ottoman Period between 1875 and 1890. It served as a customs building until the mid-20th century. Famous for its steel construction, this structure has been restored and re-designed as a modern shopping and recreational centre. There are restaurants, cafes cinemas, and about 50 stores in a 20.000m2 area of this centre which was re-named the Konak Pier.


    Source of inspiration for poets and songs

    Kordonboyu is just like a pearl necklace running along the coast in the District of Alsancak, enjoying the popularity it has received for providing the inspiration for many poems and songs. It offers romantic sunsets, sea breezes, cafes, fish restaurants, stylish stores, parades, running and biking courses. It also provides an ideal atmosphere for entertainment and recreational activities, bringing together the people of Izmir.


    Built in 1667, the mosque comprises of a large dome on a square space and four domes surrounding it. It is rumoured that its magnificent mihrab (niche in a mosque wall indicating the decoration of Mecca) was brought from Isa Bey Mosque in Seljuk.


    Yali (Konak) Mosque at Konak Square, built in the 18th century, is noteworthy for its tiles and octagonal plan and is one of the most elegant mosque in Izmir. The mosque decorated with turquoise tiles bends in totally with Konak Square and has become the second symbol of Izmir after the Clock Tower.


    Hisar Mosque

    Located adjacent to Kizlaragasi Han in Kemeralti is one of the biggest mosques in Izmir, Hisar Mosque, built in 1957. The mosque was built of cut stone. The interior decor displays many beautiful examples of the Ottoman Decorative Arts.



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