Izmir, the city which is home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world…
“I am 8,500 years old…” says the city of Homer…
The legendary female warriors, the Amazons, founded Izmir, or Smyrna as it was called in Ancient Times, according to one story. Alternatively, according to another tale, the Lelegs established it. The city is located on the Aegean Coast in the west of Turkey, and the city is the biggest and most important settlement in the Aegean Region. Izmir, which has managed to modernize whilst preserving its archaeological and historical assets, is an important trade centre, because of its port. The diversity of activities and resources that Izmir is able to provide makes it a very attractive area for tourism. It boasts both spas with healing thermal waters, and the deep blue sea with beaches displaying the safety symbol of the blue flag.
Izmir resonates with the water and the wind. Benefiting from the breeze from the Aegean Sea, Izmir enjoys a well-deserved reputation due to sights and ruins such as Bergama (Pergamon), Çeşme, Foça, Kemalpaşa, Selçuk, Tire and Urla, which are outstanding in terms of the richness of their natural and historical assets.
It offers visitors many options for a unique holiday experience. Its geographical location means that Izmir enjoys a Mediterranean climate plus natural beauty, a rich cultural and historical heritage, beaches, thermal waters and spas. In addition, it boasts a rich cuisine, featuring grapes, figs, olives, citrus fruits and seafood, as well as the legacies left by civilizations over thousands of years.
The city, known as “Beautiful Izmir” in Turkey, is located at the start of a long and narrow gulf, decorated with yachts, passenger ships and gulf steamers. It has a warm climate and the cooling sea breeze in the summer takes away the burning heat of the sun. Izmir, which enjoys a special cultural and historical identity, is the third largest city in Turkey. Its port, located inside the gulf, is the second largest in Turkey. As a lively and cosmopolitan city, it occupies a significant place in Turkey’s cultural life with the International Arts Festival and International Fair.
The whole of the coastal road is enchanting. The districts of Alsancak and Karşıyaka are areas offering great opportunities to meet the locals in the many restaurants, cafes and along walking paths.
“I am 8500 years old…” says Izmir. This metropolis, which is a cornucopia of civilizations and mythology in ancient Ionia, has been home to the Amazons, Lydians, Persians, Alexander the Great and his generals, Romans, Arabs, Umayyads, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans throughout thousands of years of history.
Izmir was the Homer the Poet’s inspiration and Alexander’s dream, the son of the Macedonian King Philip. Legend has it that Alexander the Great fell asleep under a tree whilst out hunting on the outskirts of Mount Pagos, today’s Kadifekale. He had a dream about a goddess called Nemesis, who ordered him to re-build the City of Smyrna in the exact place where this dream had taken place. The geographer Strabo recounts that Smyrna, which rivalled Ephesus, was the most beautiful Ionian city in Ancient Times.
It was home to Roman and Byzantine civilizations following the death of Alexander the Great and played a significant part in the spread of Christianity. Offering Genoese and Venetian traders the opportunity to settle, Izmir was later captured by the Turks in the 14th century, and was ruled by Emir Çaka Bey, Aydınoğlu Umur Bey and the Seljuks. From the 15th century onwards, it became a province of the Ottoman Empire before being occupied at the end of the First World War. It remained under occupation throughout the War of Liberation until its liberation on September 9, 1922.
It had great commercial significance, particularly in the production and export of tobacco and cotton due to the initiatives of the British, French, Italian and Dutch merchants who arrived in the city in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Izmir is attractively multi-cultural. From the perspective of cultural identity, its present socio-demographic composition is still characterized by tolerance towards different religions and cultures due to its Levantine, Jewish and Christian heritage. The synagogues and churches, which are open to visitors and still used, are important signs of this multi-cultural character.
Summers, due to Mediterranean climate in the region are hot and dry, while winters are warm and rainy. The temperature rarely drops below zero in the winter months. This temperate climate means that for most of the year it is a good place for outdoor pursuits and water sports.
Having a total land area of 11,973 km2, Izmir is composed of the following districts: Aliağa, Balçova, Bayındır, Bergama, Beydağ, Bornova, Buca, Çeşme, Çiğli, Dikili, Foça, Gaziemir, Güzelbahçe, Karaburun, Karşıyaka, Kemalpaşa, Kınık, Kiraz, Konak, Menderes, Menemen, Narlıdere, Ödemiş, Seferihisar, Selçuk, Tire, Torbalı, Karabağlar, Bayraklı and Urla.
Throughout history, Izmir has been a port city and Konak is the city centre of Izmir. Following recent restorations this area has also been turned into a recreational centre, and thus is now a lively spot throughout the day. In the square can be seen: – the monumental statue of Hasan Tahsin, who fired the “first bullet” at the occupation forces during the War of Liberation, the Yali Mosque decorated with tiles from Kütahya, the Clock Tower, the Municipality Building and the Governor’s Office.
Built between the years 1868 and 1872. The Turkish flag, raised at the Governor’s Office, marked the arrival of the Turkish army on September 9, 1922. This event symbolized the liberation of Izmir, giving this location particular importance.
Izmir’s century-old symbol
The Clock Tower, which is a symbol of Izmir, is located at Konak Square, and is a favourite meeting place for today’s residents of Izmir. The Clock Tower was designed by the Levantine French architect, Raymond Charles Père in 1901 in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the ascension of Abdulhamit II.
In the construction, the use of iron and lead elements between the cut stone meant that the tower was rendered earthquake resistant.
The clock in the tower was a gift from Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany to Sultan Abdulhamit II of the Ottoman Empire as the symbol of their personal friendship besides the Turk-German friendship.
The fountains located on all the four corners of the wide chamber under the Clock Tower have also given the tower the characteristics of a “şadırvan” (fountain used for ritual ablutions and usually located in the middle of a mosque courtyard). Another feature of the tower is the city gas installation built inside it. In the past, this was used as a lighting source at night and in the evenings.
Bayraklı / Smyrna
Izmir’s first settlement
The history of Izmir was re-written as a result of the excavations carried out by the Archaeological Department of the Aegean University in the District of Bornova in the 2000’s. Significant artefacts such as reliefs and small statues of animals, arrows made from flint stone, short handled spoons made of fired earth and seals with labyrinth motifs were unearthed particularly at Yeşilova Höyüğü (Mound) and classified as dating back to the Neolithic Period. These are very recent historical developments for Izmir, and these finds have proved that the city had been a continuous settlement for 8500 years.
The second most well known ancient settlement in Izmir is located at a place currently called Bayraklı Tepekule, and dates back to 3000 B.C. Bayraklı, which was under water in Ancient Times, was built on a peninsula extending out towards the Gulf of Izmir. Bayraklı at that period exhibited contemporary characteristics with Troy I and II. Megaron-style, rectangular designed houses dating backfrom the 10th century B.C. to the 7th century B.C. in the settlement where proto-geometric pots were unearthed have the characteristics of the Archaic Period.
Izmir’s first crown
Taking a bird’s eyes view of Izmir and the port, Kadifekale, which was called Pagos in Ancient Times, has the characteristics of an acropolis due to its position at an altitude of 186m. The ruins of walls on the western and southern parts, comprising of five towers, date back to the period of Lysimachus, one of the generals of Alexander the Great.
The settlement in Izmir was re-located to Kadifekale from Bayraklı in the period that followed the arrival of Alexander the Great in Anatolia in 334 B.C. According to the geographer Strabo, the urban core of Izmir, which was one of the 12 most beautiful Ionian cities, extending from Kadifekale to the port, comprised of streets paved with smooth stones, a temple dedicated to the mother goddess and Homer, a theatre, agora, which was a lively trade centre, a stadium, grain warehouses, water cisterns and aqueducts.
Centre for arts, trade and philosophy
Agora, etymologically, means “city square, shopping centre, market place”. At the heart of all trade, Agora with its open vaulted three- walled porches, monuments, altars and statues had commercial, judicial, religious and political functions besides it was a venue for intensive artistic activities. It was also the place where the foundations of philosophy were laid.
The agora located in the District of Namazgah in Izmir dates back to the Roman Period (2nd C. A.D.), and according to the grid planned Hippodamos model, it was built on three floors at a location near the centre. Of all the Roman Agorae, the Agora in Izmir is the largest and best preserved.
It is understood that the Agora in Izmir was a composite structure in a rectangular form, built on arches and surrounded by columns with a central courtyard; it has three floors and a staircase in front of it.
It is also understood that the relief of the Goddess Vesta at the northern gate of the agora is an extension of the reliefs from the Zeus Altar unearthed in the initial period of excavations. In addition to some statues of various gods, namely Hermes, Dionysus, Eros and Heracles, many artefacts including statues of men, women and animals, reliefs, figurines, marbles, bones, glasses, metal works and articles made of fired earth were uncovered. The newly unearthed inscriptions provided information about the people who assisted the city during an earthquake which occurred in Izmir in 178.
A historic bazaar
Kemeralti is a historic bazaar covering an area extending from the Neighbourhood of Mezarlikbaşi to Konak Square. Anafartalar Avenue, that constitutes the main street of the bazaar, forms a wide curve. This curve stems from the fact that the street once surrounded the perimeters of the internal port, which existed in previous centuries.
As in the past, Kemeralti Bazaar is a major shopping centre in Izmir today. The bazaar, having an outdoor and indoor section, offers visitors a rich variety of products and services ranging from traditional Turkish handicrafts like ceramics, tile panels, wooden products, copper, carpets, rugs and leather products, to delicious Aegean foodstuffs.
Modem Shopping Centre
Gustav Eiffel, in his offices in France, designed Konak Pier, which is also within walking distance of the business and commercial centres such as Alsancak and Konak, before it was built in the Ottoman Period between 1875 and 1890. It served as a customs building until the mid-20th century. Famous for its steel construction, this structure has been restored and re-designed as a modern shopping and recreational centre. There are restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and about 50 stores in a 20,000m2 area of this centre which was re-named the Konak Pier.
Source of inspiration for poets and songs
Kordonboyu (I.Kordon) isjust like a pearl necklace running along the coast in the District of Alsancak, enjoying the popularity it has received for providing the inspiration for many poems and songs. It offers romantic sunsets, sea breezes, cafes, fish restaurants, stylish stores, parades, running and biking courses. It also provides an ideal atmosphere for entertainment and recreational activities, bringing together the people of Izmir.
Located in Basmane-Dônertaç. Dônertaç Fountain was named after the rotating column in the corner, and the area in the vicinity is called by this name. It was built at the beginning of the 19th century, with a single dome and a square plan. The fountain is one of the most beautiful examples of the Turkish baroque style.
Of particular note are the bouquet vase and the fruit bowl compositions, the relief decorations on the marble, with a theme peculiar to the Tulip Age. As decorative elements, tulips, roses, flower buds, leaves, branches and other similar plants have been used. The structure is one of the best examples of fountain architecture in Izmir.
