The beauty of the Aegean İzmir

“Beautiful İzmir” draws you into a world of picturesque modernity and traditions, with its refreshing touches to human souls. İzmir hypnotizes visitors in an aura of history and modernity.

İzmir, ancient Smyrna, is located at a point where the Anatolian Peninsula extends into the Aegean Sea.

İzmir is one of the oldest cities with continuous settlement for 8500 years. Yeşilova and nearby Yassı Tepe Mounds are the oldest Neolithic settlements where idols and symbols of the Mother Goddess have been found. One of the founding legends of İzmir states that the city was founded by the legendary Amazon Queen Smyrna. The city dates back to the third millennium BCE (at Tepekule, modern Bayraklı) and was one of the most advanced civilizations of its time, along with ancient Troia Western Anatolia.

The ancient historian Herodotus wrote: “They built their city under the loftiest dome of heaven and the best climate in the world.” Aristotle told his student Alexander the Great, “You are not complete unless you have seen it,” and Victor Hugo describes the city as “İzmir is a princess adorning a necklace.”

Known throughout Türkiye as “Beautiful İzmir”, the city surrounds a large bay adorned by yachts, ships and ferries. As the terminus of the ancient “King’s Road” that runs across Anatolia to Persian Gulf, İzmir remains a focal point of tourism and entertainment. Its streets are shaded by palm trees, the sidewalks are beautiful and the houses elegant. The city’s coastline is known for its seafood restaurants along the coast as well as its cafes, restaurants serving Aegean Cuisine and other leisure facilities, while the hinterland is rich in ruins and monuments that tell the stories of countless ancient civilizations..

Smyrna

Ancient Smyrna is located on the mound in İzmir Bayraklı. It is a small peninsula that was surrounded by the sea to the west and south in ancient times. The Bayraklı Höyük (Mound), which is  about one hundred hectares, is a small hill built on a plain. Smyrna extends over a wide area towards the plain above this hill.

Smyrna is an ideal example of the Archaic Period in Western Anatolia, with the wall surrounding the city, houses with several rooms and baths, a sacred building, a public fountain and a geometrical city plan. Open to the sea on the west and south, surrounded by mountains on the north and a plain on the east, Smyrna is the best example of a defensive city excavated in Western Anatolia. The temple uncovered during excavations in Smyrna is the oldest temple of Athena in Türkiye.

İzmir, including its ancient mounds and settlements, is an open-air museum that exhibits the historical identity of the modern city within easy access for its visitors.

İzmir Clock Tower

İzmir Clock Tower, the symbol of the city, was built in 1901 as the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid’s accesion to the throne. It is 25 meters high, has four levels and an octagonal plan. The Clock Tower has column capitals, horseshoe arches unique to North Africa, and the facades of the building are filled with no gaps. It has an architectural inspiration  from the buildings of North Africa and Andalusia.

The clock  was a gift from  the German Emperor II. Wilhelm. The green and red mosaics used in the construction of the Clock Tower, whose construction was undertaken by Raymond Charles Pere, a French  architect from İzmir, were brought from Ephesus, and the stones that constitute the main body were brought from Sarayköy.

Kadifekale

Kadifekale, (Velvet Castle), the ancient mount Pagos, bears another legend about the foundation of the city attributed to Alexander the Great. According to the legend, Alexander the Great fell asleep under a plane tree while hunting on Mt. Pagos. Two Nemesis appear in his dream, asking Alexander to build the new city  on the slopes of the hill where he slept. Alexander, waking up from his sleep, consults to Apollo at Claros. According to the interpretation of the orcale, “Smyrnians who will settle in the foothills of Pagos hill near the Sacred Meles Stream will be four times happier than before.”

Ancient Smyrna was reestablished on Mount Pagos int he 4th century BCE, at an altitude of 186 meters above sea level. The north and east walls and five towers of the castle, whose east and south walls were completely destroyed, survived. The height of the towers is 20-35 meters. Inside the castle, there is a large arched cistern from the Byzantine period and the remains of a mosque.

Historical Elevator

It is an elevator tower that houses two elevators between Mithatpaşa Street and the Nihat Bey Street which is at a higher altitude. It was built in 1907 to facilitate transportation, between the districts due to the 50-meter difference between the streets.

The elevator tower has 3 floors. During World War I, the lower floor of the elevator was used as a casino, the middle floor as a photo hall and the upper floor as a cinema. Standing tall for 105 years, the elevator continues to function today as a cafe, bar and restaurant, attracting tourists with its unique view and offering a unique view of İzmir.

