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İzmir is a metropolitan city in the western extremity of Anatolia and the third most populous city in Turkey, after Istanbul and Ankara. It is one of the most westernized cities in Turkey. İzmir's metropolitan area extends along the outlying waters of the Gulf of İzmir and inland to the north across the delta of the Gediz River, to the east along an alluvial plain created by several small streams and to a slightly more rugged terrain in the south. The ancient city was known as Smyrna , and the city was generally referred to as Smyrna in English, until the Turkish adoption of the Latin alphabet in 1928 made "İzmir" the internationally recognized name.
The city of İzmir is composed of several metropolitan districts. Of these, Konak district corresponds to historical İzmir, this district's area having constituted the "İzmir Municipality" (Turkish: İzmir Belediyesi) area until 1984. With the constitution of the "Greater İzmir Metropolitan Municipality" (Turkish: İzmir Büyükşehir Belediyesi), the city of İzmir grouped together initially nine, and more recently eleven,metropolitan districts, namely Balçova,Bayraklı, Bornova, Buca, Çiğli,Gaziemir, Güzelbahçe, Karabağlar,Karşıyaka, Konak and Narlıdere. In an ongoing process, the Mayor of İzmir was also vested with authority over additional districts reaching from Bergama in the north to Selçuk in the south, bringing the number of districts considered as being part of İzmir to twenty-one, two of these having been only partially administratively included in İzmir.
In 2014, İzmir had a population of 2,847,691, while İzmir Province had a total of 4,113,072.
|POPULATION :||• City 2,847,691|
• Metro 4,113,072
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone EET (UTC+2)|
• Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
|LANGUAGE :||Turkish (official)|
|AREA :||7,340.00 km2 (2,833.99 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||2 m (7 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||38°26′N 27°09′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.1%|
• Female: 50.9%
|AREA CODE :||232|
|POSTAL CODE :||35xxx|
|DIALING CODE :||(+90) 232|
İzmir is a rapidly growing city on the Central Aegean coast of Turkey.
İzmir is the third largest city in Turkey with a population of around 3.7 million, the second biggest port after Istanbul, and a very good transport hub. Once the ancient city of Smyrna, it is now a modern, developed, and busy commercial center, set around a huge bay and surrounded by mountains. The broad boulevards, glass-fronted buildings and modern shopping centers are dotted with traditional red-tiled roofs, the 18th century market, and old mosques and churches, although the city has an atmosphere more of Mediterranean Europe than traditional Turkey.
The city is one of the oldest settlements of the Mediterranean basin. The 2004 discovery of Yeşilova Höyük and the neighboring Yassıtepe, in the small delta of Meles River, now the Bornova plain, reset the starting date of the city's past further back than previously thought. Findings from two seasons of excavations carried out in the Yeşilova Höyük by a team of archaeologists from İzmir's Ege Universityindicate three levels, two of which are prehistoric. Level 2 bears traces of early to mid-Chalcolithic, and Level 3 of Neolithic settlements. These two levels would have been inhabited by the indigenous peoples of the area, very roughly, between 7th millennium BC to 4th millennium BC. As the seashore receded with time, the site was later used as a cemetery. Several graves containing artifacts dating roughly from 3000 BC, and contemporary with the first city of Troy, were found.
By 1500 BC, the region had fallen under the influence of the Central Anatolian Hittite Empire; several localities near İzmir are mentioned in their records. The first settlement to have commanded the Gulf of İzmir as a whole is recorded, in a semi-legendary manner, as being founded on top of Mount Yamanlar, to the northeast of the inner gulf. In connection with the silt brought by the streams which join the sea along the coastline, the settlement to form later the core of "Old Smyrna" was founded on the slopes of the same mountain, on a hill (then a small peninsula connected to the mainland by a small isthmus) in the present-day quarter of Bayraklı. The Bayraklı settlement is thought to have stretched back in time as far as the 3rd millennium BC. It became one of the most advanced cultures in early Anatolian history and was on a par with Troy. The presence of a vineyard of İzmir's Wine and Beer Factory on this hill, also called Tepekule, prevented the urbanization of the site and facilitated the excavations that started in the 1960s by Ekrem Akurgal.
In the 13th century BC, however, invasions from the Balkans (the so-called sea people) destroyed Troy VII, and Central and Western Anatolia as a whole fell into what is generally called the period of "Anatolian" and "Greek" Dark Ages of the Bronze Age collapse.