The Asansör (lit. elevator) Building, which was constructed by the Jewish businessman Nesim Levi in 1907 to facilitate reaching the upper part of Mithatpaşa Street, is one of the interesting tourist spots in Izmir today. This aesthetically designed building is recognized as one of the indispensable social structures in Izmir.
An Ottoman experience
Kızlarağası Han (Inn) was built by Hacı Beşir Ağa in 1744 to serve the public. The inn, one of the rare works of Ottoman architecture in Izmir that has survived until the present day, has the design of other Ottoman inns, with bazaars and courtyards. Kızlarağası Han is a glorious structure with its rectangular plan, two-storey “bedesten” (vaulted part of a bazaar where valuable goods were kept) and courtyard. Following restoration in recent years, it has become an authentic shopping and social centre in Izmir.
Located opposite the Kizlaragasi Han. It was built in the 19th century. Çakaloglu Han is distinguishable from other inns nearby by the architectural features peculiar to it.
Yali (Konak) Mosque
Yali (Konak) Mosque at Konak Square, built in the 18th century, is noteworthy for its tiles and octagonal plan and is one of the most elegant mosques in Izmir. The mosque decorated with turquoise tiles blends in totally with Konak Square and has become the second symbol of Izmir after the Clock Tower.
Located adjacent to Kizlaragasi Han in Kemeralti is one of the biggest mosques in Izmir, Hisar Mosque, built in 1597. The mosque was built of cut stone. The interior decor displays many beautiful examples of the Ottoman Decorative Arts.
Built in 1667, the mosque comprises of a large dome on a square space and four domes surrounding it. It is rumoured that its magnificent mihrab (niche in a mosque wall indicating the direction of Mecca) was brought from Isa Bey Mosque in Selçuk.
The mosque, which was built in 1636, was named after the şadırvans (fountain used for ritual ablutions and usually located in the middle of a mosque courtyard) located adjacent to and below it. It was repaired in 1815. The mihrab (niche in a mosque wall indicating the direction of Mecca), minber (pulpit beside the mihrab reached by a long, straight flight of steps) and sermon place of the mosque are all made of marble. On its eastern side, the mosque has a minaret with a single şerefe (balcony) and on its western side it has a library.
This mosque was built by Salepçizade Hacı Ahmet Efendi in 1906. It has a large dome and its exterior walls are made of marble and green stones. One of the most precious mosques in Izmir, the six-compartmented Salepçioğlu Mosque is architecturally elegant.
Built by Yusuf Çavuşzade Ahmet Ağa in 1671, the mosque is one of the most significant historical works in Izmir. The worshipping space has a single dome and a square plan as its minaret is located in the west. There is a madrasah (theological school attached to a mosque), a library and a sebil (kiosk built for the dispensing of free water as an act of piety) surrounding the mosque which is noteworthy for its gypsum decorations.
Church of Saint Polycarp (İzmir Church)
Oldest church in Izmir
Built with the permission of Süleyman the Magnificent in 1625, this church is the oldest church in Izmir, which is still in service. The interior, famous for its glamorous frescoes and wall decorations, depicts the killing of Saint Polycarp, the protective saint of Izmir, by the Romans in the ancient stadium at Kadifekale. Architect Raymond Charles Père, a native of Izmir, who restored the frescoes in the 19th century, depicted himself as someone watching the event helplessly with his hands tied. Mary Père, the daughter of Charles Père, is depicted as the child Mary in the scene “The Saint Mother and Child Mary” on the sidewall of the northern nave.
Church of St. John
Construction began in 1862 and services started in 1874. The main altar was a gift from Pope Pius IX. It is known that in 1863, Sultan Abdülaziz, the then Ottoman ruler, donated a large sum of gold for financing the construction of this church. Both Protestant and Catholic American communities presently use the church.
Church of Saint Helen
Located in the District of Karşıyaka bearing the signature of Raymond Charles Père, the Church of Saint Helen is the most monumental example of recreating the Gothic style. The church was built on a plot of land donated by the Levantine Aliotti family following permission by Abdülhamit, the Ottoman emperor of the time.
The synagogues in Izmir are mainly located in an area adjacent to the Neighbourhood of Namazgâh. This area is also the settlement place for the Jewish community. The Jews, who settled in Izmir in 1492 and the ensuing years created their own settlement in a manner similar to the one observed in other cities, with each such group opening a sanctuary. In recognition of this Street No 927 at Mezarlıkbaşı is known as Havra Sokağı (Street of Synagogues). The street is called by this name because of the amount of synagogues in the vicinity.
Beth Israel Synagogue
Since the Jews in Izmir were relocated to the neighbourhoods of Göztepe, Karantina and Karataş towards the end of the 19th century, the Beth Israel Synagogue, the largest one in Izmir, was built in Karataş Neighbourhood upon an order by Sultan Abdülhamit II, the Ottoman Emperor of the time, on March 15, 1905.
The interior decoration of the synagogue, which began service in 1907, was an ongoing process, achieving its present condition in the 1950’s. The wooden decorations made of solid mahogany are the works of the famous masters of the period. The synagogue was designed to hold 600 people, with its lower floor exclusively for men and the upper floor for women. It is a favourite spot for religious celebrations like the wedding ceremonies and Bar Mitzvahs.
It was built by the Algazi Family in 1724, and is the largest synagogue after the Beth Israel. It is open for services on Jewish religious days.
The Archaeological Museum, which was opened to visitors in 1984, is a three storied building exhibiting many artifacts from the prehistoric periods to the Byzantine Period. Izmir Archaeological Museum, where artifacts unearthed at the ruins such as Aphrodisias, Bayraklı, Bergama (Pergamon), Bodrum, Çandırlı, Efes (Ephesus), Erythria, lassos, Claros, Klazomenia, Colophon, Kyme, Larissa, Lebedos, Magnesia, Miletus, Notion, Phocaea, Stratonikeia, Teos and Tralles are exhibited, is home to baked earth remains found, dating back to prehistoric ages and the third millennium BC.
The artefacts exhibited include: – Western Anatolian earthen pot vases decorated with black and red figurines.jugs, bottles, masks, small statues, and ornamental articles made of gold, silver and precious metals, coins, statues, busts and portraits.
The building which since 1987 has served as an Ethnography Museum was built according to the neo-classic style at the beginning of the 19th century. The museum aims to provide information about social lifestyle and interactions in the Izmir area in the 19th century. Handicrafts, that faced extinction following industrialization, such
as tin smithery, ironmongery, pottery making, blue bead making, wood printing, carpet weaving, rope making and the production of felt are all exhibited. The first Turkish chemist shop, a famous sherbet seller’s store and period clothes from Izmir can also be seen. In addition, items on display include a guest room, a bridal room, a circumcision room, bridal head-dressings, purses, glassware and hand ornaments, coins, hand written books and lettering sets, all of which are from the 19th century.
History and Arts Museum
The History and Arts Museum opened in 2004 exhibits artefacts from Ancient Smyrna in Bayraklı and other Western Anatolian ruins such as Miletus, Ephesus and Claros. The single storied museum building displays the significant artefacts from the Hellenistic and Roman Periods in three separate compartments, namely, ceramics, stones and precious artefacts. A rich assortment of coins and bronze objects are displayed in the precious artefacts section. The museum is located near Montrö Gate, one of the gates that provide access to the Culture Park.
Built between 1875 and 1880 and located at 1. Kordon in the Neighbourhood of Alsancak, this building follows the line from the neo-classic period. The museum building displays features of the architecture, which is very common in Izmir, with its two storeys and bay windows. The lower surface of its entrance floor is made of marble, and it exhibits the busts of Atatürk, crystal mirrors and valuable marble statues. In the rooms of the museum, a magnificent 19thcenturyfireplace is on display.
The House Museum of ismet İnönü
This house, located at No. 20 on İnönü Street, was the home where ismet İnönü, one of the leading commanders in the War of Liberation and 2nd President of the Republic of Turkey, was born on September 24, 1884. The house in the Neighbourhood of Ikiçeşmelik was opened to visitors in 1999 and exhibits Inönü’s personal belongings and clothes. Visitors are able to watch a documentary film about İnönü.
Ahmet Piriştina City Archive and Museum
This building, which served the inhabitants of Izmir as a fire station for many years, was converted into a museum for the purpose of preserving memories of the city and providing the next generations with a rich archive on Izmir’s urban history. The museum is named after Ahmet Piriştina, one of the famous mayors of the city.
Railways Museum and Arts Gallery
Built by the British between 1856 and 1858, the two-storied museum comprises of nine rooms and two halls. The museum is located on the upper floor of the building with an arts gallery in the entrance floor. It exhibits the registration plate numbers which identify the locomotives and wagons used in the past. Components of the steam locomotives and train signal lanterns, track measurement devices and office supplies used by the railways administration since its foundation as well as the first telephone systems used, models of steam locomotives and photographs of Atatürk are also displayed.
Parks and Recreational Spots
The Culture Park is a major recreational spot for the inhabitants of Izmir offering a number of sports and recreational facilities within an area displaying palm trees and vegetation typical to the Mediterranean landscape. Since 1936 the annual International Izmir Fair is held in this park at the end of August.
Aegean University Botanical Garden
Located within the complex of the Aegean University in the Bornova district, this park is the only internationally qualified botanical garden in Turkey, and it offers a rich variety of plant life. The garden accommodates many species of plants ranging from those from the tropical regions to those from the Alps, kept in artificial conditions. Hundreds of shrubs and trees are grown in the garden that accommodates about 3000 species. The garden also houses a Herbarium Research and Application Centre where dried plant samples are preserved for scientific research.
Cable Car Facilities
The cable car located in the Balçova Neighbourhood charms visitors with the breathtaking scenery displayed on the journey.
“Agamemnon Spas” 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 Spas” and offers thermal waters, mud baths and a source of drinking water. The Balçova Spas, which also provides accommodation, are particularly beneficial for the treatment of disorders relating to the upper respiratory system, chronic infections, rheumatism, metabolism and skin. The curing water of the Balçova Spas contains sodium chloride.
101 km of golden sands
The Aegean coastal strip in the Province of Izmir runs for a length of 629 km. A101 km section of this coastal strip is a natural beach. The geographical formation of Izmir’s coastal strip consisting of a peninsular and some small bays provides ideal opportunities for water sports as well as the use of a beach. The most popular beaches in the province include beaches at Pamucak, Urla, Gülbahçe, Çeşme, Ilıca, Alaçatı, Altınkum, Gümüldür and Özdere, as well as those at Dikili, Çandırlı, Foça and Ören in the north. Transport to and from the beaches is very convenient. Throughout the day there is transport from the bus stations at Izmir central and Üçkuyular to almost every district.
The southern part of the Çeşme Peninsula in Izmir, in particular, forms one of the major yacht routes in Turkey. The route between Çeşme and Kuşadası is the area where yacht tourism has developed the most. The small bays which extend side by side in the south of the sub-district of Alaçatı are paradise for yacht lovers.
