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Former Smyrna, capital of the Aegean region and also called the Pearl of Aegean, is considered by the Turks as the most beautiful and most modern city of the country. Izmir is also the third biggest city and second biggest commercial harbor and counts about 3 million inhabitants. In 2000 Izmir celebrated its 5000 years existence.

    

        IZMIR  

                                   

        

  Izmir index +  nightlife map

    

   Things to see in Izmir

Izmir is a fascinating city, Turkeys third largest and second most important port. It is a modern city backed by mountains and set on a fantastic coastline. It is an ideal base from which to travel to ancient sites as well as coastal resorts.
Archaelogy museum.
This museum contains some excellent exhibits and artefacts from the reigon.Many finds from the Ephesus ans Aphrodisisas can be viewed here. There are sculptures from the Hellenistic period as well as from Classical times. Roman busts and freizes from Miletus are also in this museum. This is a real must see for those of you who are interested in Turkeys ancient art and History.
Clock Tower
This has become something of a landmark in Izmir. This picturesque clock tower was built in 1901 and stands at 25 metres high. The clock was a gift from Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany.
Ethology Museum
This museum has fully furbished rooms from the Ottoman period. You will see the luxuriant lifestyles that they led by the Ottoman
Sultans.
Kultur Park.
This open space was created specifically for leisure and entertainments. Opera is performed here as well as housing a Zoo and Luna park with rides, it has excellent dining and entertainment opportunities. The famous International fair is held here.
HISAR MOSQUE
This is Izmirs most magnificent Mosque. Yakup Bey built the Mosque in 1952. Eight piers support the large dome of the Mosque. The Niche and Pulpit are highly decorated.
Agora
This is in central Izmir, in the district of Namazgah, the Agora is 120x 80 m in area and will give you a real insight of a Roman Bazaar. Ýt was built by Alexander the Great and destroyed by an earthquake in 178AD. Much of the Agora can still be seen as Marcus Aurelius rebuilt it after the Earthquake. Vaulted chambers, Corinthian colonnades can still be seen. There are also three statues here, Poseidon, Demetor, and half of Artemis now on exhibit at The Archaeological Museum.
Agamemnon Thermal Srings.
These are located approximately 15 km from the city centre. These springs that are also known as Balcova Thermal Springs offer excellent opportunities for theraputic treatment. This may have been the first hydrotherapy centre in the world , the waters are 63 dgerees centigrade.
Bird Paradise
This is an eight-hectare Bird Sanctuary on the outskirts of the city. Here there are many species of Bird.
Kadifekale- Velvet Castle
This castle is 2000years old and was built by the Byzantines and Ottomans. It is located on Mount Pagos, a trip to the top of the castle will take around twenty minutes. Once at the top you will be afforded with fantastic views of the city.

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  • Three of the "Seven Churches" which were mentioned in Bible are in Izmir.
  • One of the Seven Wonders of the antiquity, Temple of Artemis is at Ephesus.
  • The symbol of the ancient city of Izmir was a lion's head.
  • Parchment paper was first invented in Pergamon.
  • Phokaians established colonies in the western Mediterranean such as "Velia" in Italy, "Ampurias" in Spain and "Marseilles" in France.
  • The earliest temple dedicated to the goddess Athena was constructed in Izmir.
  • Izmir was mentioned by famous historian Heredos as" the city under the most sublime blue sky and on the remarkable climate".
  • Alexander the Great was told by Aristo, the philosopher like the following " If you do not see Smyrna you remain lacking".
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  • The first church dedicated to Virgin Mary was built at Ephesus
  • Virgin Mary's House where she spent her last days is in Selçuk
  • St. John wrote the Bible at Ephesus and died there.
  • On his 3rd missionary journey St. Paul preached at Ephesus Theatre. Cleopatra spent the winter of the year 188 in Ephesus together with Antonius. French poet Lamartine, French authors Chateubriand, Theophile Gautier, and Gustave Flaubert visited Izmir.
  • Pope Paul VI and Pope John II visited the Virgin Mary's House in 1967 and 1979 respectively.
  • Famous singer Dario Moreno lived in Izmir.
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  • Churches &Synagogues

Izmir: A Special Glossary for a Special City

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 centre of tourism in the region. This modern city still retains traces of its ancient, Ottoman and Levantine past.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

EPHESUS: An ancient city three km from the town of Selcuk south of Izmir. During both the Hellenistic and Roman periods Ephesus was the most important port and cultural centre of the eastern world. The remains of the city are still spellbinding tod ay. The magnificent temples, public buildings, vil- las and streets ot Ephesus have been excavated and restored by the Austrian Archaeological Institute, and it requires little effort to imagine the cily as it was in its heyday.

ESKI 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).

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. If you are a Christian, you better visit Virgin Mary's house ( close to Ephesus ) and drink holy water, bring back also holy water for your beloved folks...nice gesture.   Note: Guests with physical limitations are advised that there is a considerable amount of walking at Ephesus. Order of sights may vary depending on local conditions. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended and passengers are advised to bring suitable sun protection and bottled water.                   

