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ABOUT IZMIR

Izmir is one of oldest settlements of the Mediterranean basin. The last excavations have shown tha the settlement of the city reaches to 8500 B.C. The city was first established both on Yeşilova Mound, which is on Meles River's small delta, and on Yassıtepe that is contiguous to it.

The city was conveyed into Bayraklı with Truva in 3000 B.C., the period when Anatolia had the most developed culture. Izmir came under the influence of Central Anatolian Hittite Empire in 1500 B.C. Later, having been called Smyrna, the city came under the rule of the Lonians in the first thousand years of B.C. and lived its most splendid periods



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The golden age of the city ended when it was conquered by Lydians around 600 B.C. Izmir turned into a small city in periods of Lydians and after them, Persian Empire of the 6th century B.C. In 4th century B.C., during the regency of Alexander the Great, a new city was established on the foot of Kadifekale. The Roman Period, which started in the first century of B.C. has been called as the second golden age of Smyrna. The Byzantium started in the 4th century and lasted until the conquest of Great Seljuq Empire in the 11th century. Izmir became a part of Ottoman Empire in 1415.

After defeat of Ottoman Empire in First World War, the occupancies started and with fire of liberty in 1919, İzmir led off a new age on the day of 9 September in 1922.


HISTORICAL AND TOURISIC ATTRACTIONS;

KADIFEKALE

Hellenistic period started in the region as a result of Alexander’s arrival to the Anatolia and his termination of Persian dominance(334-133 B.C.). With Hellenes, they brought their urbanisation project which was suitable for their sense of urbanisation. What Hellenes wanted was a city which could compete with the cities such as Ephesus, Pergamum, Rhodes and Alexandria, where trade and harbour management had developed. It was impossible to establish such a city in old Izmir because of both location and smallness of the area. Then, Alexander thought of establishing a new city on Pagos Hill and foot, which is known as Kadifekale now. According to the legend, when Alexander, the Great, came to Izmir, he was fallen a sleep under a giant plane tree while he was hunting in Nemesis Holy area in sylvan Pagos Hill-today’s Kadifekale. (People in Izmir hallow double Nemesis, that is dual naiad.) The two Nemesis that he saw in his dream wanted him to establish new Izmir on the foot of the hill, where he was sleeping. When he woke up, he told his dream to Klaros’s Apollon soothsayer and asked his opinion. The soothsayer interpreted his dream with only one sentence:

“Smyrnians will settle down on the foot of Pagos Hill, near Holy Melezos Brook and they will be happier four times than they used to be.”

In the establishment of modern Izmir, instead of believing the interpretation of Alexander’s dream in Pagos Hill, it is a more scientific approach for today to believe in this settlement because of the developing potential of sea and land trade around the area. Finally, Lysimachos practiced the establisment of Izmir when he killed his opponent, General Antiganos in 302 B.C. He started to build the city on Pagos Hill and shoulders with a view of Inland Port. Therefore, having been deterritorialized by the invasion of Lydians 400 years ago and lived in the area of Melezos Brook in small villages, Smyrnians, the fellow townsmen of Homer, came and settled down in Izmir.

Having had the biggest potential in trade of Anatolia, Izmir was developed well and neatly with aqueducts, gymnasion, stadium, theatre and agora. The theatre in Pagos was for 16.000 people and the tribune on the northward offered a romantic and excellent seaview. It ıs known that the walls of the theatre survived until 1638.


GOLDEN ROAD

With the present traces found at Kadifekale it is understood that there were two ways to reach the sea from the Acropolis, one was from Basmane (Sardis Road), The other one was from Esrefpasa (Ephesus Road). Some remains were found of the Sardis Road in Basmane and around Bahribaba Park some ruins of the Ephesus Road (Altinyol). It is stil used as a public bazaar. The Agora in Izmir (at Namazgah) belongs to Roman period with the current view. Agora was the place politicians used to hold their meetings and also it was the place for shopping in ancient times. The Agora of Izmir had a view of stateagora more than a commercial one. Agora was devastated by an earthquake in 178 BC but the Emperor Marcus Aurelius had it reconstructed. Between 1932-1941 the earliest excavations were carried out. A very large part of Izmir’s Agora was uncovered. It was understood that it had beenbuilt in a rectangular shape around a big courtyard (120 x 180 m) and on the columns and was a composite with three floors having stairs in front of it. As the result of recent excavations, it has been proved that the Agora of Izmir is the largest agora in the the world.


AGORA

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.


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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.