The combination of its cultural accumulation dating back thousands of years with the climate and the geography enables the city to offer visitors a cuisine which is one of the richest cuisines in Anatolia. The multi-coloured and tolerant history of the Aegean civilizations has made its mark on this diversified cuisine. Albanians, Bosnians, Levantines and Jews are just a few of the representatives from this multi-cultural society, who have left their imprint on the cuisine.
The cuisine of Izmir is a very different experience… “Meals cooked with olive oil” are a kind of meal that the Turks familiarized themselves with upon their immigration to Anatolia. Olive trees, one of the oldest plants in the geography of the Eastern Mediterranean civilizations, have also played a significant part in the Aegean Region for thousands of years. Olives, which are part of the common cultural heritage of the Mediterranean nations, were a historical sustenance. Olive oil, which is the source of health, beauty and healthy nutrition, is the most important ingredient of vegetable based meals such as vine leaves, broad beans, small reddish coloured beans, black eyed peas, stuffed peppers, artichokes, spinach, pumpkin, pumpkin flowers and cabbage.
In the summer months, olive oil is mostly used in dishes using aubergines, peppers, courgette and pumpkin as the main ingredient, and in the winter months dishes with carrots and cauliflower.
Herbal types such as arapsaçı, chicory, stinging nettle, dandelion, garden rocket and purslane are the favourite flavours of the dishes. The immigrants from the Aegean islands had a considerable effect in the spread of the herbal culture in Izmir.
As a main course in Izmir’s cusine, “Izmir köfte” served with tomato sauce and “köfte” (meatballs), specialties from Ayvalık, Bergama, Ödemiş and Tire, which are served with various garnitures and sauces, date back to the Seljuk and Ottoman Periods. Arnavut ciğeri, ciğer kapama, çöp şiş, eibasan tava, kuzu etli arap saçı and şevket-i bostan are some of the favourites of the local cuisine.
Sea food is another major stop during the journey into the cuisine of Izmir. Fish dishes such as sardines cooked in vine leaves, sole fillet, fried picarel, sea bream, fried papalina, fish cooked with milk (sütlü balık) and salty fish, octopus nibbles, scallops, shrimps, mussels, stuffed mussels, cuttlefish and hermit crab are a selection of what will be served at table.
This journey is never complete without fruits and desserts. For centuries the elegant fig has been the crown of all the fruits. Especially, the type called Bardacık which grows in Izmir, particularly in Çeşme, but the number of trees producing is decreasing gradually. Figs, which are an ideal breakfast accompaniment and a favourite fruit in summer, become a delicious dessert when baked with walnuts. Figs produce a completely different taste when served with almonds, plums, lemons, pomegranates, black mulberries, mulberries, tangerines and oranges.
There are several delicious desserts, namely lokma, lor tatlısı, Aegean fruit salad, fırında sütlaç, tulumba, kalburabastı, kazandibi, revani, sakızlı muhallebi, su muhallebisi, şambalı and zerde, which will entice someone into taking this journey again.
Inhabitants of Izmir prefer spending most of their times outdoors, a socio-cultural reflection of the warm Mediterranean climate. Scenes peculiar to inhabitants of Izmir include, those starting the day with a freshly baked simit (bagel) at Vapur iskelesi (lit. ferry pier) and drinking tea, those enjoying a cup of Turkish coffee while watching the sunset at Kordon ,and those fishing or strolling by the seaside or taking a ride on phaetons or shopping at the traditional Kemeralti bazaar.
Bars and restaurants are lively when evening comes and night falls that it is not surprising to see new hot spots opening all the time in the Karşıyaka, Bostanlı and Inciraltı neighbourhoods, where there are opportunities to relax after a hard day, enjoy lively conversation and share dinner with friends. Restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars where select dishes from Turkish and international cuisine are served, will make for a lively social life. More modest spots addressing more local tastes are mostly located in the Konak, Kemeralti, Bornova and Balçova neighbourhoods.
In particular, Kordonboyu is one of the liveliest spots in Izmir, reflecting the colours and glitter of the night. Visitors are recommended to visit a café at Kordon and experience the ambience there. They can feel the spirit and have a genuine taste of local life in Izmir.
For nature lovers or sports fans, Izmir offers a wide range of options ranging from mountaineering, tennis, parasailing, surfing, riding and diving to “water” theme parks in Kuşadası, Selçuk – Pamucak and Balçova, which particularly appeal to children and youths.
The cultural and arts centres in the city host many famous scientists and artists in a number of events, holding congresses, symposiums, exhibitions, theatres, musicals and concerts throughout the year.
The City of the Mother Goddess
Torbalı, which is on the Izmir – Efes Highway, is located on a hill overlooking the plain between the villages of Yeniköy and Özbey. The first settlement in this region between the ancient cities of Ephesus (Efes), Smyrna (Izmir), Colophon (Değirmendere) and Notion (Ahmetlibeyli) was built during the reign of the Seleucid Kingdom of in the 3rd century B.C. and this settlement was named Metropolis, meaning “the City of the Mother Goddess”.
Metropolis experienced its golden age during the Hellenistic Period, with altars in honour of the Emperor Augustus in the Roman Period, and it served as a centre of episcopacy in the Byzantine Period. Significant finds have been unearthed relating to the foundation of the city in the excavations. Artefacts discovered beneath the ruins of the Byzantine and Hellenistic structures include pieces of prehistoric ceramic containers, stone axes and obsidian, which is natural glass, dating back to 3000 B.C., namely the early Bronze Period, and materials belonging to the Ancient Period.
Monumental public structures can be seen, such as the Temple of Ares in the acropolis, an eyvan (three-walled vaulted antechamber, open at the front) and a theatre up on a hill. As a result of excavations carried out, the stage building of the theatre, the orchestra floor and sections of seat rows including seats and altars allocated for the noblemen were unearthed. It is understood that the eyvan was built from the donations of philanthropists in the first half of the 3rd century B.C. The outer walls of the acropolis surround an area of about 16 thousand square meters, and are recognized as the most successful example of the architecture from the period when it was built. The glassworks and pieces of glass articles produced there indicate that apart from agriculture, animal husbandry and marble production, industry was also advanced in the region.
In the environs of the metropolis there are many ancient structures belonging to the 3rd century B.C., Roman and Byzantine Periods. These are the mounds of Araplitepe, Aslanlar, Sinektepe and Tepekôy. The excavations led to the unearthing of a large number of artefacts including ceramic articles, earrings, coins, bronze articles, glassware pieces and earthenware. Research on the cult cave belonging to the Mother Goddess, which gave her name to the city, as well as the excavation work in the metropolis is currently in process. The finds and fortune telling lists discovered in the cave indicate that the Mother Goddess Cave was used as a centre of soothsaying.
The Menderes district is 20 km from Izmir. The ancient city of Lebedos is in the Urkmez location, in the west of the district. The ruins of the ancient cities of Colophon, Claros, Notion and Lebedos, located adjacent to each other, are the important archaeological reference points concerning the history of the area. The sub-district of Gumuldur located in this region is the producer of “satsuma”, a world famous type of tangerine. The subdistrict of Ozdere is a location not only popular for its clean sea and coast, but also for offering great fishing opportunities for amateur fisherman. Beads produced by the local people in the Village of Gorece in Menderes are used to avert the evil eye, a place of particular interest to local and foreign tourists alike.
The city to the east of present day Degirmendere, named after Colophon Mountain, was the only Ionian city not to be built by the seaside. It formed a strong union with the Port of Notion and Claros, the city of temples. There are a few ruins in the city, which was settled throughout the Lydian, Persian, Seleucid and Pergamon periods. The city remained under the influence of Crete and Mycenae during the major Ionian migrations. The first excavation work was carried out in 1922, in the area where city ruins had been unearthed earlier in 1886. The lower city section extends along the edge of the acropolis located in the south, and the walls built in the 4th century B.C. protect it. The first city was located to the southwest of the hill with a height of 800 m where the acropolis was built. There are imprints and signs of buildings that once existed on the northern slope of the acropolis. Of such buildings, which survived to present day in a good condition, an eyvan (three- walled vaulted antechamber, open at the front) which dates back to the 4th century B.C. is the most outstanding one. It is believed that the famous philosopher and poet Xenophanes lived in Colophon in the 6th century B.C.
Claros, the city of soothsayers
Although the year of its foundation is not known, it is believed that the inhabitants of Colophon built this city as a temple site for the main god, Apollo, in the 7th to 6th centuries B.C. The Temple of Apollo, built in the Doric style, was known throughout the world for its soothsayers, who were believed to have secret powers. There are ruins from the Ionian, Roman and Byzantine periods. Claros, which was not an independent city, achieved some development as an annex to Colophon. Inscriptions carved by people visiting the soothsayers for advice have been unearthed in Propylea, which is believed to have been built in the 2nd century B.C. In Propylea, there is a sacred pathway leading to the Temple of Apollo, which is lined on both sides with columns and statues.
The Statue of Apollo on top of the sacred room is 7.5 m tall. At a distance of 2.5m from the front of the temple there is a monumental altar. The site, where excavation of these ruins is in progress by the Aegean University, is open to visitors.
Port City of Notion
Notion, which was the port city of Colophon, is 2 km from Claros. Although no ruins have survived to present day in a protected condition, the outer city walls running for about 4 km, and dating back to the Hellenistic Period, are an interesting spot. It is also a favourite place to visit because of its proximity to Colophon and Claros, and the views offered of the Island of Samos, Kuşadası and Efes (Ephesus). The major ruins at Notion are located to the south of Ahmetlibey and include the Temple of Athena, a Bouleuterion, outer city walls and a theatre.
Authentic village life surviving in modern times
80 km from Izmir and 40 km from Selçuk, Tire is one of the most popular sites in the Aegean Region, particularly for its cultural and natural assets. It is a tourist’s treasure trove comprising of hundreds of historic structures, a museum, handicrafts, authentic houses, a bazaar and local cuisine. It is possible and easy to do this tour as a day trip.
Important historical buildings include: Çanakçı Masjid (small mosque), Şemsi Masjid, Doğancıyan Zaviyesi (small dervish lodge), Kızıl Deli Baba Zaviyesi, Yeşil imaret Zaviyesi, Karahasan Mosque, Karakadı Mosque, Molla Arap Mosque, Paşa Mosque, Ulu Mosque, Yalınayak Mosque, Yeni Mosque, Yeniceköy Mosque, Kurt – Yoğurtluoğlu Külliyesi (complex of buildings adjacent to a mosque), Ali Baba Tekkesi (dervish lodge), Ayazma (spring of water regarded as sacred by Orthodox Greeks), Dar-ül Kurra Madrasa (theological school attached to a mosque), Balım Sultan Tomb, Ibni Melek Tomb, Sire Hatunlar Tomb, Süleyman Şah Tomb, Public Library, Necip Pasha Library, Abdülselam Yeni Han (caravanserai – large commercial building), Kurşunlu Han, Old – New Turkish Bath House, Terziler Bath House, Hafsa Hatun Fountain, Yeğenağa Fountain, Hüseyin Ağa Bridge, Tire Museum, Atatürk Monument, Liberation Monument, Şahizade Monument and Toptepe.