IZMIR FAIR: Since I932 this international trade fair has been the highlight of the summer season in Izmir. From late August to early September the fair doubles as a popular festival of music and stage events in the Culture Park.

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.

KARS IYAKA: 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".

PASAPORT: (Not a printing error, but the Turkish for "passport). The name for the dock and pier between Konak and Cumhuriyet Meydan. Pasasaport Dock was built in 1876. The dock building is in the Turkish revival style inspired by Ottoman and Selcuk architecture which was popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Until not so long ago the area was full of old fashioned coffee houses which served waterpipes as well as tea and coffee, but today pubs have supplanted most of them.

PERGAMUM: The remains of this magnificent ancient city are situated north of Imir. Founded in the early 3rd century BC, Pergamum 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.

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.

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.

WILD HERBS: Dishes made with fresh herbs have a special place in the Aegean cuisine. When spring comes local markets are filled with green vegetables, many of them local wild varieties gathered from meadows and mountains, such as radika, turpotu, h ardalotu, and cibes (the first shoots of cauliflower) and many more. The leaves are washed, blanched and served with a ressing of lemon juice and olive oil. 


IS TURKEY SAFE ,  FRIENDLY ?  

Turkey is not only friendly, it's as safe as Europe and North America--perhaps safer.

Even though Turkey is relatively safe, the only crime-free place is heaven.

 CLIMATE       We have 4 seasons in Turkey. Quite hot in the summer time...But Cesme and Eski Foca beaches  are very close. CLIMATE NOW

      FOOD            Turks accept Turkish Kitchen as 3. great one in the world.  I haven't seen any tourist dissapointed till now.  RAKI is Turk's ; Whisky, Sake, Ouzo,Meakong.. it's 40-45pc alchole...you add water in it then becomes white  ( That's why, Turks called it  * Lion's Milk * ), please drink RAKI,  eating and drinking extra water... no need to have head-ache the day after.( If it happens take an asphine* * if not allergic to Asphirine ** , before you go to sleep with some water. ) Taste ..Döner Kebab..meat slides .. nice !  Click

WHAT TO BUY ?   In the streets of the Kemeralti Market area, it is possible to find fascinating antiques, both fine and fun jewellery, a great variety of clothing, and the dried figs and sultanas for which Izmir is famous. The fish restaurants in this colorful area serve up local specialities; trança and çipura, two types of sea bream. The best modern and most elegant shops line the Kordon Promenades in Alsancak, Karsiyaka and Cumhuriyet Avenue.

Scuba diving  

All the cities by the sea .. have scuba diving schools.  In 5 days, you may have an international cerficate and quite cheap. ( About 300 Euro )  Our sharks are syndicated..never attack ! 

Exchance    All the banks exchance All known currencies but better USD or Euro. There are also EXCHANCE OFFICES ..which works faster. Hotels exchance also...but their rates are high.

CREDIT CARDS    

You can use your major credit card to pay for most purchases: hotel rooms, rental cars, auto fuel (gasoline/petrol), airline tickets, fancy dinners, and the more substantial souvenirs. 

The most popular card is VISA, followed by MASTERCARD/EUROCARD. AMERICAN EXPRESS is accepted in many of the more expensive places, such as the luxury hotels.

At fuel stations you may see a sign which reads %0 Komisyon (0% Commission). This means that no credit card service fee will be charged if you choose to pay for your fuel by credit card.

TIPPING   No tips for Taxis. At restaurants.. you may let 5-10pc of your bill. Electricity is 220 W.       Better.. drink bottled water.

POST OFFICE 

Open 7 days a week and 24 hours per day for buying stamps and telephone cards.

For change (cash and post office checks), same hours as the banks.

Telephone between 22.30 and 08:00 and on Sunday is cheaper except from hotels.
  To call your country ...add 00 to your country code + city code+ number -- ex.  0041.22.3346062  Geneva-Switzerland,                0049.7141.536485 Asperg/Germany, 0066.1.6037712 Bangkok-Thailand 

   

My humble advise   

Go to Cesme ( nice beaches, thermal pools )and Alacati 1 very close to Cesme for Windsurf. By highway..  in 40 minutes you arrive to Cesme !   AND...don't leave Turkey without a" Turkish Bath " experience. Visit Kemeralti baazar and take Ferry to Karsiyaka to have a nice diner.  Don't miss the Teleferik with nice bay view + lunch. If you need extra energy... ask for a MANTI , Donerkebab ,or a Cipura fish

In Izmir stay in Izmir Palas hotel just front of the sea and reasonable price.( Ask for the sea-side room)

If you have Turkish friends in your country...best gift for them are Yeni Raki, or  Pastirma( drymeat ) or

  Eski kasar( Cheese)

Few Turkish words :

Merhaba = Hello

Günaydin = Good Morning  

Mersi =Thanks 

Hesap = Bill

Lütfen = Please  

Hoscakalin = Bye.. 

Iyi aksamlar = Good evening

Ne kadar ?  =  How much ?

Cok güzel = Very nice

Polis = Police

Konsolosluk=Consulate 

Izmir Videos

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