At the dawn of İzmir's recorded history, Pausanias describes "evident tokens" such as "a port called after the name of Tantalus and a sepulchre of him by no means obscure", corresponding to the city's area and which have been tentatively located to date. The term "Old Smyrna" is used to describe the Archaic Period city located at Tepekule, Bayraklı, to make a distinction with the city of Smyrna rebuilt later on the slopes of Mount Pagos (present-day Kadifekale). The Greek settlement in Old Smyrna is attested by the presence of pottery dating from about 1000 BC onwards. The most ancient ruins preserved to our times date back to 725–700 BC. According to Herodotus the city was founded by Aeolians and later seized by Ionians. The oldest house discovered in Bayraklı has been dated to 925 and 900 BC. The walls of this well-preserved house (2.45 by 4 metres or 8.0 by 13.1 feet), consisting of one small room typical of the Iron Age, were made of sun-dried bricks and the roof of the house was made of reeds. The oldest model of a multiple-roomed house of this period was found in Old Smyrna. Known to be the oldest house having so many rooms under its roof, it was built in the second half of the 7th century BC. The house has two floors and five rooms with a courtyard. Around that time, people started to build thick, protective ramparts made of sun-dried bricks around the city. Smyrna was built on the Hippodamian system, in which streets run north-south and east-west and intersect at right angles, in a pattern familiar in the Near East but the earliest example in a western city. The houses all faced south. The most ancient paved streets in the Ionian civilization have also been discovered in ancient Smyrna.
Homer, referred to as Melesigenes meaning "Child of the Meles Brook", is said to have been born in Smyrna in the 7th or 8th century BC. Combined with written evidence, it is generally admitted that Smyrna and Chios put forth the strongest arguments in claiming Homer and the main belief is that he was born in Ionia. A River Meles, still bearing the same name, is located within the city limits, although associations with the Homeric river is subject to controversy.
From the 7th century onwards, Smyrna achieved the identity of an city-state. About a thousand people lived inside the city walls, with others living in nearby villages, where fields, olive trees, vineyards, and the workshops of potters and stonecutters were located. People generally made their living from agriculture and fishing. The most important sanctuary of Old Smyrna was the Temple of Athena, which dates back to 640–580 BC and is partially restored today. Smyrna, by this point, was no longer a small town, but an urban center taking part in the Mediterranean trade. The city eventually became one of the twelve Ionian cities and was well on its way to becoming a foremost cultural and commercial center in the Mediterranean basin of that period, reaching its peak between 650–545 BC.
The city's port position near their capital drew the Lydians to Smyrna. The army of Lydia'sMermnad dynasty conquered the city some time around 610–600 BC and is reported to have burned and destroyed parts of the city, although recent analyses on the remains in Bayraklı demonstrate that the temple has been in continuous use or was very quickly repaired under Lydian rule.
Soon afterwards, an invasion from outside Anatolia by the Persian Empire effectively ended Old Smyrna's history as an urban center of note. The Persian emperor Cyrus the Great attacked the coastal cities of the Aegean after conquering the capital of Lydia. As a result, Old Smyrna was destroyed in 545 BC.
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great re-founded the city at a new location beyond the Meles River around 340 BC. Alexander had defeated the Persians in several battles and finally the EmperorDarius III himself at Issus in 333 BC. Old Smyrna on a small hill by the sea was large enough only for a few thousand people. Therefore, the slopes of Mount Pagos(Kadifekale) was chosen for the foundation of the new city, for which Alexander is credited, and this act lay the ground for a resurgence in the city's population.
In 133 BC, Eumenes III, the last king of the Attalid dynasty of Pergamum, was about to die without an heir. In his will, he bequeathed his kingdom to the Roman Republic, and this included Smyrna. The city thus came under Roman rule as a civil diocese within the Province of Asia and enjoyed a new period of prosperity. Towards the close of the 1st century AD, when Smyrna appeared as one of the seven churches of Asiaaddressed in the Book of Revelation, Smyrna had a Christian congregation undergoing persecution from the city's Jews (Revelation 2:9). In contrast to several of the other churches, Apostle John had nothing negative to say about this church. He did, however, predict that the persecution would continue and urged them, "Be faithful to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10). The persecution of Christians continued into the 2nd century, as documented by the martyrdom of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, in AD 155.