“Tire Bazaar” held every Tuesday is a kind of a fete; 6 km long and a multitude of rich colours are on display. Visitors are recommended to shop in the bazaar and drink the famous “black mulberry sherbet”, which is the most enjoyable part of any tour program.
As well as workmanship from the Turkish period, a number of local, cultural and historical works can be seen. These include: rope and clog production, the making and selling of quilts, woven mats and wickerwork production, the making and selling of saddles and harnesses and the production of felt. Weaving can be seen and of particular interest are the “Beledi woven products”, still produced in Tire. Beledi weaving, is recognized throughout the world as the ancestor of jacquard loom weaving, and has been produced in Tire since the 16th century.
There is a monumental tomb in the Belevi sub-district, east from the roadjunction, 13 km from Selçuk on the Izmir Highway. This monumental tomb dating back to the Hellenistic Age is the largest and highest monumental tomb ever discovered in Anatolia after the Halicarnassus Mausoleum, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The Selçuk District is on the Izmir – Aydın Highway, 74 km south from Izmir. Selçuk rightfully prides itself as a home to a large number of historic works and ruins, over an area of 10 km2. These include: the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; House of the Virgin Mary, which is sacred for Christians; the Ancient City of Ephesus, which is the most splendid ancient city in Turkey; the tomb and church of St John, who was one of Jesus Christ’s disciples; Seven Sleepers Cave; Isa Bey Mosque; Selçuk Castle; aqueducts; and civil architecture examples in Şirince Village. This locality, which was for centuries filled with the alluvium from the River of Küçük Menderes, isjust 9 km from the Bay of Pamucak, a preservation site with a crystal clear sea and a glittering beach.
From Artemis to the Virgin Mary
The Ancient City of Ephesus, called the centre of civilizations, was the capital of the Asian State of the Roman Empire, and was once the most populated city in Anatolia, with a population of 200,000 between the years 100 – 200. Ephesus witnessed many historic events including the efforts of St Paul to spread Christianity, visits by the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and the Roman Emperor Mark Anthony, and the last days of the Virgin Mary and St John. It is Turkey’s most important cultural heritage site attracting about 1.5 million tourists a year.
The history of this most ancient settlement dates back to 6000 B.C. The administration for this magnificent site of ruins falls under thejurisdiction of Selçuk, Izmir, which has throughout history played a significant part in the fields of civilization, science and culture.
Legend has it that Androcles, the son of King Kadros founded the city. However, its foundation dates back to a much earlier period, as it was referred to by the Hittite inscriptions as Apasa, the capital of the Arzawa Country.
The immigrants, who started arriving from the islands in the Aegean Sea from 1000 B.C., wanted to convert Ephesus into a colony.
Ephesus is also home to the largest temple from the Artemis cult, based on the tradition of Kybele, the most ancient goddess in Anatolia. The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World in the Classical Period. The port city of Ephesus where people immigrated by sea and began settling in 1050 B.C. was re-located to the environs of the Temple of Artemis in 560 B.C.
Lysimachus, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, built the Ancient City of Ephesus seen today by tourists, in 300 B.C. Although it experienced its most glorious times during this time and the Roman Period, the city was no longer a desirable settlement thereafter. The once busy port over time filled with alluvium, and as a result, the city had to be moved to the environs of St John’s Basilica built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian (527 – 565) on Ayasuluk Hill. Conquered by the Turks in 1330 and converted into the capital of the Aydınoğulları Principality, Ayasuluk began diminishing gradually from the 16th century onwards, adopting its present name, Selçuk, in 1923.
Excavations in the ancient city of Ephesus have been ongoing by the Efes Museum and the Austrian Archaeological Institute since 1895. Today, thousands of tourists stroll along the Port Street (Liman Caddesi) every day. They watch the most magnificent artistic performances of the year at the Grand Theatre (Büyük Tiyatro), enjoy the splendour of the breathtaking Celsus Library, witness Christians paying pilgrimage at the Virgin Mary’s House and are able to appreciate thousands of artefacts from the Mycenaean, Ancient, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman Periods at the Selçuk Archaeological Museum.
The deeply founded belief that the Virgin Mary and St John once lived in Ephesus has also turned the city into a sacred religious centre.
Publis Vedius Antonius, a rich native of Ephesus, built the gymnasium in the 2nd century. It is a splendid structure with a courtyard in the east, a ceremonial hall in the centre, changing rooms and bathhouses, where the sports and cultural training were held. All of the structures reflect the features from the period.
Located to the south of the Vedius Gymnasium, this structure was an important venue for social meetings. Sports events, Olympic Games and gladiator matches were held here.
The Church of the Virgin Mary (Twin Churches)
Located opposite the Byzantine bathhouses, The Church of the Virgin Mary has a special importance for Christianity. This is the church where the Council convened in431. The structure, which was converted into a basilica during the Roman Period in the 2nd century, was originally dedicated to Virgin Mary, and at the Third Council held there, the dogma that Jesus Christ was the son of both St Mary and God was upheld.
In the 7th century, a second church was built, reached via a second door from the apse of the church, and thus, this was called “Çifte Churches” (Twin Churches) thereafter. After a blessing by Pope Paul VI in 1967, the church was declared a sacred centre, because it was the first church dedicated to Virgin Mary.
Arkadiane Port Street
This columned road starting directly in front of the theatre and extending as far as Ephesus’ ancient port was dedicated to Emperor Arcadius, and it is believed that it was equipped with lighting in the 5th century. This street with its galleries on either side was also used as a ceremonial street.
The marble columns standing on the right and left of this splendid street on which the Roman General Mark Anthony and the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra walked together are believed to be quite strong, despite the length of time that has passed.
Although the theatre, which is one of the most beautiful structures within the ruins of Ephesus, was originally built in the Hellenistic Period with a 24 thousand-seat capacity, it is known that it underwent re-building in the time of the Roman Emperor Claudius, and that it was completed in the period of Emperor Trajan (98 -117). It is the largest, best preserved building in Ephesus and witnessed many gladiator fights in the Late Roman Period. St Paul attempted to deliver a sermon there in order to spread Christianity, but the devotees of the Ephesians’ Artemis prevented his efforts.
Starting from the Celsus Library, this street extends in a northern direction towards the Grand Theatre. The 400 m long marble paved street underwent reconstruction in the 5th century. With a sewerage system beneath it, which was very advanced technology for the time; it was a long and sacred road leading to the Temple of Artemis.
The Asian Consul, Julius Aguila in memory of his father, Celsus, built the Celsus Library situated near the commercial agora in 115. The library was the third largest in the world in the Classical Period after the Alexandria Library in Egypt, and the Pergamon (Bergama) Library in Anatolia. A door on the rear wall provides access to Celsus’ tomb. The statue of Celsus, originally erected there, is now exhibited in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. The decoration on the front of the structure, reflecting all of the architectural features of the Roman Period, is cited as one of the most beautiful examples from that time. The four female statues situated among the front façade columns depict Celsus’ personal virtues – Wisdom (Sophia), Character (Arete), Judgment Power (Ennoia) and Experience (Episteme).
This trading centre was built in the Hellenistic Period. Surrounded by walls on all of the four sides, this site is 110 x110 m2 in size. During the times of the Emperors Augustus, Nero and Caracalla the agora was expanded and new parts were added. The small monument called Horologion, where the water and sundials can be found, is exactly in the centre of the bazaar.
When going up Marble Street the intersection point with Curetes Street is where the Love House is found. This interesting house dating backto the 1st century comprises of a central hall with many rooms opening out into it. It is believed that the mosaic portraits of girls were those of the girls working in the house. The house had a wine cellar, a pool, a dining room and bedrooms.
Skolastika Bath House
Skolastika was a rich Roman woman who lived in Ephesus. At the entrance to this building also defined as an extension to the Brothel is a headless statue of Skolastika. It is understood that under her orders the building was repaired. Its date of construction is the 1st century and it has three floors. The floors and walls of the library, entertainment hall and rest rooms were all covered with marble.
Temple of Hadrian
The Temple of Hadrian is one of the most beautiful buildings on Curetes Street. Only a section of the entrance, the façade face and the sacred room has survived to present day. The most interesting mythological scene on the temple’s friezes is the scene where King Androklos, the founder of Ephesus, is depicted killing a wild boar. P. Quintilus built the temple in commemoration of Emperor Hadrian (117 – 138).
Trajan Fountain is situated on Curetes Street near the Temple of Hadrian. The statues that decorated the floor of the fountain are exhibited in the Efes Museum. The fountain had two floors and a pool the size of 5.20 x 11.90 m located in front of it. At the point where water flowed into this pool there used to be a large statue of Emperor Trajan.
From the Celsus Library, turning into Curetes Street on the right hand side are the houses on the slopes of Mount Bülbül. These were the dwellings of rich Ephesians. Opened to visitors in 2006, the houses which have recently undergone restoration open straight onto the street with their wide staircases. Their walls are covered with marble decorated with frescoes and mosaics.
Temple of Domitian
This was the first temple in Ephesus to be built in commemoration of an emperor. It is situated in the most central section of the city opposite the State Agora. The cult statue and altar from the Temple of Domitian are exhibited at the Efes Museum. From the statue, only the head and the arm have survived to present day.
Municipal Palace (Prytaneion)
Hestia Altar, situated on the right hand side of the building was considered a sacred place in Ephesus. A sacred fire used to burn constantly at this altar. The Prytaneion was the venue for not only politics but also important ceremonies, festivals and receptions. The excavation of two Artemis statues here indicates that the Prytaneion was a place of religious importance as well.
Publius Vedius Antonius, a rich figure from Ephesus, constructed the Odeon in the 2nd century. The Odeon had a seating capacity of 1400, and was covered with a wooden roof.
Gate of Magnesia
This building, built by Emperor Vespasian in the first century, was a major gate linking the sacred road, from the Temple of Artemis with the theatre.
Temple of Artemis
The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is the most magnificent religious structure from the Hellenistic Period and was the first temple to have been constructed of marble. This splendid structure remains important despite surviving to present day with no architectural details and only a few foundation remains.
The first archaeological excavations indicate that there was a settlement in Artemision from 1500 to 300 B.C. Although the first temple built in commemoration of the Goddess Kybele dates back to the 8th century B.C., throughout the centuries it underwent many changes. In 356 B.C., the year in which Alexander the Great was born, the temple was totally burnt down in a fire, caused by a man named Herostratos. In 330 BC, the Ephesians re-built the Temple of Artemis using designs from the original plan, but this time because of the importance they attributed to it, they wanted it to be even more splendid than the previous one.
The Temple of Artemis, dedicated to the Mother Goddess of Anatolia, was built in the Ancient Period by the Architects; Chersiphron, Metagenes from Crete and Thedoros. It was used not only for worshipping and for protection from evil, but throughout the centuries was used as a storage place for the cult statues of the Goddess Artemis and other temple possessions including the altars.