See İzmir

Smyrna

Ancient Smyrna is located on the mound in İzmir Bayraklı. It is a small peninsula that was surrounded by the sea to the west and south in ancient times. The Bayraklı Höyük (Mound), which is  about one hundred hectares, is a small hill built on a plain. Smyrna extends over a wide area towards the plain above this hill.

Smyrna is an ideal example of the Archaic Period in Western Anatolia, with the wall surrounding the city, houses with several rooms and baths, a sacred building, a public fountain and a geometrical city plan. Open to the sea on the west and south, surrounded by mountains on the north and a plain on the east, Smyrna is the best example of a defensive city excavated in Western Anatolia. The temple uncovered during excavations in Smyrna is the oldest temple of Athena in Türkiye.

İzmir, including its ancient mounds and settlements, is an open-air museum that exhibits the historical identity of the modern city within easy access for its visitors.

İzmir Clock Tower

İzmir Clock Tower, the symbol of the city, was built in 1901 as the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid’s accesion to the throne. It is 25 meters high, has four levels and an octagonal plan. The Clock Tower has column capitals, horseshoe arches unique to North Africa, and the facades of the building are filled with no gaps. It has an architectural inspiration  from the buildings of North Africa and Andalusia.

The clock  was a gift from  the German Emperor II. Wilhelm. The green and red mosaics used in the construction of the Clock Tower, whose construction was undertaken by Raymond Charles Pere, a French  architect from İzmir, were brought from Ephesus, and the stones that constitute the main body were brought from Sarayköy.

Kadifekale

Kadifekale, (Velvet Castle), the ancient mount Pagos, bears another legend about the foundation of the city attributed to Alexander the Great. According to the legend, Alexander the Great fell asleep under a plane tree while hunting on Mt. Pagos. Two Nemesis appear in his dream, asking Alexander to build the new city  on the slopes of the hill where he slept. Alexander, waking up from his sleep, consults to Apollo at Claros. According to the interpretation of the orcale, “Smyrnians who will settle in the foothills of Pagos hill near the Sacred Meles Stream will be four times happier than before.”

Ancient Smyrna was reestablished on Mount Pagos int he 4th century BCE, at an altitude of 186 meters above sea level. The north and east walls and five towers of the castle, whose east and south walls were completely destroyed, survived. The height of the towers is 20-35 meters. Inside the castle, there is a large arched cistern from the Byzantine period and the remains of a mosque.

Touch İzmir

Kemeraltı Bazaar

In the Kemaraltı Historical Bazaar you will find products from the skilled hands of İzmir that bring together the traces of the past with the texture of the present. These products sometimes take you to the past and keep the history alive and sometimes they reflect the face of modernity.

You should stop at Kızlarağası Inn, located in Halim Ağa Bazaar in Kemeraltı, which is one of the most popular inns in the city with its Ottoman-style architecture. There are shops selling ceramic, wooden and glass souvenirs, local handicrafts and evil eye beads, silver jewelry and antiques.

If you want to have a souvenir of your vacation, you can consider the evil eye bead made in İzmir. Evil eye bead, glass art with its colorful and pleasant appearance, attracts attention not only as a decorative product, but also for use from the past to the present. You may want to touch to get rid of fears, distress and negative energy.

Cave of Seven Sleepers / Eshab-ı Kehf

This cave, which is mentioned in the Qur’an, is considered sacred by Muslims and Christians. A legend of the Eshab-ı Kehf  Cave is told among the people.

According to the legend; Seven young men, who were members of the Christian religion  brought before the Roman Emperor Decius or Diocletian, because they refused to offer sacrifice to pagan gods. Together with their dog Kıtmir, these seven young people choose to escape from death and took shelter in this cave.

They fall into a deep  sleep for 300 years. The first to wake up goes to the city to buy food, but is caught because of the outdated money he has. When he comes to the cave with him, they see nothing but a nest where seven birds perched. For this reason, this place is known as Seven Sleepers Cave.

House of Virgin Mary

Christians believe that after Jesus’ crucifixion, the Virgin Mary came to Selçuk with his apostle John and spent the last years of her life here. That is why the House of the Virgin Mary is considered one of the holy places of pilgrimage.

The house received visits from Pope Paul VI in 1967 and Pope John Paul II in 1979, which strengthened the belief that Virgin Mary lived and died in Ephesus. This site has become a frequent destination for pilgrims, since the image of the Virgin Mary is venerated not only by Christians but also by Muslims. A special mass is held each 15 August and attracts innumerable visitors.