KIZILCULLU AQUADUCTS

These Roman aquaducts were built on the Meles (Kemer) river to bring fresh water to the city. They're from late Roman period and double arches were built by bricks and stones stick together with Roman mortar. Same aquaducts were restored and used also by Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans. Today only few sections left from a long aquaduct which can be seen at Sirinyer (old Kizilcullu) district driving from the airport to the city center.


IZMIR CLOCK TOWER

Izmir Clock Tower (Turkish: Izmir Saat Kulesi) is a historic clock tower located at the Konak Square in Konak district of Izmir, Turkey. The clock tower was designed by the Levantine French architect Raymond Charles Père and built in 1901 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Abdul Hamid II's (reigned 1876–1909) accession to the throne.

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The clock itself was a gift of German Emperor Wilhelm II (reigned 1888–1918). It is decorated in an elaborate Ottoman architecture. The tower, at a height of 25 m (82 ft), features four fountains, which are placed around the base in a circular pattern, and the columns are inspired by North African themes.

KEMERALTI

Kemeraltı is a historical market (bazaar) district of İzmir, Turkey. It was originally formed around the street surrounding the shallow inner bay of the city, which was filled in due course during the 17th century, availing the bazaar to be extended to a wider area. The street, that traces a wide curve and called today as Anafartalar Street (Caddesi), and known historically as the Street of the Mevlevis, in reference to the presence of a "dergah" (a building designed for gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood) situated by the street, constitutes the principal axis of Kemeraltı. The district covers a vast area extending from the level of the Agora of Smyrna (the quarters of Namazgah, Mezarlıkbaşı and İkiçeşmelik), to the seashore along the Konak Square. It remains one of the liveliest parts of İzmir.

The first step that paved the way for the emergence of the present-day Kemeraltı area was the building in 1592 of Hisar Mosque. It is the oldest and one of the most significant Ottoman landmarks in İzmir, although built by Aydınoğlu Yakup Bey, a descendant of the dynasty that had founded the Beylik of the same name (Aydınoğlu) which had controlled İzmir prior to the Ottoman conquest. The name of the mosque, which means "fortress", makes reference to the Genoese castle of "San Pietro", previously called Neon Kastron in Byzantine times, part of which used to stand on the same location and which gradually disappeared in whole with the construction of new buildings on its spot. The final remains of the castle were cleared up during the construction of new port installations between 1867-1876.


KIZLARAGASI INN

One of İzmir’s most important structures is the Kızlarağası Hanı. This inn was built in 1741. This two-storey rectangular structure, which has an iner courtyard and four entrances, is a rare example of Ottoman architecture found İzmir. The inn was restored in 1933 and today serves as a centre for sale of antique goods, authentic gifts, second-hand boks, jewellery and leather products. It also contains several tea salons and coffeehouses.


DONERTAS FOUNTAIN

Located in Basmane-Donertas. Donertas Fountain was named after the rotating column in the corner, and the area in the vicinity is called by this name. It was built at the beginning of the 19th century, with a single dome and a square plan. The fountain is one of the most beautiful examples of the Turkish baroque style.

Of particular note are the bouquet vase and the fruit bowl compositions, the relief decorations on the marble, with a theme peculiar to the Tulip Age. As decorative elements, tulips, roses, flower buds, leaves, branches and other similar plants have been used. The structure is one of the best examples of fountain architecture in Izmir.


CHURCH OF SAİNT POLYCARP (IZMIR CHURCH)

Built with the permission of Süleyman the Magnificent in 1625, this church is the oldest church in Izmir, which is still in service. The interior, famous for its glamorous frescoes and wall decorations, depicts the killing of Saint Polycarp, the protective saint of Izmir, by the Romans in the ancient stadium at Kadifekale. Architect Raymond Charles Pere, a native of Izmir, who restored the frescoes in the 19th century, depicted himself as someone watching the event helplessly with his hands tied. Mary Pere, the daughter of Charles Pere, is depicted as the child Mary in the scene "The Saint Mother and Child Mary" on the sidewall of the northern nave.


THE ELEVATOR


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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.


GOVERNOR'S OFFICE

Built between the years 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.


DIRECTORATE OF CULTURE AND TOURISM BUILDING

It was built as Izmir Mercantile Exchange in 1891 and continued until 1919. After the occupation in 1921, it was used of the Greek National Bank. This building has used the Central Post Office after 1922.Now, it is using as Tourism Directorate of Izmir.

A typical example of architecture of 19th century stone head of Izmir, especially the structure and the banisters with wrought-iron fence gate icicle Art Nouveau style.