Given the importance the city had achieved, the Roman emperors who came to Anatolia also visited Smyrna. In early AD 124, Emperor Hadrian visited Smyrna on his journeys across the Empire and possibly Caracalla came in 214–215. Smyrna was a fine city with stone-paved streets.
In AD 178, the city was devastated by an earthquake. Considered to be one of the greatest disasters the city has faced in its history, the earthquake razed the town to the ground. The destruction was so great that the support of the Empire for rebuilding was necessary. Emperor Marcus Aurelius contributed greatly to the rebuilding and the city was re-founded again. During this period the state agora was restored. Many of the works of architecture from the city's pre-Turkish period date from this period.
After the Roman Empire was divided into two distinct entities, Smyrna became a territory of the Eastern Roman Empire. The city kept its status as a notable religious center in the early times of the Byzantine Empire. However, the city did decrease in size greatly during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, never returning to the Roman levels of prosperity.
The upper city of İzmir was captured from its Aydinid rulers by the Ottomans for the first time in 1389 during the reign of Bayezid I, who led his armies toward the five Western Anatolian Beyliks in the winter of the same year he had come to the throne. The Ottoman takeover took place virtually without conflict. In 1402, however, Timur(Tamerlane) won the Battle of Ankara against the Ottomans, putting a serious check on the Ottoman state for the two following decades and handing back the territories of most of the Beyliks to their former ruling dynasties. He came in person to İzmir and took the port castle from the Genoese, giving it to the briefly reinstated Aydinids. In 1415, Mehmet I took back İzmir for the Ottomans for the second time. With the death of the last bey of Aydın, İzmiroğlu Cüneyd Bey, in 1426 the city passed fully under Ottoman control. İzmir's first Ottoman governor was a converted son of the Bulgarian Shishman dynasty. During the campaigns against Cüneyd, the Ottomans were assisted by the forces of the Knights Hospitaller who pressed the Sultan to return the port castle to them. However, the sultan refused to make this concession, despite the resulting tensions between the two camps, and he gave the Hospitallers permission to build a castle (the present-day Bodrum Castle) in Petronium(Bodrum) instead.
In a landward-looking arrangement somewhat against its nature, the city and its present-day dependencies became an Ottoman sanjak (sub-province) either inside the larger vilayet (province) of Aydın part of the eyalet of Anatolia, with its capital in Kütahya or in "Cezayir" (i.e. "Islands" referring to "the Aegean Islands"). In the 15th century, two notable events for the city were a surprise Venetian raid in 1475 and the arrival of Sephardic Jews from Spain after 1492; they later made İzmir one of their principal urban centers in Ottoman lands. İzmir may have been a rather sparsely populated place in the 15th and 16th centuries, as indicated by the first extant Ottoman records describing the town and dating from 1528. In 1530, 304 adult males, both tax-paying and tax-exempt were on record, 42 of them Christians. There were five urban wards, one of these situated in the immediate vicinity of the port, rather active despite the town's small size and where the non-Muslim population was concentrated. By 1576, İzmir had grown to house 492 taxpayers in eight urban wards and had a number of dependent villages. This corresponded to a total population estimated between 3500 and 5000.
International port city
İzmir's remarkable growth began in the late 16th century when cotton and other products of the region brought French, English, Dutch and Venetian traders here. With the privileged trading conditions accorded to foreigners in 1620 (these were the infamous capitulations that were later to cause a serious threat and setback for the Ottoman state in its decline), İzmir began to be one of the foremost trade centers of the Empire. Foreign consulates moved from Chios to the city by the early 17th century (1619 for the French Consulate, 1621 for the British), serving as trade centers for their nations. Each consulate had its own quay, where the ships under their flag would anchor. The long campaign for the conquest of Crete (22 years between 1648 and 1669) also considerably enhanced İzmir's position within the Ottoman realm since the city served as a port of dispatch and supply for the troops.
Despite facing facing a plague in 1676, an earthquake in 1688 and a great fire in 1743, the city continued to grow. By the end of the 17th century, the population was estimated at around ninety thousand, the Turks forming the majority (about 60,000); there were also 15,000 Greeks, 8,000 Armenians and 6,000 to 7,000 Jews, as well as a considerable section made up of French, English, Dutch and Italian merchants. In the meantime, the Ottomans had allowed İzmir's inner bay dominated by the port castle to silt up progressively (the location of the present-day Kemeraltı bazaar zone) and the port castle ceased to be of use.
