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.
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
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.
Karsiyaka is another attractive district on
the opposite side of the bay, where the Olaf Palme Park exists near the
open-air museum, which houses many interesting statues.
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).
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.
Pergamum, (105 kms north of Izmir)~~ is one
of the major sites antiquity in Turkey, having been a great center of
culture and civilization throughout history. The site has remarkable remains
from the Roman and Byzantine periods. The Asclepion to the southwest of the
lower city, was built to pay homage to the God of Health, Asclepios, and it
was the most celebrated in the world. The temples of Trajan and Dionysus,
majestic Altar of Zeus, the temple of Demeter, inspiring theatre, the
gymnasium, the arsenals, the lower agora and the famous library form the
Acropolis. In addition, you may see the finds from Pergamum and the
surrounding area. In the Archaeological and Ethnographical Museum. The
temple of Serapis, also called the "Red Courtyard" due to its red tiles, is
today located within the town of Bergama. It was built as a sanctuary
dedicated to Serapis and was then converted into a basilica by the
Byzantines. Bergama is the homeland of many philosophers and scientists.
Among them is Krates who invented and produced the "parchment paper" (Pergamene
Dikili is a harbor town close to Bergama,
visited by cruise liners bringing visitors to Pergamum. Dikili is an ideal
place to relax after a Pergamum excursion. A walk along the Rordan promenade
is a pleasure. Between Dikili and Izmir do not forget to visit the port of
Candaril which is crowned with one of the best preserved Genoese fortresses
The Cesme Peninsula
Cesme is a little town at the tip of the
peninsula that forms the Gulf of Izmir. The meaning of "Cesme" is "fountain"
or "spring" due to the curative springs and thermal baths around especially
in Ilica. Cesme and Ilica are resorts that should be visited for a while
because of the vast white beaches and azure waters with seasonal
accommodation facilities. Ilica is located at the center of several
touristic sites. Thermal resorts of Sifne Pasa Limani, Buyuk Liman, Alacati,
and the Bay of Boyalik. You may enjoy almost every kind of water sport in
Cesme, including underwater diving. If you are lucky enough you may
encounter the seals, off the shore. In this town, there are excellent
accommodation facilities and an attractive night life. Cesme Castle now
houses the International Cesme Sea and Music Festival. The Cesme Peninsula
has many seaside resorts. At the northeast of Cesme lies lidin which was the
important port of Erythrai, founded after the War of Troy, and it has a good
view from the acropolis, overlooking the bay and the islands .
Urla (Clazomenae) is a peaceful place to
visit and to taste the delicious fish at a local seaside restaurant. The
view from the Guvendik Hill is always relaxing.
The road between Izmir and Cesme is dotted
with lovely little fishing villages such as Mordogan which takes its name
from the particular purple color of the sunrise at that spot and Karaburun
an unspoiled village nestled between the mountains and picturesque bays
On the southern part of the Peninsula is
Seferihisar an important yachting center surrounded by Geneose remains. From
here you may visit the ancient city of Teos to see the impressive Temple of
Dionysus, or to lose yourself to the warm sandy beaches of Altnkum.
Gumuldur will also tempt you with its
beautiful beaches full of tranquil bays, which you may consider as your own,
with excellent accommodation, discos and restaurants.
The colossal statute of Apollo in the
Temple of Apollon at Ahmetbeyli (Claros), should not be missed as it is an
amazing piece of art.
An attractive site with a mysterious nature
is Foça, a legendary place interesting sights. Here is the fascinating Siren
Rock Island, where the action of the soft wind blowing through the rocks
make sounds resembling a woman's cries. These unearthly sounds, once
allegedly spell bound sailors to stay on this land until their death.
Foça is the ancient Phocaea of the lonians,
and is supposed to have taken its name from the "fok" which are the
Mediterranean seals that inhabited this distinctly peculiar rocky ground.
Reflecting the bright history of the
region, several monuments exist, including a tomb of a Persian King, and
another called "Seytan Hamami" (Devil's Baths) at the foot of the Candede
Hill. Here, the natural beauty is combined with these historical assets,
making Foça a charming touristic site.
Today, the town is a lovely holiday village
with green covered land meeting the clear blue sea. The numerous modern
facilities established around the clean beaches offer visitors a wonderful
vacation. A special event for divers, is the Underwater Sports Festival held
in the region.
Ephesus proudly houses one of the seven
ancient wonders of the world; the Temple of Artemis. The city is dedicated
to her and has many fascinating buildings. The precise date of the city's
foundation is not known but legend said that the first Efes was founded by
Women Warriors of the Amazon in the 14th century BC and later inhabited by
lonians in the 11th century BC after the first settlement of the Anatolian's
natives, the Lelegians. In a short time the city became very important.
After 133 BC it became a Roman province and during the reign of Augustus it
became the trade center of Asia.
With all these civilizations passing
through Ephesus, the remains take one or two days to visit fully. The city
still retains its importance, but this time as the most important
archaeological and historical city in Turkey. One of the very amazing ruins
in Efes is the huge amphitheatre with a 24,000 seat capacity and superb
acoustic effects. Seljuk is close to Efes and is crowned with a Byzantine
citadel and the basilica of St. John. Next to the basilica is the Seljuk Isa
Bey Mosque. The Seven Sleepers' Cave is another historical place near Efes.
The archaeological museum is significant with its striking collection of
items gathered from the excavations in Ephesus. Every May there is an
International Festival in Efes.
On Bulbuldagi (Mt. Nightingale) one can
find the small house built for the Virgin Mary (9 kms from Seljuk) when St.
John brought her to Ephesus after Christ's death. She spent her last days in
that house. Today it is a place of Pilgrimage for Christians and also
visited by Muslims, and is officially sanctioned by the Vatican. Every year
on August the 15th, a commemoration ceremony is held there.
Time Line of Izmir
City on the Aegean coast of Anatolia, just north of
Ephesus. Izmir is the third largest city in Turkey. The modern city was mostly
rebuilt after a 1922 fire which destroyed three quarters of it.
Kingdom of MANISA(probably under Trojan