Pieces of a column on which several storks have built their nests today are the only remnants of the temple that have survived to present day.
Cave of Seven Sleepers
It is estimated that the structure was built in a period between the 5th and 6th centuries, and the location of the Seven Sleepers ruin is thought to possess the features of a religious centre. Legend has it that, prior to the adoption of Christianity as the official religion; seven youths took shelter in this place. They were escaping from devotees of idol worshipping, and in this cave fell asleep, waking up two centuries later. When they awoke, Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman Empire. Following this miraculous phenomenon, a giant monument was erected in the location where these seven youths were buried after their death. The structure unearthed in the excavations is of monumental dimensions, and also discovered were the remains of rock carved tombs, two churches and catacombs.
House of Virgin Mary
The house of Virgin Mary, who is considered to be the holy mother of Christianity, is situated on Mount Bülbül. Jesus Christ asked St John, one of his disciples, to provide protection for his mother, Mary, before he died on the cross. It is believed that based on this, St. John thought it unwise for the Virgin Mary to stay in Jerusalem, so brought her with him to Ephesus. Here she remained hidden in a cottage, surrounded by dense trees, on the outskirts of Mount Bülbül. The Virgin Mary remained here until she passed away.
Ayasuluk Hill and Castle
This hill was defended by a castle that was constantly fortified throughout the Early Christian, Byzantine and Seljuk Periods. The outer wall, which still stands today, was built in the Early Christian Period, and underwent major restoration in the Seljuk and Ottoman Periods.
St John’s Basilica
According to a Christian tradition emerging at the beginning of the 2nd century, St. John, one of Jesus Christ’s disciples, is cited as being one of the authors of the Bible. Following his death, a simple grave was built for him on the southern slope of Ayasuluk Hill. A wooden roofed basilica was built on this grave at the beginning of the 5th century, but this structure was replaced by Emperor Justinian in the mid 6th century, with a new domed basilica based on a cross design. From the 6th century following the relocation of Ephesians to Ayasuluk, St John’s Basilica became the location of the ancient Bishopric Church, and Ayasuluk Hill was encircled by perimeter walls. From 1974, following fundamental restoration work on the Basilica its environs have been turned into an archaeological park.
İsa Bey Mosque
Isa Bey Mosque is located on Ayasuluk Hill, on the western slopes of St John’s Basilica. The mosque built by Isa Bey in 1375, is a building from the Seljuk Period. The building is the oldest known example of a typical Turkish mosque with its courtyard and Anatolian columns. With its decorative techniques and its main gate’s monumental height it bears the features of traditional Seljuk architecture.
İsa Bey Bath House
The bath house was built to be part of the Isa Bey Mosque. It displays all the characteristics of a classic Turkish bath, and it is covered with domes.
Dating back to the Byzantine Period, the aqueduct remains that extend towards Ayasuluk Hill from an eastern direction can be observed in the train station vicinity and on both sides of the asphalt road. The aqueducts that have undergone restoration work nowadays provide a shelter for storks – a symbol of Selçuk. Gaius Sextillius Pollio is another aqueduct located 6km along the Selçuk – Aydın Highway, and this was built during the Period of Augustus.
Returning from Şirince village, 2km from Selçuk and on the valley slopes, is the Sütini Cave, an important cave in the area. Inside the cave are stalactites and stalagmites, which have been formed by drops of white water. It is believed that women who are unable to produce enough milk after delivering their babies may be able to increase their milk supply by drinking the water in this cave. For those women that are unable to climb into the cave, stones are taken from the cave to be placed onto their breasts to increase their milk supply.
Bird Watching Site
To the north of the ancient city of Ephesus, the Selçuk Gebekirse Lake Water Birds Protection and Breeding Site covers an area of one thousand hectare, between Ephesus and Pamucak. 30-40 species of birds and mammals live in the area. These include animals such as wild boars, foxes and jackals, in addition to the birds, such as diving birds, pelicans, various species of ducks, woodcocks and rock partridges.
Efes Archaeological Museum
The museum exhibits various artefacts excavated in Ephesus and its environs. It accommodates about 80 thousand artefacts notjust from the Roman, Byzantine and Turkish periods, but also from the Mycenaean and Ancient periods, and from the time of Alexander the Great and his generals. The museum consists of two departments – the Archaeological and the Ethnographical Departments.
The artefacts exhibited in the Selçuk Efes Archaeological Museum include Mycenaean vases unearthed at Ayasuluk Hill, pieces from the temple of Artemis, Corinthian columns and sarcophagus from the Belevi Mausoleum, two statues of Ephesian Artemis, a fresco depicting Socrates, statues taken from various monuments and fountains, a relief of Theodosius from the Temple of Hadrian and invaluable full length portraits and busts from the Early Christian Period.
Another section of the museum is the Saadet Hatun Baths. The baths, dating back to the 16th century, show many features characteristic of a traditional Turkish bath; it has four parts – dressing room, cold room, warm room and hot room.
Besides these, new sections of the Ephesus Archaeological Museum have been developed and these are now open to visitors.
Arasta and Bath House Section
This section, which is an integral part of the museum, exhibits commercial life in old Turkish towns, and various handicrafts that face extinction. This area can be found adjacent to the central garden of the museum. The department displays various stages of the cereal grinding process (mills), which played a significant part in agricultural local life as well as various types of copperware and beads produced to avert the evil eye (göz boncuğu). Visitors can also see a 16th century Ottoman Bath, which has been recently restored.
Çamlık Steam Locomotives Outdoor Museum
It is situated over an area of 160,000 square meters, 7 km from Selçuk by rail or road. During the Aegean military manoeuvres, Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey, set up his headquarters at this station. He arrived at the station on his white train, and with access so readily available to the Aegean coastline was able to follow and direct the manoeuvres. The museum exhibits 25 steam locomotives, aged between 50 and 80 years.
A village of nostalgia
9 km from Selçuk, the Village of Şirince is a place that has managed to preserve and protect its heritage. The foundation of the village dates back to the 5th century B.C. It is recounted that Ephesians escaping from the occupation under Aydınoğulları founded the village, which was formerly called Kırkınca and Çirkince. The houses that reflect village architecture are built of stone and brick have multiple windows, two floors and balconies proportionate to the sizes of the windows. In Şirince, Orthodox Christians as well as the Muslim population pay visits to the House of Virgin Mary on August 15 every year. Şirince is a village full of nostalgia with its locally produced wine, traditional cuisine and authentic life style.
A Stop for the Wine God Dionysus
45 km from Izmir in a western direction brings you to the charming place of Seferhisar. A lovely area surrounded by olive and citrus fruit trees, and one which displays all the typical characteristics of the Aegean.
It is recounted that Tsaferinos, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, founded Seferihisar and that it was named after him.
Sığacık Port, which functions as both a marina and a fishermen’s shelter, is located 5 km away. The ancient city of Teos, located 1 km to the south of the port was founded as an Ionian colony in 1000 B.C. It is believed that Athames, the son of Dionysus, was the founder of the city. Teos was ruled first by Lydia and then Persia.
Achieving considerable success in architecture and trade, the ruins of Teos that can be seen today date to the period during the reign of Alexander the Great and his generals as well as ruins from the Roman period. The Temple of Dionysus, which is open to visitors, is the most significant monument at Teos. Other significant artefacts and buildings include an agora, a gymnasium, a theatre, an odeon, outer city perimeter walls and ruins of an ancient port.
The history and natural beauty add to the richness of Teos. Teos was an Ionian civilization. During those times, people made their living through sea trade. Anacreon (6th C B.C.), the famous poet from the ancient period, known for his poems on love and wine was born in this city. There is an Ottoman castle dating to the 16th century at Sığacık, a place you cross en route to Teos. In addition, visitors may enjoy a breath taking sunset at the Bay of Sığacık, a natural harbour which has recently become a yacht marina.
The oldest olive oil workshop in the world
38 km from Izmir and bearing all the characteristics from the Aegean Region, Urla is situated in the centre of the peninsula bearing the same name. Urla has a very Aegean ambience, with its small squares, coffee shops under the vines, fishermen and village bazaars.
The Urla Peninsula prides itself on its 40km long coastline, untouched small bays and 12 islets. In particular, the Village of Demircili 7 km from Urla is popular for its coastline at Yağcılar and Zeytineli, and its splendid small bays and clean sea. The vine lodge (Bağevi) located in the Village of Yağcılar, is an original example of mixing the local with contemporary architecture. Throughout history, this area has been a cultural centre, home to artists such as Necati Cumalı, Tanju Okan and Yorgo Seferis.
Among the 12 islets near Urla, Uzunada and Hekim Islands, with their beautiful beaches, serve both military and tourist purposes. Karantina Island is the location for the state hospital. In the last 30 years, the area around the Urla Pier is famous for Limantepe and the ancient city of Clazomenae both of which date back to prehistoric times. The port of this ancient city had the reputation for being the oldest and most ordered port in the world. The artefacts excavated are currently exhibited in the Paris Louvre Museum, Athens National Museum and the Izmir Archaeological Museum.
Karantina Island is well known for its Taaffuzhane, namely Quarantine centre, which was built by the French for the Ottomans in 1865.
The Village of Güvendik, 6 km northwest of Urla Pier, is located in a position offering a view of the Gulf of Urla. It also gives visitors a bird’s eye view of Çeşmealtı, famous for an olive tree, which is almost 1000 years old.
The history of Urla originates in Limantepe. Limantepe is located opposite Karantina Island, and today is part of the Urla Pier. It is a green hill which extends straight down to the sea. A settlement defined as “Prehistoric Clazomenae”, dating back to 6000 B.C., has been excavated on this peninsula. It is believed that in 4000 B.C., local people established olive oil workshops, had a reputation for perfume production and weaving, and made considerable advancements in mining. For about 10 thousand years olives existed in Anatolia. The structure of the olive crushing mill and the levels reached by hydraulic science at this time can be seen clearly at the ancient olive oil workshop excavated in Urla.
Clazomenae on Urla Pier, one of 12 Ionian cities established between the 10th and 9th centuries B.C., was a major trade centre at that time. The ceramic workshops were abandoned because of Persian attacks in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C., and oil production plants producing olive oil subsequently replaced them. This locality, which declined in importance during the Byzantine Period, later came under the rule of Aydinogullari Principality in 1330 and was re-built as a Turkish city 4 km from the sea. During this period, the city adopted the name, Urla, and was annexed to the Ottoman territories in the 15th century. Fatih Ibrahim Bey Mosque, which is the oldest monumental mosque in Urla, is from this period.
Small bays with deep blue seas
Karaburun is situated on the Karaburun Peninsula, and forms the northernmost part of the line between the small bays of Balikliova and Gerence. 100km from Izmir the district covers a land area of 415km2. Akdagis the highest mountain in Karaburun standing at 1212m.