The first railway lines to be built within the present-day territory of Turkey went from İzmir. A 130 km (81 mi) İzmir-Aydın railway was started in 1856 and finished in 1867, a year later than the Smyrna-Cassaba Railway, itself started in 1863. The wide arc of the Smyrna-Cassaba line advancing in a wide arc to the north-west from İzmir, through the Karşıyaka suburb, contributed greatly to the development of the northern shores as urban areas. These new developments, typical of the industrial age and the way the city attracted merchants and middlemen gradually changed the demographic structure of the city, its culture and its Ottoman character. In 1867, İzmir finally became the center of its own vilayet, still called by neighboring Aydın's name but with its own administrative area covering a large part of Turkey's present-day Aegean Region.
In the late 19th century, the port was threatened by a build-up of silt in the gulf and an initiative, unique in the history of the Ottoman Empire, was undertaken in 1886. In order to redirect the silt, the bed of the Gediz River was redirected to its present-day northern course, so that it no longer flowed into the gulf. The beginning of the 20th century saw the city take on look of a genuine, cosmopolitan of a metropolitan center with a global fame and reach. According to the 1893 Ottoman census, more than half of the population was Turkish, with 133,800 Greeks, 9,200 Armenians, 17,200 Jews, and 54,600 foreign nationals. According to author Katherine Flemming, by 1919, Smyrna's 150,000 Greeks made up just under half of the population, outnumbering the Turks in the city two to one, while the American Consul General, George Horton, records 165,000 Turks, 150,000 Greeks, 25,000 Jews, 25,000 Armenians, and 20,000 foreigners (Italians, French, British, Americans). According to Henry Morgenthau and Trudy Ring, before World War I, the Greeks alone numbered 130,000, out of a total population of 250,000. Moreover, according to various scholars, prior to the war, the city hosted more Greeks than Athens, the capital of Greece. The Ottoman ruling class of that era referred to the city as Infidel Smyrna (Gavur İzmir) due to its strong Greek presence.
Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the victors had, for a time, intended to carve up large parts of Anatolia into respective zones of influence and offered the western regions of Turkey to Greece under the Treaty of Sèvres. On 15 May 1919, the Greek Army landed in Smyrna, but the Greek expedition towards central Anatolia was disastrous for both that country and for the local Greeks of Anatolia. By September 1922 the Greek army had been defeated and was in full retreat, the last Greek soldiers leaving Smyrna on 8 September 1922.
The Turkish Army retook possession of the city on 9 September 1922, effectively ending the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922). Four days later, on 13 September 1922, a great fire broke out in the city, lasting until 22 September. The fire completely destroyed the Greek and Armenian quarters, while the Muslim and Jewish quarters escaped damage. Claims about who was responsible for the fire differ. Estimated Greek and Armenians deaths resulting from the fire range from 10,000 to 100,000 Approximately 50,000 to 400,000 Greek and Armenian refugees crammed the waterfront to escape from the fire and were forced to remain there under harsh conditions for nearly two weeks. The systematic evacuation of Greeks on the quay started on 24 September when the first Greek ships entered the harbor under the supervision of Allied destroyers. Some 150,000 to 200,000 Greeks were evacuated in total. The remaining Greeks left for Greece in 1923, as part of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, a stipulation of the Treaty of Lausanne, which formally ended the Greco-Turkish War.
The war, and especially the events that took place in İzmir, such as the fire, one of the greatest disasters the city has ever experienced, continue to influence the psyches of the two nations to this day. The Turks have claimed that the occupation was marked from the very first day by the "first bullet" fired on Greek detachments by the journalist Hasan Tahsin and the bayonetting to death of Colonel Fethi Bey and his unarmed soldiers in the city's historic barracks (Sarı Kışla — the Yellow Barracks), for refusing to shout "Zito o Venizelos" (Long Live Venizelos). The Greeks, on the other hand, have accused the Turks of committing many atrocities against the Greek and Armenian communities in İzmir, including the lynching of the Orthodox Metropolitan Chrysostomos following the recapture of the city on 9 September 1922 and the slaughter of Armenian and Greek Christians. A Turkish source on İzmir's oral history concedes that in 1922, "hat-wearers were thrown into the sea, just like, back in 1919, fez-wearers were thrown in." The city was, once again, gradually rebuilt after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.