NATIONAL LIBRARY AND THE ALHAMBRA IN IZMIR CINEMA

Built by Turkish architectural Pioneer Tahsin Sermet, this structure is located on Nadir Nadi Avenue. (Nadir Nadi was the first Beyler ruler.) The cinema section of the building was opened in 1926 and the library in 1933. Today, this building, which alsohouses the İzmir State Opera and Balet and the Public Library, is a representative structure of Izmir.


IZMIR STATE THEATRE (THE OLD TURKISH ASSOCIATON BUILDING)

The building constructed in 1925 as the Izmir Branch of the Turkish Assocation was designed by the architect Necmettin Bey. The two-storey domed structure is an elegant example of the 1st National architectural style.


GRAND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF TURKEY SOVEREIGNTY HOUSE (THE OLD MUNICIPALITY BUILDING)

Grand National Assembly of Turkey Sovereignty House which is known as old municipality building is at Hisaronu. This building which was used fort he Works of Countrywide Resistance Organization during the years of national war and as municipality building for many years has been active as center of culture and art since 1997.

There is cafe and historical Star Porcelains which were produced with cultural broadcast at a limited number abiding to their originals and Hereke Carpets on the firstfloor of the building and on the secondfloor of the building, there is a permanent art gallery about Ataturk,an exhibition hall and a showroom.


ALSANCAK AND ALSANCAK STATION

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.


HALIL RIFAT PASHA MANSION

The facade of Halil Rifat Pasha Mansion which was built at the end of the 19th century. Face the street one of the flanks fronts faces the road with atairs for the pedestrians and the rest two front face the yard at the back and on the side. The mansion was put to service after the completion of the restoration and renovation of the structure in accordance with its original design. And iı is stil used as a Culture and Education Centre by Toulov Foundation.


CULTURE PARK

The Culture Park is one of the largest areas of greenery within the city. In addition to the beautiful Mediterrnean palm trees lining the park, there are also various other plants and flowers. Culture Park is İzmir’s largest recration centre, with its zoo, gardens, funfair, sports facilities, theatres, open-air cinema and more. The İzmir International Fair is held at the Culture Park Fairground every year between Aug. 26 and Sept. 10. The atmosphere generated by this event is one worth experiencing. The slope of Kadifekale was the site of İzmir’s second settlement, following the community established at the Tepekule tumulus. Known as the Pagos Hills in those days, Kadifekale served as the city’s centre of defence for hundreds of years. With its huge potential and important position in Anatolia’s commercial activities İzmir, throughout history, has always managed to preserve as well-organised and developed city plan with its gymnasiums, stadiums, theatres, agora, aqueducts, cisterns and magnificent castle.


PERGAMON

The remains of this magnificent ancient city are situated north of Imir. Founded in the early 3rd century BC, Pergamon was the most powerful and extensive kingdom of Western Anatolia throughout the Hellenistic periold. Parchment is though t to have been invented here. On the hill which rises steeply in the centre of Pergamum is the Acropolis and the world's steepest amphitheatre with seating for 16,000 people. The remains of temples Of Athena and Dionysus. The splendid altar of Zeus at the entrance of the Acropolis was taken to Berlin Museum by Carl Humann in 1871. A fligth of 20 steps leads up to this remarkable structure, which dwarfs the room at Berlin Museum, as it awaits expectantly the day when it will be released from confinement and return to its hilltop site in Pergamum.The ruins of the Asclepion on the plain below reveal almost all the original features as a result of the excavations. Named after the god of medicine Asclepios, this complex was one of the foremost heath cent ers of the ancient world.


SIRINCE VILLAGE

This pretty old Orthodox village, 12 km away from Ephesus and 30 km from Kusadasi, was once Cirkince ("ugly"). Indeed its habitants gave this name on purpose as they did not want to be bothered by foreigners nor to share the beauty of their village.

Still after years, visitors understood that the village was not ugly at all and called it Sirince ("pretty"). As the village is located on the top of a mountain, anyone will enjoy the impressive wine yards' and peach trees' views on his way.


Today the village is a perfect synthesis of Turk-Greek culture as of the 1920's: after the Independence War, people exchange between Greek and Turks has occurred and all those typical Greek houses, though they kept their original outside characteristics, have received the local layout inside. The most beautiful specimens are open to visitors. And even in the courtyard of one of them, one will discover a nicely restorated Orthodox church.


All the narrow streets of the village belong to the women, selling handcrafts of all kinds, olive oil. Another attraction of Sirince is its wine: try its taste in small cafés or in the former municipal school restorated.


