The 3rd largest, and one of the most beautiful provinces of Turkey is Izmir, extending on the shores of an attractive bay, filled with ships and yachts. Backed by mountains and facing the sea, this site offers a fine appearance, both with its natural panorama and its modern and orderly view. Lovely palm trees decorate the promenades and avenues, where new and impressive buildings stand.
Known as "Smyrna" in ancient times, the province of Izmir has a long history, dating back to the 3rd- millenium BC when it was one of the most advanced cultural center in Western Anatolia. Legendary Homer lived here in the lonian period, which was the most splendid age of the city, dating to the 1st-millenium BC. Today some beautiful examples from this long past can be found inside the city. Here is the Kadifekale (the Velvet Fortress) located on Mount Pagos, overlooking the area. A marvellous view of the Gulf of Izmir is provided from this castle built in the 3rd-century BC, and later restored at various times. Another important sight is the Roman agora, constructed during one of the most brilliant periods of the province. The seven churches mentioned by St. John in the Book of Revelation are also in Turkey and are spread around Izmir, which are Izmir (Smyrna), Efes (Ephesus), Eskihisar (Laodicea), Alasehir (Philadelphia), Sart (Sardis), Akhisar (Thyatira), and Bergama (Pergamum).
Walking around this charming city, one can see a lot, ranging from the oldest remains, to the most recent establishments scattered around.
The clocktower stands in Konak Square as a symbol of the city while nearby the Archelogical Museum houses many finds from the early western Anatolian civilizations. In the city center, there is the Kultur Park (Culture Park) where the famous annual International Fair is held.
Filled with pretty restaurants, cafes, shops and bars, Kordonboyu is a long promenade, which provides a restful atmosphere and the typical elegant scenery of the city. Kemeralti Bazaar is a smart place with limitless shopping opportunities for here you will find almost anything you want, at the most appropriate prices.
Today, Izmir has an important port, as well as a lovely holiday resort with numerous sandy beaches stretching over its towns and environs. In addition to famous sites like Efes, Kusadasi or Cesme, Izmir possesses Balcova, one of the important thermal centres in Turkey, which is known as the "Agamemnon Baths". They offer modern facilities to visitors, in the midst of wonderful surroundings.
Feed the pigeons with the locals in Konak Square, which is the heart of old Izmir. While you scatter seed for the thousands of pigeons who congregate here you can admire the elaborately carved clock tower that is the symbol of the city, the petite, tile-clad Konak Cami, and a cactus garden that grows ever more beautiful as it matures.
g2o Cultural Tip
Inspect the ancient cisterns inside Kadifekale. The restored walls are impressive, as are the remains of huge cisterns used to store water (afterwards you may want to hop the İzban to Şirinyer to inspect the ancient aqueducts that helped bring the water into town).
Visit the Archeology and Ethnography Museums. Here you see displays from all of the many cities from different civilizations that have been excavated within the Izmir area including; Bayrakli (ancient Izmir), Ephesus, Pergamon, Miletus, Aphrodisias, Clazomenae, Teos and Lasos from which the displays of sculptures, ceramics, coins and jewellery come. The
g2o Hot Table
Enjoy a fish supper at sunset on the Kordon, eat at Kordonboyu Balık Pişiricisi.
Try the best south east Turkish Cuisine at Meshur Tavacı Recep Usta, eat roasted meat and “Tava”. After dinner try “İrmik Helvası” (Semolina Dessert).