İzmir has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa), which is characterized by long, hot and dry summers; and mild to cool, rainy winters. The total precipitation for İzmir averages 686 millimetres (27 in) per year; however, 77% of that falls during November through March. The rest of the precipitation falls during April through May and September through October. There is very little rainfall from June to August.
Maximum temperatures during the winter months are usually between 10 and 16 °C (50 and 61 °F). Although it is rare, snow can fall in İzmir from December to February staying for a period of hours rather than a whole day or more. During summer, the air temperature can climb as high as 40 °C (104 °F) from June to September; however it is usually between 30 and 36 °C (86 and 97 °F).
Climate data for İzmir
|Record high °C (°F)||21.4|
|Average high °C (°F)||12.5|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||8.9|
|Average low °C (°F)||5.9|
|Record low °C (°F)||−6.4|
|Source #1: Turkish Meteorological Service|
Trade through the city's port had a determinant importance for the economy of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 19th century and the economic foundations of the early decades of Turkey's Republican era were also laid here in İzmir Economic Congress. Presently, İzmir area's economy is divided in value between various types of activity as follows: 30.5% for industry, 22.9% for trade and related services, 13.5% for transportation and communication and 7.8% for agriculture. In 2008, İzmir provided 10.5% of all tax revenues collected by Turkey and its exports corresponded to 6% and its imports 4% of Turkey's foreign trade. The province as a whole is Turkey's third largest exporter after Istanbul and Bursa, and the fifth largest importer. 85–90% of the region's exports and approximately one fifth of all Turkish exports are made through the Port of Alsancak with an annual container loading capacity of close to a million.
Prices in Izmir
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€1.70|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€6.60|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€15.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€28.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€44.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€4.50|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€3.00|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€2.80|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€7.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€6.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€18.00|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€3.30|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€1.25|
Transportation - Get In
Adnan Menderes Airport (IATA: ADB), 16 km south of the city center, has several daily flights to Istanbul, Ankara, and Antalya. There are also regular flights from many European cities.
Iz Air is a local carrier operating out of Adnan Menderes and offers many domestic connections.
- Adnan Menderes Airport (Adnan Menderes Havaalanı), , fax:.
From the airport, you have three public transport options into the city:
- Airport shuttles (HAVAŞ) meet incoming flights and go to and from the city center for 10 TL (be sure to get off the bus in the centre of town, as the bus continues north to Tersane).
- Public buses run by ESHOT, transportation department of city council, are cheaper than Havaş, at 3.70 TL/passenger if you have a Kentkart.
- Recently re-opened in August 2010, renovated and upgraded suburban train line (İzban, [www]) connects the airport with Alsancak Station in city centre, north of Konak Square with intervals of about 10 minutes between 5AM and midnight. It's possible to transfer to the metro in Halkapınar station (which is, indeed, the last station for some of the services) for trips further into the city centre, e.g. Konak Square.
Adnan Menderes Airport Car Hire Adress : 1375 Sokak No : 6/e Alsancak Konak / İzmir Telephone : +90 232 313 01 13 Call Center 0850 380 01 80
İzmir has two railway stations: Basmane in the city center serves regional trains and the Metro, and Alsancak in the north serves intercity trains and the IZBAN.
The main intercity services include: Ankara (Mavi Tren is the fastest at 14 hours), Denizli(3 express trains daily, 5–6 hours) and Isparta (9 hours). Trains for Istanbul connect with a ferry at Bandirma.
- Basmane Station, .
- Alsancak Station, .
Basmane station is linked by metro (which has a separate station than the train one) to Hatay,Karabağlar in the west and to Erzene Neighbourhood,Bornova in the east.
The bus station, or otogar, is 6 km north east of town although there are plenty of dolmuşthat make the journey there from the centre. The bus station is huge and has an internet cafe, plenty of facilities for food and drink and a large number of agencies selling tickets for coaches which, if departing imminently, they will be shouting out the destinations of. It also has pay toilets.
Buses to Istanbul take 9 hours (including a brief trip on a ferry) and travellers are provided with water, hot drinks, snacks and regular stops for toilets and food all for free on the better services for fares around 50TL per person one way. Check http://www.otobusbileti.gen.tr/izmir-otobus-bileti for prices of bus tickets from İzmir to all cities and towns in Turkey.