Karaburun’s first known name was Mimas. Later, it became ~ known as Stela or Stylarius. It adopted the name, Ahırlı (Ahurlu), when it was annexed to the Ottoman territories. In 1910, after it had separated from Çeşme district it adopted the current name, Karaburun. It is probably called Karaburun because of the deep colour of its soil, or because the word “kara” which also means “north” in the local dialect explains its northern location.
It has 13 villages – Ambareski, Bozköy, Eğlenhoca, Haseki, Inecik, Kösedere, Küçükbahçe, Tepeboz, Saip, Salman, Sapıncık, Parlak and Yayla. The locality of Mordoğan is a very pleasant place to visit. Of particular interest are the stone houses in this area, which have survived up to the present day. Also interesting for visitors is the Village of Sazak, where nowadays all the houses are abandoned.
To reach the small bays, visitors must leave the main road leading to the district and take the side roads. Each such side road leads to small crystal clear bays in a tranquil setting. Karaburun has 21 small bays – Sıcağıbükü, Kumburnu, Çatalkaya Gulf, Mordoğan Pier, Ardıç, Kaynarpınar, Boğabağı, Akbük, Esendere, Olcabük, Bodrum, Karaburun Pier, Yeniliman, Kumbükü, Bafembükü, Denizgiran, Eğriliman, Dikencik, Karareis, Kocadere and Gerence.
For visitors intending to reach Karaburun by private car they must take the Izmir – Çeşme Highway. Taking the exit for Karaburun, the distance is about 55 km. The road passes through many coastal fishing villages. Visitors can also use the frequent bus service from Üçkuyular, Izmir, to reach this district. Midibuses, depart every 75 minutes in the winter months, with more frequent trips in summer – every half an hour. A journey to Karaburun by road takes 2 hours and 10 minutes. In addition, transportation by boat is also possible, departing from Üçkuyular.
The amount of arable land available is low because the terrain is very rough and rugged. Olives, artichokes, grapes, narcissi and hyacinths are grown on the limited arable land in the region. In particular, narcissuses are a major source of livelihood in Karaburun. Narcissi, which were known to have been grown in Karaburun during the ancient period, have spread from here to the Aegean and Mediterranean regions, and even all over the world.
Fishermen in Karaburun mostly fish for striped mullets, rarely for the sea bass. The sea local to the area is also home to the Mediterranean seals (Monachus monachus), which face extinction.
The most well known local dishes include: keşkek, dede sarığı, mısır böreği, can böreği, tas kapaması and kıvırma tatlısı. Kelle goat cheese, spicy kopansiti cheese, Karaburun striped mullet, black grape pekmez (molasses: thick syrup made by boiling the saccharinejuice from anyfruit) from the Village of Sapıncık and Küçükbahçe flower honey.
A hyacinth and narcissus bouquet
Mordoğan, which is also known as the native land of narcissi and hyacinths, is in Karaburun. This area is popular for its rich stocks of several species of the Aegean fish such as red sea bream, sea bream and guilt headed breams, thus providing opportunities for line fishing. The colour purple, naturally occurs all over the town, filling all the spaces. Many mythological elements originated from the ground in this town. Mythological legends such as Zeus burying the giant Mimas beneath Bozdağ, Narcissus turning into narcissi for self-love, and jealous Hera assigning Iris to keep a watch at Mimas Hills, are all related to this area.
The important historical buildings in Mordoğan include Ayşekadın Mosque built in the 15th century and Çatalkaya Mosque, which displays splendid architecture. Olive oil mills still operating using traditional methods can be seen in many villages in Mordoğan, and they hold a significant role in the local cultural heritage. Mordoğan offers a clean and beautiful sea, beaches awarded with the blue flag, golden sandy beaches, coves where peace and tranquility can be found away from the crowds, and delicious fish freshly caught. In addition to all of this, it is a place that embraces its visitors warmly.
The dance of the thermal waters on the golden beaches
Çeşme is a favourite holiday spot with its healing thermal waters, golden sands, sun, sea, colourful lifestyle and enjoyable nightlife. It is located on a peninsula named after it on the most western edge of Izmir.
Although the sailors formerly called it “small port”, it has been given the current name, “Çeşme” (lit. fountain), because of its fountains pouring out ice-cold water. The local archaeological and historical heritage include a castle, a caravanserai, many fountains and examples of civil architecture in the centre of the district, as well as the ancient city of Erythrai excavated in the Village of Ildırı.
Called Cyssus in the early ages, Çeşme served as a pier for Erythrai (Ildırı) located 27 km from the present day Çeşme. Erythrai was one of 12 Ionian cities on the western coast of Anatolia in 1000 B.C. It is known that a small settlement is also located at Kalemburnu east of Çeşme, dating backto 1000 B.C. Erythrai was an important settlement in the 6th century B.C. With a much protected port, Erythrai established relations with Egypt, Cyprus and some western countries, developing trade with them.
After the Lydians and Persians, the Romans and later the Byzantines ruled Çeşme, before the Seljuks, Aydınoğulları and finally the Ottomans captured it.
Çeşme is connected to Izmir via two roads -a77 km asphalted road and an 80 km motorway. In addition, ferries shuttling between Greece and Italy provide international transport.
In particular, octopus, guilt headed bream, sea bass and mussels are famous in Çeşme, where the cuisine is much influenced by seafood. Şeker işi, which is served with figjam, special to Çeşme, sakız muhallebisi (mastic milk pudding), sakız reçeli (masticjam), kuru sıkma köfte (dry, squeezed meatballs), kaz budu (goose legs), bademli süt (almond milk) and mangal sandviç (locally called kumru; a toasted sandwich) are tasty desserts and snacks. Delicious melons and artichokes grown locally in Çeşme are exported to many countries in the world.
Bayezid II, an Ottoman ruler, built the castle in 1508. Although the castle was originally built close to the seaside, the castle has developed its present form because of the sea fills in the subsequent periods. The castle displays all the characteristics of the Ottoman architecture. Also accommodating an archaeological museum, the castle has two galleries where the artefacts from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods and various articles from the Ottoman – Russian Sea Battle of 1770 are exhibited. In front of the castle, there is a statue of Cezayirli Hasan Pasha with a lion figure. He was an admiral from the Ottoman Navy who saved Çeşme during a Russian raid.
Built by Süleyman the Magnificent in 1528, the caravanserai has two floors. It is one of the classic Ottoman caravanserais. Ömer, the son of Ali Pabuççu, was the architect of the building. The building based onaU shaped plan, has a wide courtyard in the centre, surrounded by stores, depots and rooms. This historical building now operates as a hotel, which is an ideal shopping venue for tourists, offering a rich assortment of quality souvenirs, leather articles and carpets. At night, restaurants, bars and nightclubs provide a lively and merry atmosphere.
Çeşme Spas, which are situated on the Izmir – Çeşme Highway, 5 km from Çeşme, are cited to be among the most interesting and rare spas in the world – a location that provides beaches and thermal waters in the same venue. The thermal water has a temperature of about 58 °C and it has healing qualities for a number of metabolic disorders such as chronic rheumatism, gout and obesity, as well as gynaecological, dermatological, liver and urological diseases. Nearby are plenty of modern accommodation facilities with their thermal pools and baths.
Şifne (Reisdere) Spa
5 km northeast from Çeşme spas on a small peninsula in the Bay of Şifne, is the Şifne Spa. A number of accommodation facilities can be found in the surrounding area. For certain diseases this spa is recommended to be used as a supplement, in conjunction with normal treatments.
The southern part of Çeşme forms one of the major yachting routes in Turkey. The route between Çeşme and Kuşadası is an area with an advanced yacht tourism infrastructure. Çeşme Port has been designed in two sections, to accommodate two small cargo ships and 150 yachts. The section used as a marina in the summer months, functions as the fishermen’s shelter in the winter.
A number of small bays lining up in the south of the sub-district of Alaçatı create a paradise for yachters. The pier can provide accommodation for 80 boats, and there are plenty of other possibilities to shelter yachts.
Çeşme – Altınyunus Marina
This marina where 70 large boats and 40 smaller sized ones can anchor, has the capacity to provide yachts on overnight stays or longer with utilities such as water, power, telephone and repair and winter accommodation services.
Natural beaches at Alaçatı, Boyalık, Çeşme, Dalyanköy, Çiftlikköy, Ilıca and Ildırı are ideal for water sports activities.
Çeşme is an ideal place for hunting lovers: hunting for wild boar is the most interesting and exciting type. Once the necessary permits are obtained from the relevant authorities, hunting for wild boar is available to anyone. Çeşme is also rich with respect to its bountiful stocks of partridges and rabbits. The months from September to December are when these animals are most visible and hunting is permitted during the hunting season. Çeşme also offers hunting enthusiasts opportunities in the winter.
Among the leading surfing areas in the world, Alaçatı is one of the most interesting and safe spots. The surfing centre is at a small bay with crystal clear water. It is one of the major surfing centres in the world offering a variety of wind conditions and ideal surfing areas.
The sea tends to be quite shallow and the wind mostly blows from the north. This breeze is the most important feature of Alaçatı since, even when blowing severely, it is capable of creating the development of regular waves. Currents with the same direction as the wind, facilitates conditions for surfers. Alaçatı is the safest area among those, which possess these daily off shore breeze conditions. Major winds like the Meltemi, the southwest and the northeast wind visit the area throughout a year.
Mastic trees have existed in Çeşme for 6000 years, and are a must-see for visitors. Masticjam and mastic milk puddings, which are so delicious, are made from the mastic extracted from these trees. As well as contributing to tasty dishes for the table as a food ingredient, mastic is also used in the production of medicine and paints.
Mastic has been used in medical treatment in Anatolia for thousands of years; medicines for the treatment of rabies, snake bites, stomach disorders, intestinal and liver conditions have all been prepared with the use of mastic. From the 10th century onwards, the reputation of mastic reached beyond the Island of Sakız (mastic), and gained global popularity.
Çeşme Archaeological Museum
The articles exhibited in Çeşme Archaeological Museum are largely the artefacts and edifices excavated in Erythrai, Çeşme district centre, Alaçatı, Kalemburnu and Çeşme Gulf. The most noteworthy pieces on display are the submarine archaeological finds from the ships and galleys that sank during the Ottoman – Russian Sea Battle at the Gulf of Çeşme on July 6, 1770, and the documents from the Russian Federation relating to this battle. In addition, the museum also displays archaeological and ethnographical works from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods as well as a rich collection of coins.
Çeşme and its environs was the gateway to foreign trade in Anatolia in the 16th century. The Genoese merchants in particular, settled on the Island of Chios (Sakiz) just opposite Çeşme. When it came into the hands of the Ottomans in 1556, its superior status was superseded by Izmir (Smyrna), which had previously been only a small trading centre, trading only products from Western Anatolia. Until that period, silk products from Bursa, which was a major silk production centre in Anatolia, were shipped to the Island of Chios via Çeşme, but thereafter, Izmir replaced it as a major trade centre.
