Izmir is a city located at the western end of the Anatolian peninsula and capital of the homonymous province. It is the second most important port in Turkey after Istanbul and, after Athens, it is the most populated city in the Aegean Sea.
The foundation of the city took place around the year 3000 a. C. It was part of great civilizations such as the Hittites, Mycenaeans, Greeks or Romans. Later, it was part of the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire until the First World War.
The city of Smyrna or Izmir
As you can see, the privileged position of Smyrna has allowed this city to be part of civilizations and empires that marked the history of the West, and we can appreciate this in the environment.
1. Kemeralti Bazaar
Izmir is a city where tradition meets modernity. An example of this is this historic bazaar. It is a 500-year-old market and the largest open-air market in Turkey. You can get lost in its crowded streets and admire its small spice or handicraft shops.
In addition, it is an ideal place to eat, as it is full of cafes or inexpensive restaurants where you can taste the flavors of Izmir. Among its alleys there are also old inns, synagogues or mosques. The market starts at Konak Square, one of the main points of the city.
2. Konak Square, the heart of Izmir
Konak Square is a pleasant and lively place, as it is one of the locals’ favorite places to go for a walk. In the square there are several spaces that are worth admiring. Look at the Istmina clock tower, an emblem of the city.
3. Yale and Hisar Mosques
Very close to Konak Square we find a charming little mosque from the 18th century, the Yale Mosque. Another of the mosques of interest is the historic Hisar Mosque, built in 1579 and the one with the largest interior and dome ceiling in the city. We can find it between the narrow streets of the Kemeralti market.
4. Kadifekale Castle
Kadifekale is a small hill and one of the most beautiful places in Izmir, as it has impressive views of the gulf and the city. In the castle we can admire some ruins from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman times. These ruins are not the most beautiful and impressive you can see in the region, but it is worth going just for the views.
5. Other places of interest in the city of Izmir
Izmir offers many other attractions, such as admiring the sunset from the Pasaport pier, strolling along the Kordon, getting lost in the traditional Kızlarağası Han Bazaar or visiting one of the city’s museums such as the Archaeological Museum.
The city of Ephesus
We have already noted that Smyrna and its surroundings were territories occupied by many of the eastern Mediterranean civilizations. A reflection of this are the many ruins of ancient cities such as Ephesus, Pergamum and Sardis. Ephesus was one of the most important cities and its ruins attract thousands of visitors.
The most prominent building in this city dedicated to the goddess Artemis is the great temple, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The theater, the odeon, the gymnasium, the Celsus library or the agora are also relevant.
Near Ephesus is the city of Selçuk. Here we find a Byzantine citadel where the Basilica of Saint John is located, built in the 4th century on the site of the apostle’s tomb. If you were fascinated by Ephesus, at the Selçuk Archaeological Museum you can continue to enjoy the impressive collection of sculptures and other objects that were recovered in the excavation.
The Seven Churches of Revelation
The seven churches of Revelation are temples of early Christianity mentioned in the book of Revelation. These churches were Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Not all of them are in an optimal state of conservation, but if you still want to know them, there are special excursions that take you to visit them.