Ayasuluk Castle

Ayasuluk Castle is located on the Ayasuluk Hill in the town of Selçuk which was the first place of settlement of Ephesus. The castle is also famous for its view overlooking Selcuk. It is not known exactly when was the castle  built.

The city walls seen today belong to Byzantine, Aydınoğulları, and Ottoman periods. The walls, built of stone, brick, and plaster, are supported by 15 towers. In the castle, there are stone tiled streets, cisterns of various sizes, a mosque and at the highest point the remains of a church.

Şirince Village

Şirince, located in the Selçuk district of İzmir, is one of the most famous villages of Türkiye. Şirince earns its name, which translates as “cute” in English, with its nature, streets, houses and people.

The village is located about 10 km from Selçuk and 83 km from İzmir. You should definitely visit Şirince it is famous for its wine and stone villas and its reputation goes beyond the borders of the country. The local 19th century architecture is well presevered in the village as most of these houses are carefully restored by their new inhabitants, now welcome visitors as small pensions, restaurants, cafes or shops.

The village maintains its cultural character with thematic education, mathematics, art and theater facilities.

One of the places of interest in Şirince is the market in the center of the village. Many products from soap to olive oil are sold at the bazaar, where you can also buy handicrafts made by local women.

Another must-do activity in the village is tasting the world-famous Şirince fruit wines. You can stop at the wine houses to taste homemade wines made from many different fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, melons and strawberries.

Nazarköy

At the fifth kilometer on the way to Torbalı from Kemalpaşa, one can see an intersection adorned with the colors of the evil eye bead. This place is the Nazarköy village. Previously known as Kurudere, the village has been home to evil eye bead workshops for 75 years. The name of the village was then changed to Nazarköy (the village of the evil eye) in 2009.

Established among pine trees, the village welcomes visitors with stands of evil eye beads in every color and size.

Evil eye bead workshops can also be found here, where the sounds of skewers and iron are heard in front of 1,200-centigrade furnaces.

Mahmut Sür, who has been making evil eye beads for 43 years in his atelier in Nazarköy in İzmir’s Kemalpaşa district, is on the UNESCO List as a Living Human Treasure List (LHT). This title is given to people who possess a very high degree of knowledge and skills required for performing or re-creating specific elements of the intangible cultural heritage.

Kültürpark

It is a peaceful place where you can breathe some fresh air, listen to the birds, and touch the pines with the meticulously grown trees and flora. There are 9 thousand 500 trees brought from all over the world, from America to Siberia, from Europe to the Far East within the Kültürpark.

İnciraltı Urban Forest

It is a place where you can enjoy both the sea and nature in İzmir. Moreover, you can do exercise walking, jogging and picnic in this area. İnciraltı Urban Forest covers an area of approximately two million square meters with İnciraltı fishpond.

The Natural Life Park

There are countless different species roam freely in their natural habitats is the largest natural life park of Europe.  The Park is home to 1048 animals in 128 species from mammals to birds and reptiles, as well as endangered species such as the Asian elephant. Being a member of The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the Natural Life Park attracts great attention, especially from children.

Homeros Valley And Recreational Area

Taking after its name from the Iliad and Odysseia epics, the valley offers the serenity it promised. The recreation area including seven kilometers of valley arrangement includes picnic areas surrounded by rare flowers. The area was also  traditionaly  known as a resting place  of the poet in the past.

Karagöl Natural Park

It is a place for an escape from the city. It is on Yamanlar Mountain in Karşıyaka district. Karagöl is İzmir’s oxygen reservoir. At the end of your journey with all the generosity of nature and the magnificent İzmir Bay, Karagöl welcomes you like a picture that reflects every shade of green. You feel yourself in a postcard in KaragölKaragöl is a gorgeous nature paradise and provides an opportunity to explore the beauty of Yamanlar Mountain. You can have your picnic in Karagöl while watching the elegant swimming of ducks.

Çiçekliköy and Yakaköy

These two neighboring villages, whose mountains and stones are covered with pine forests, promise pleasant hours away from boredom and stress with their dazzling clean air, colorful flowers that bloom in spring, friendly people, local products, appetizing breakfast tables and picnic areas.

Agamemnon Hot Springs

“Agamemnon Hot Springs” cited by Homer’s legends and the geographer Strabo’s works have been used as a curing centre from ancient to present times. The spas where the wounded soldiers of Alexander the Great were treated were very popular in those times. This region is presently called “Balçova Springs” and offers thermal waters, mud baths and a source of drinking water. The Balçova Springs, which also provides accommodation, are particularly beneficial for the treatment. The curing water of the Balçova Spas contains sodium chloride..

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