There is a weekly ferry from Istanbul-İzmir (19 hours), operating at weekends, and one or two weekly ferries between İzmir and Venice (67 hours). All ferries dock at the Alsancak Ferry Terminal, 2 km north of the city center.
- Alsancak Yeni Liman (terminal), +90 232 464-88-64 / 89, fax: .
Transportation - Get Around
You can explore İzmir inner city by walking. Walking Routes to center of the city are very easy to walk and enjoyable.
There are many taxis with reasonable price.
Public ferries are easy, fast inside the coast and provide a nice view of İzmir. Preferable to every other transportation in nice weather.
There is an extensive system of public buses covering the entire city.
The system of urban rail in İzmir consists of two lines:
- a line connecting city centre/Konak Square with the northeastern suburb of Bornova
- a line connecting Cumaovasi (to the south) and Aliağa (to the north). It also provides connection to Foça and other places north from İzmir.
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You can go to Konak Pier, a small mall along the Kordon with a cinema and with local and other known brands. Another mall is called Forum, in Bornova. Forum is a very big mall with all brands and a supermarket in a Mediterranean style one floored houses in open air. Kemeraltı (in the city center) offers great deal of souvenirs in a nice traditional atmosphere.
- Melons, because İzmir has a warm climate so melons are always local and fresh.
- İzmir has a famous restaurant that serves the region's specialties, especially shish kebabs.
- Fish, grilled sea bass and mezes. Usually the fish is fresh and plenty in all seasons. Veli Usta offers great deal of fish in Alsancak.
- Kumru, a warm sandwich, made with a special bread with sesame seeds, Turkish sausage, grilled cheese and tomatoes, also a vegetarian version is available without the sausage and with the addition of green pepper. This is something not to be missed while in İzmir, because it's almost impossible to find it anywhere else in the country. It's sold at numerous stalls in the streets. Best to be eaten earlier in the day to have it warm as they find their way out of bakeries in the morning. Two of them is more than enough to appease you hunger and 2TL is the standard price per each throughout the city.
- Tulum Peyniri, a kind of cheese specially made in İzmir region.
- Copsis Kebab at Topcu in Cankaya
- Belkahve: İzmir from the eye of Atatürk in 1922 
- Boyoz, another local pastry but much oilier than kumru, to eat with a cup of tea in the breakfast.
- Balcova Shopping Complex may be the most modern shopping and entertainment where in European Style. Besides, prices are reasoanable.
- 1 Gümüş Tabak. A cafe-restaurant in Kızlarağası Hanı, Kemeraltı, which offers you the traditional Turkish delicacies, from Köfte to Kokoreçwith very affordable prices. You should also try the traditional Turkish coffee that is prepared in a special way, boiled in the cup, fincan.
- Kıbrıs Şehitleri Caddesi Street in Alsancak, is a nice pedestrian street with a lot of cheap restaurant. For example, Tavuk Doner for 4TL, Iskender Kebab for 15TL.
Sights & Landmarks
Due to the Great Fire of 1920s, there is a relative lack of historical sights in İzmir, especially when considered how old the city really is (more than 5000 years old).
- Konak Square. Main square of the city center, famous for the clock tower, one of the unique symbols of İzmir. The clock tower was built in 1901. There are also Konak Yali Mosque and Kemeraltı Bazaar located around the square.
- Asansör (Elevator). This landmark was constructed by a Jewish businessman in 1907. The purpose was to help residents to go to their districts on the top of the hill. The elevator used to work by a water-driven mechanism. Later, it was restored by İzmir Municipality and now it works by electricity. There is a restaurant located on the top of the elevator with a bird-eye view of İzmir.
- Alsancak. A neighbourhood of small streets with lots of bars in old Greek houses, where you can have tea or a beer and try several waterpipe flavors.
- Kadifekale. An old castle on the hill which it's named after.
- İzmir Agora Open Air Museum (Smyrna). Ruins of the ancient city of Smyrna that flourished during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
- Teleferik (cable car) — (Has reopened for public service after a very long maintenance) Having served since 1977, it carries people to 423 m. up above the sea level. There are restaurants, cafes and gift shops located on the top of the hill.