In the 1850’s in Alaçatı, a channel was opened leading to the natural port in the south, under an order from the then grand vizier of the Ottoman Empire, and later it was turned into a port where ships could anchor.
A century ago, wine produced at Alaçatı where vineyard farming had developed significantly, was exported to foreign countries. Therefore, wine from Alaçatı has already secured a position among the world’s quality wines. Bunches of grapes inspired the most impressive decorative figures found on the walls of the churches at Alaçatı. 45,000 thousand people lived in Alaçatı and its environs before the 19th century, including the population of Çeşme, Çiftlik, Köste and Ovacık.
In the 1980’s tobacco, melons and live stock farming were the main staple industries in Alaçati. Nowadays agriculture and these trades have been partly replaced by fishing and tourism.
Karadağ, which is situated on the boundary of Çeşme, west of Alaçatı, is an inactive volcano, with rich thermal resources. In the central area there are small streambeds carrying the rainwater. Alaçatı – Kutlu Dam was built on the Plain of Buca, one of the plains at Alaçatı, and started operation in 1998.
In particular, aniseed, artichokes, onions, melons, tangerines, bergamots and olives are grown on the arable land of the area. Alaçatı is also an interesting sight with its “mastic tree gardens”, which are defined as very valuable assets.
The natural port at Alaçatı in the south is one of the most important venues for surfing, because of the stable sea conditions, despite the constantly blowing winds. The area has all the characteristics of the Mediterranean climate: It is rainy, warm in winter, hot, and dry in summer.
Thermal waters at Alaçatı can be quite beneficial for human health, with their healing effects. Herbal baths prepared with a mixture of thermal water, varying rates of mineral contents and particular herbs are effective for the treatment of disorders relating to bones.joints and the skeletal system, which stem from a lack of vitamins.
Today, Alaçatı is a very popular locality, possessing the characteristics and identity of a typical village. The architectural design of the stone houses is specific to the area. Geranium and begonia gardens, bazaars, local cafes and restaurants, boutique shops, beach clubs and hotels all contribute to making this a very lovely spot.
A quiet comer of Ionia
Set around a beautiful small bay with small islets, 27 km north of the Village of Ildırı, Çeşme, Erythrai was one of the 12 cities, which were members of the Union of Ionia (Panionion), a religious and political union established in the 7th century B.C. It is understood from the archaeological remains that the colonialists led by Erythros in 3000 B.C. founded it. It is known that Erythrai, which was a very important settlement in the 6th century B.C., established relations with Egypt, Cyprus and western countries, developing shipping trade. It took part in a famous sea battle, Lade, in the 4th century B.C. In the same period, it fell under the rule of the Persians, gaining its independence following the arrival of Alexander the Great in Anatolia in 334 B.C. Declining in importance during the Roman and Byzantine periods, the city came under the rule of the Turks, after the arrival of Çaka Bey, the father-in-law of Kılıçarslan I, a famous Turkish ruler, in Çeşme. Its name changed to Ildırı in 1333.
An acropolis, the ruins of which have survived to the present day, can be found on the top of a high hill in the centre of the city. As part of the excavations carried out there, small statues promised as offerings to the Temple of Athena Pallas were unearthed. A female statue dating back to the Ancient Period is the most significant of the finds, and it is presently exhibited in the Izmir Archaeological Museum. The perimeter walls surrounding the city are well preserved. A state agora and a sacred Heracleion from the time of Alexander the Great, his generals, and the Romans can be seen.
At present, Ildırı is a small secluded seaside town which is particularly noted for its fish restaurants and spectacular sunsets.
It is believed that Larissa (Buruncuk), excavated adjacent to the Village of Buruncuk in Menemen, was one of the 12 Ionian cities. After living through the Lydian and Persian periods, the city was unfortunately destroyed during the Peloponnesian War. The city, which was later re-constructed, could not escape the devastating lootings by the Galatians.
The ruins of a city surrounded by perimeter walls were unearthed during excavations under way since 1902. The perimeter walls are the only surviving remnants of the acropolis, dating backto 700 B.C. All of the religious buildings from the 6th century B.C. have been successfully excavated. The finds from the Ancient Period are exhibited in the Izmir Museum, and some baked soil and ceramic artefacts are on display in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.
Panaztepe in Kesik Village in Menemen, is host to many archaeological findings, which mainly include: ruins of graves dating back to 2000 B.C., ruins of a city from the Mycenaean civilization, artefacts from the Ancient Period, remnants of structures from the periods of Alexander the Great and his generals, and cemeteries from the Roman and Islamic periods.
A friendly greeting from the Mediterranean seal
Cockerels and seals are the symbols of Foça, an ancient city referred to in the Legend of Homer. Foça, a port and coastal settlement, was called Phocaea in ancient times. Before it was annexed to the territories belonging to the Seleucids, in the times of Alexander the Great, it was ruled by the Persians in 546 B.C. Captured by the Genoese in the 12th and 13th centuries, Foça was taken over by the Ottoman Empire in 1455 during the time of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror.
The ceramic artefacts unearthed in the archaeological excavations carried out in Foça reveal that the history of the settlement dates back as far as 2000 B.C. People escaping from the Aegean migrations and the Doric occupation in 1200 B.C., settled in the west of Anatolia. In the 9th century, Ionians settled in Foça, founded by the Aeolians in the 11th century, who were part of this original movement of people. They built a 5 km perimeter wall around the city.
Major archaeological attractions in Foça include: Siren Rocks, Satan Bath House, a Persian Tomb Monument 7km from the Foça – Izmir Highway, which was carved out of a mono block of stone, Five Gates (Genoese) Castle, Outer Castle from the Ottoman Period, Fatih Mosque, Kayalar Mosque, Hafız Süleyman Mosque and Ottoman Cemetery. A number of civil buildings displaying features of Aegean architecture can also be seen.
Foça is one of the rare settings in Turkey offering a unique combination of historical, natural and urban preservation sites. It has therefore been declared a Special Environmental Preservation Zone.
Herodotus, called “the father of history”, describes Phocaea, as entering a period of rapid increase from the 7th century B.C. onwards. As “a city achieving significant progress in sea trade in 700 B.C., and providing transport and shipping trade in the Mediterranean Sea with its 50 oar driven boats capable of carrying 500 persons”.
According to Homer, Phocaean people completed the furthest sea trips of the period, reaching as far as the Adriatic Sea, Etruria, Iberia and Tartessos in Spain: As one of the 12 Ionian cities, it established commercial links with the City of Naucratis in Egypt. Itjoined naval forces with Miletus, and led efforts for the establishment of the city of Lampsakos (Lapseki) on the Straits of the Dardanelles (Çanakkale), and the city of Amisos (Samsun) on the Black Sea coast. They also founded several other colonies in 600 B.C., including Massalia (Marseille) in Southern France, Emporion (Ampurios) in Spain, Alalia in Corsica, Elea (Velia) in Southern Italy and Methymna in Mytilene (Lesbos).
In the 7th century B.C., Phocaea enjoyed considerable importance and influence as a city in transit on “the King’s Route”. This originated from the City of Susa, Iran, came to Sardes and finally reached Phocaea after passing through Ephesus from Smyrna.
Phocaea was the first city in Ionia, which minted electron coins. The heads of these coins depicted Zeus, Hera, Heracles and Hermes, and their tails had illustrations of eagle headed and horse eared mythological figures as well as motifs of bulls and rams, which were called griffons.
It served as the bishopric centre of the Thrakesion region, of the Byzantine Empire in the Early Christian Period.
The Mediterranean climate has full impact in Foça: Winters are rainy and warm, and the summers are dry. From three sides it receives a cool sea breeze. Average temperature is 26°C in the summer months with a sea temperature of 22°C. July and August are the hottest months in the summer.
Traditional Foça cuisine includes all the dishes cooked on the Western Anatolian coast and Aegean islands, in terms of the basic ingredients. However, there are also several recipes peculiar to Foça, which are made from olives, olive oil, artichokes and herbs. These include; fish soup, stuffed fish, fish trotters, grilled sardines, stuffed calamari / squid, artichokes stuffed with Iamb, fish cooked with yogurt, and stuffed artichokes with an olive oil dressing.
Delicious salads, starters (meze) and stuffing for flaky pastry (börek) are made from several herbs and plants grown in and around Foça – arapsaçı, mallow, stinging nettle, dandelion, fennel, teasel and turnip.
Orak Island Rocks are the largest of these rocks, which are a group of islets that resemble seals in their appearance. The Legend of Homer refers to this location as “the rocks hit by ships going astray”.
Satan’s Bath House (Loutros)
Situated on the outskirts of Can Dede Hill is a rock tomb known as the Satan’s Bath House. It is 2 km from the district’s centre.
This monumental, semi-carved rock tomb standing by the roadside is 10km from Foça. Dating back to the 4th century B.C. and displaying Persian influence, this structure was constructed using Lycian – Lydian traditional techniques.
Kybele Outdoor Temple
Griffons and horse statues, which are some 2600 years old, have been excavated among the ruins of the Temple of Athena in Foça. Dating back to 580 B.C., niches that were carved into the rock are visible on the temple. In the past, some of these niches originally housed the statues of Kybele, the Mother Goddess. People coming from the sea to place their offerings and worship had also used these niches.
Five Gates Castle
Michel Paleok gave this ancient castle to a Genoese figure, Manuel Zacharna, in 1275 and its perimeter walls were repaired by the Genoese over time. After Phocaea was annexed to the Ottoman territories in 1455, the city perimeter walls were restored and equipped with a number of towers, of which only nine are distinguishable today. Today the boathouse of the Five Gates Castle is used as an outdoor theatre.
The Ottomans built this castle, at a strategic point to control the traffic passing via the strait and to protect the area, in 1678, known as the Exterior Castle or Genoese Castle, in the southwest of Foça. Situated on a headland or a cape, for defence purposes the castle was separated from the mainland in the east, by a ditch. Stone cannonballs were discovered off the castle shore during underwater archaeological research. It is believed that these cannonballs were thrown from the castle with catapults at enemy ships.
The mosque can be found on Eski Adliye (Former Courthouse) Street inside the Castle. Although the mosque has lost much of its original form over the years, it has still managed to survive to the present day. Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, following the conquest of Foça in 1455, built it. The first structure built reflected the classical Ottoman architectural styles.
Kayalar Mosque is located inside the Castle. There is no information concerning the date of its construction or who built it. The mosque reflects all the distinctive features from the Late Period of Ottoman Architecture. A “şadırvan” (fountain used for ritual ablutions and usually located in the middle of a mosque courtyard), which was later annexed to the building, can be found on the western side.
Hafız Süleyman Ağa Masjid
Popularly called Süleyman Ağa Masjid, this building was built by Hamzaoğlu Mustafa, who served as a castle warden for Foça Castle in 1548. However, its present appearance indicates that the building underwent some restorations in subsequent periods.