Though Sirince Village is developing its tourism very quickly, it has been able to preserve its authenticity and the meaning of its name.


TORBALI(METROPOLIS):

The classical city of Metropolis is situated in western Turkey near Torbali - approximately 40 km SE of Izmir The city was first investigated through archaeological field work from 1972 by Professor Recep Meriç from the Dokuz Eylü University, Izmir. Metropolis has been excavated since 1989. Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods are represented. The earliest known settlement at the site is from the Neolithic showing evidence of contact and influence with the Troy I littoral culture. An as yet undeciphered seal written in hieroglyphics similar to those of the Hittites has been found in the acropolis of Metropolis. The Hittite kingdom of Arzawa had its capital Apasas (later Ephesus) some 30 km to the south west. Metropolis was a part of the Hellenistic kingdom of Pergamum and during this period the city reached a zenith of cultural and economic life. A temple dedicated to the war god Ares, one of only two known such temples, has been located here.

What is visible today is primarily a Hellenistic city heavily Romanised, and with Byzantine remains laid across it – a church to the east of the city, and fortification walls laid across city that connect to the Hellenistic defenses on the Acropolis.


EPHESUS

Ephesus (Ancient Greek Ἔφεσος; Turkish Efes) was an ancient Greek city on the west coast of Anatolia, in the region known as Ionia during the period known as Classical Greece. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League.


The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, which was destroyed by a mob led by St. John Chrysostom in 401 AD. The emperor Constantine I rebuilt much of the city and erected new public baths. The town was again partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614. The importance of the city as a commercial centre declined as the harbor slowly filled with silt from the river Cayster (Küçük Menderes).


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Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John might have been written here. It is also the site of a large gladiator graveyard.

Today's archaeological site lies 3 kilometers south of the Selçuk district of İzmir Province, Turkey. The ruins of Ephesus are a favorite international and local tourist attraction, partly owing to their easy accessibility from Adnan Menderes Airport and via the port of Kuşadası.


House of the Virgin Mary

“The House of the Virgin Mary is a Catholic and Muslim shrine located on Mt. Koressos (Turkish: Bülbüldağı, "Mount Nightingale") in the vicinity of Ephesus, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from Selçuk in Turkey.”


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DID YOU KNOW…?


*Izmir has a history of at least 8000 years,
*The title of the world's third largest statue is “the Statue of Mevlana” in Buca-Izmir,
*Homer, the author of “Iliad and Odyssey” was from Izmir,
*Three of "Seven Churches" in Bible were situated in the boundaries of Izmir,
*Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the world is in Selçuk, Izmir,
*Parchment paper was discovered in Pergamon (Bergama), Izmir
*Foca’s people built boats with 50 oars and 500 passengers capasity in Foca in ancient times,
*Former inhabitants of Foca established a lot of colonies in the Western Mediterranean, which of them in Italy, "Velia", in Spain, "Ampurias" and France "Marseille",
*The first temple in the name of The Goddess Athena was constructed in Izmir,
*Xenophanes (philosopher and poet) lived in the Kolofon in 6th century,Izmir
*The famous philosopher Heraclitus (540-480 BC) lived in Ephesus, Izmir, who said “lightning never strikes twice” that means everything changes,
*Anaxagoras (philosopher) (500-428 BC) lived in Clazomenae (today's Urla), Izmir, The famous physician Galen (131-210.İ.S.) lived in Pergamon, Izmir,
*The first church constructed for Virgin Mary is in Ephesus, Izmir,
*St John, who was one of the four writers of Bible, died and was buried in Selcuk, Izmir,
*Egyptian Queen Cleopatra spent the winter of the year 188 with Antonious in Ephesus, Izmir,
*French writers and poets Lamartine, Chateubriand, Theophile Gautier, and Gustave Flaubert visited Izmir,
*Pope Paul VI. in 1967 and Pope John Paul II. İn 1979 visited the house of Virgin Mary,
*For “The International Izmir Festival", Ray Charles, Paco De Lucia, Joan Baez, Martha Graham *Dance Company, Tanita Tikaram, Jethro Tull, Leningrad Philarmony Orchestra, Christ De Burg, Sting, Moscow State Philarmony Orchestra, Julio Iglesias, Jan Garbarek, Red Army Chorus, Academy of St. Martin in the Field, Kodo, Chick Corea, New York City Ballet, Nigel Kennedy, Brian Adams, Elton John and James Brown had come to Izmir,
*Famous singer Dario Moreno lived in Izmir,
*The first theater of Turkey was built in Bademler Village, Izmir. ?

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