Things to do
- Walk along the Kordon, the waterfront promenade, now lined by rows of tall apartment buildings and palm trees on one side and the Aegean on the other, with a large patch of lawn and a cobbled street in between, where you can have a 19th-century fayton (horse-drawn carriages) ride.
- Kemeraltı — A must see. A big bazaar, where you can buy clothes, presents etc. There are also a lot of lounges where you can sit.
- Kızlarağası Hanı-House of Girls' Master— An old inn (kervansaray) in Kemeraltı where you can shop for carpets and jewelry.
- Blend in with locals and take the boat from Konak to Karşıyaka.
- See also the old fortress and the Agora. This site is usually quiet and you can roam about the ruins of the old Greek market.
- Beaches — Having a coastline on Aegean sea, İzmir owns lots of beaches which are not too far from the city center. There is public transportation available to most of them. The places include Foça, Dikili, Urla, Seferihisar, and Çeşme.
Festivals and events
The annual International İzmir Festival, which begins in mid-June and continues until mid-July, has been organized since 1987. During the festival, many world-class performers such as soloists and virtuosi, orchestras, dance companies, rock and jazz groups have given recitals and performances at various venues in the city and its surrounding areas; including the ancient theatres at Ephesus (near Selçuk) and Metropolis (an ancient Ionian city situated near the town of Torbalı.) The festival is a member of the European Festivals Association since 2003.
The İzmir European Jazz Festival is among the numerous events organized every year by the İKSEV (İzmir Foundation for Culture, Arts and Education) since 1994. The festival aims to bring together masters and lovers of jazzwith the aim to generate feelings of love, friendship and peace.
The International İzmir Short Film Festival is organized since 1999 and is a member of the European Coordination of Film Festivals.
İzmir Metropolitan Municipality has built the Ahmet Adnan Saygun Art Center on a 21,000 m2 land plot in the Güzelyalı district, in order to contribute to the city's culture and art life. The acoustics of the center have been prepared byARUP which is a world-famous company in this field.
Join the nightlife on Kıbrıs Şehitleri Caddesi in Alsancak, and go find the Gazi Kadinlar Street. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are when the street is liveliest.
- All pubs and cafes in Kordon (Alsancak's waterfront) are attractive in nice weather.
- 1448 Sokak at Alsancak is full of bars and pubs from one end to another. They also have seats out on the sidewalk, and the uniform price for a bottle of beer (a pint/0.50 litre) is 6 TL all along the street.
Things to know
İzmir's cuisine has largely been affected by its multicultural history, hence the large variety of food originating from the Aegean and Mediterraneanregions. Population movement from Eastern and South East Anatoliaregions has enriched the local cuisine. Another factor is the large and fertile area of land surrounding the region which grows a rich selection of vegetables. There is considerable culinary usage of green leaf vegetables and wild plants amongst the residents, especially those with insular heritage, such as the immigrants from Crete. Some of the common dishes found here are the tarhana soup (made from dried yoghurt and tomatoes), "İzmir" köfte,sulu köfte, keşkek (boiled wheat with meat), zerde (sweetened rice withsaffron) and mücver (made from zucchine and eggs). A Sephardiccontribution to the Turkish cuisine, boyoz and lokma are pastries associated with İzmir. Kumru is a special kind of sandwich that is associated particularly with the Çeşme district and features cheese and tomato in its basics, withsucuk also added sometimes.
Safety in Izmir
Izmir is a relatively safe city for its size, however it does have its "shady" areas. The city center as well as populated suburbs are generally safe during the day. Use common sense if walking at night, avoid dark and narrow alleyways (found mainly in Alsancak and Konak). Avoid the streets around the main port as well as the streets around the railway junction (Hilal, Halkapinar). Be weary in Basmane, though it is fine to stay in hostels in this neighbourhood (the Syrian food will keep you coming back). It is important to also be cautious in Kadifekale, which is where one of the city's main landmarks is located. It is not advisable to travel on foot in the neighborhoods on the south side of the train tracks near the city center at night. Use common sense and you will be relatively safe. If you find yourself in any situation don't be afraid to call the police (155). Izmir Police Department has a "tourism police" section where travellers can report passport loss and theft or any other criminal activity they may have become victims of. The staff is multilingual and will speak English, German, French, and Arabic.
- Tourism Police (Turizm Polisi), Turizm Şube Müdürlüğü, Tepecik, +90 232 489-47-77 (fax: +90 232 441-11-63).