Only two of the public baths characterizing the Ottoman Period, have survived up to the present day. Both of them are located in the Atatürk quarter. Situated on the crossroads of Streets No115 and 116, the bath is the type of Turkish public bath possessing a central dome, a transversal heating system and twin private rooms to retire to. The other bath however, located on Street No 118isina dilapidated state. The architecture differs from known types of Turkish baths, and according to estimates, it was built later than the other one.
Islands of Foça
This is a group of six uninhabited islands in front of Foça: Orak Island, incir Island, Kartdere Island, Fener Island, Hayırsız Island and Metalik Island. There is a long scrubby beach in the southern part of Orak Island. In addition, there are several steep and sheer cliffs with a height of about 80m on the islands of Orak, Hayırsız and Kartdere. Local people and tourists, because of its favourable picnic spots and beaches in particular visit Incir Island. The islands and surrounding small bays are home to one of the last remaining colonies of Mediterranean seals in Turkey.
Houses of Foça
The traditional houses in Foça can be divided into three types: tower, adjacent and single houses. Tower houses are found outside Foça, either as single units or as a group. Because they have a height more than their façade width, they are called tower houses. Adjacent houses are found next to each other, and run in a line along a street. These houses have no front gardens and open directly onto the street. Single houses are stone buildings, with un-plastered walls, constructed as detached units.
For centuries, sailors from Foça have never been alone in their effort to achieve control of the sea, because they have a lovely companion – the seal. The Mediterranean seals, which total about 350 – 400 in the world, live only in Turkey, Greece and on the Northwest African coast.
The islands in Foça are home to some of the Mediterranean seals. Despite increasing tourist and fishing activities, they use the caves on these islands for breeding, raising the seal pups, taking a rest and basking in the sun. Called “Monachus monachus” in Latin, the Mediterranean seals need to follow their instincts of going ashore, but unfortunately human activities in their habitats disturb them. They are one of 12 species of mammals in the world facing extinction.
In order to protect the Mediterranean seals living on the Foça islands, it is prohibited to approach any closer than 2 miles the islands between Aslanburnu and Deveboynu. Similarly, it is also strictly prohibited to approach Siren Rocks and Orak Island. A distance of at least 100 m must be left.
Inhabitants of Foça rely on fishing as much as on tourism to make their living. The fact that they made their living by the sea for hundreds of years is a typical characteristic of the local communities.
The area manages to maintain its importance because of its rich variety of fish species. There are some delicious species of fish caught by the fishermen of Foça, and these are available at the local markets, fresh, and at competitive prices. To name a few of the most delicious and popular varieties; red mullet, guilt headed bream, striped mullet, sea bass, red sea bream and whiting.
60 km north of Izmir, in Aliağa, traces can be seen from the pre-historic civilizations of Aeolis and Pergamon (Bergama). Out of more than 30 Aeolian cities along the Aegean coastline, six of the largest ancf most important are located in the district of Aliaga: Pitane ((Jandirli), Larissa (Buruncuk), Aigaia, Kyme (Nemrutkale), Myrina and Gryneion ((Jifitkale). Myrina is situated at the mouth of Kocagay stream west of Aliaga. Ruins dating back to various periods have been excavated. Approximately 5000 graves have been opened. The earthen statues excavated in the first necropolis in 1881 are significant finds.
Kyme located in the Çifitkale locality north of Aliaga, was the largest of the Aeolian cities. It functioned as a powerful port and trading centre in the time of Alexander the Great and his generals and as a bishopric centre in the Christian Period. Excavations are still ongoing. Some artefacts unearthed in the excavations at Kyme and Myrina are exhibited at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum and also by the Louvre Museum in Paris.
In addition, 7 km from Karakuzu Village are the Aliaga Waterfalls. This splendid natural beauty spot appeals greatly to those visiting the district.
Dikili is 120 km north of the provincial centre of Izmir. It is a lovely district appealing to local and foreign tourists alike. The sub-district of Çandarlı, a major tourist spot with its rich history and extraordinary beauty, is a part of Dikili. Natural attractions include a crater lake in Merdivenli Village, and pine forests and historical caves in Demirtaş and Deliktaş villages. The District of Dikili is also famous for its spas. There are thermal spas in Nebiler, Bademli and Kocaoba villages. The Port of Dikili providing international transport by sea is a major source of income for the local communities.
The main trades in Dikili involve tobacco, cotton and olives as well as greenhouse farming. Its clean beaches and rich thermal resources are important for both local and foreign tourism.
It is understood from the archaeological studies conducted in the district, that Dikili has a past dating back to 4000 – 5000 B.C. Agil Castle and Kale (Castle) Hill were the first settlements. According to the archaeological findings, Achaeans lived in this region and the city was therefore called Aternagus. In the early ages, Dikili came under the control of the Lydians, Persians, Phrygians, Mysians, Romans, and the people from Pergamon (Bergama). During the Medieval Ages they ruled by the Byzantines, the Genoese, Seljuks and the Ottomans. A location where many civilizations co-existed, Dikili was also home to many famous figures such as Aristotle and Alexander the Great.
The Karaosmanogullari settled in the region and built farms, growing seedlings (locally called “dikmelik”). Adopting the name “Dikmelik” for its production of seedlings, the district later became known as Dikili.
Çandarlı is one of the oldest settlements in the Aegean Region. It is believed that this sub-district was once a Hittite settlement, subordinate to Dikili. Finds excavated date back to 2000 B.C. The most noteworthy among these were the ceramic artefacts from the Troy-Yortan Civilization. Vases and statues displaying Ionian and Eastern styles and stone axes and pottery pieces from the early ages were also excavated. Very few finds have survived to the present day. (Çandarlı Halil Pasha, the famed grand vizier of Murat II, contributed to the preservation of a castle from the Genoese, by having it restored in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Medicine, written knowledge and Zeus is the glory of Pergamon- the name of the ancient city found in the district of Bergama, 100 km from Izmir. Pergamon was one of the important trade centres in the Mysian region during the ancient period. On becoming the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon between 282 – 133 BC, the citywas thus named after Pergamos, a legendary king. By killing the King of Teuthrania, Pergamos captured the city, and so gave it his name. According to another legend, Gyrnos, the King of Teuthrania, asked Pergamos for help during a battle and after the victory, two cities were built, one of them being named Pergamon in commemoration of Pergamos and the other Gryneion after Gyrnos.
Pergamon was first mentioned in written documents early in the 4th century B.C. Buildings such as palaces, temples and theatres were built in the city when it became the capital, and the city was surrounded by perimeter walls and towers. After it was annexed to Rome, the Kingdom remained as one of the leading cities in Western Anatolia.
The City of Pergamon, which was an independent kingdom in 283 BC, maintained its importance as a major historical, cultural and commercial centre for a period of 150 years.
Because Alexander the Great hid his famous treasure at Pergamon Castle the city was a focus of interest to| its enemies. Its conquest was top of the list for a number of kingdoms and civilizations.
Carl Humann, a German engineer who worked on railway track installation in Western Anatolia in the 1870’s, discovered the ruins of the ancient city. Soon afterwards, in 1878, research and archaeological works began in Pergamon. Excavation and restoration work is ongoing.
An important health care centre in ancient times Asclepion situated to the southwest of Pergamon, the Acropolis located in the first settlement on a steep hill at a height of 300 m and the Temple of Serapis (Red Courtyard) dating back to the 2nd century all contribute significantly to the local cultural heritage.
The famous Altar of Zeus, which was originally in the Acropolis, was taken to Germany in 1897 and it is presently on exhibition at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
Bergama is a lovely district famous for its beauty spas, Kozak Plateau, sea connection to Ayvalık and advanced levels of weaving and rug production.
In addition to its position as an important city with magnificent monuments, as a capital of a kingdom bearing the same name in the ancient period, the city was also an important strategic centre in the Medieval Period, a capital for Karesioğulları Principality and finally, one of the leading centres of the Ottoman Empire.
The acropolis, literally meaning “a high city”, was built on top of a very steep hill. A winding path provides access to this hill that is about 300 meters high. The most distinctive feature of the acropolis was the special layout given to a series of buildings that accommodated any religious, military, governmental, social and commercial usage. Having served as a settlement since ancient times, the top of the hill accommodates the Palaces of the Kings of Pergamon, five water depots and an armoury supplies chamber.
The Temple of Athena is located in the lower section of the buildings. In addition, there are libraries and the Temple of Trajan. The Altar of Zeus was built with much care and precision on the terrace beneath them. This site is also home to one of the steepest theatres in the world. A Gymnasium (Sports School) and the Temple of Demeter are situated in the lowest section.
Temple of Athena
Built on a terrace on top of the theatre, the Temple of Athena is a structure in Doric style, with columns of6x10m. Only some pieces from the foundations of the temple have survived to the present day, although its western wing, up to a height of 1.20 m has been preserved. Pergamon Museum of Berlin presently exhibits the columns and frontal sections of the temple. The fact that the most significant temple in the city was devoted to the Goddess Athena reflects the deep-rooted tradition in western Anatolia. This was the case in many other ancient cities such as Assos, Erythrai, Phocaea, Symrna and Miletus.
The Temple of Athena was the oldest temple built in ancient times, and was built in commemoration of the Goddess Athena, the messenger of victory, who was believed to be the protector of science, arts and cities. There is an inscription on a column piece excavated in this location, which reads: “Oh, the Goddess who was born of Triton, the son of Artemo has erected this for you”. A church was built on the temple site in the Byzantine Period (4th century).
This building, which was the second most important library in ancient times, after the library in Alexandria, is situated to the north of the sacred site of Athena. The library, which originally was accessed through the upper floor of the gallery, accommodates a large reading room from the era of Eumenes II. The library was equipped with shelves, and 3.50m high Statue of Athena that was originally in there, is now in the Berlin Museum. In the time of Eumenes II, the collection of the Pergamon Library became richer and the Alexandria Library was its biggest rival. Enjoying much fame and popularity in the 2nd century B.C., Pergamon Library was built by Attalos I. The library housed the statue busts of the historian Herodotus from Halicarnassus, a female poet Sappho from Lesbos, the scholar Appolonious, who was the son of Philotas, vellum makers Krates and Irodikos and the musician Timotheous from Miletus.
Disturbed by the grandeur of Pergamon Library, the Egyptian King prohibited papyrus exports to Pergamon, in an attempt to weaken the competition. He wanted the Library in Alexandria to be unrivalled. Krates, an artist from Sardes, offered a solution to this problem. The material he made from goat leather was called Pergamon Paper (Pergaminae Charte), and this was successfully used in place of papyrus. This Pergamon Paper, which was a very important invention, later became known as vellum. The invention of vellum led to a rich literary collection in Pergamon. When the city came under the rule of Rome in 133 B.C., the works from the Pergamon Library were taken to Alexandria, and given to the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra as a gift from Antonius, ignoring the Roman scholars who wished to obtain them.
The ruins of the Pergamon Kings’ palaces lie immediately to the east of the library and “eyvan”s (three-walled vaulted antechamber, open at the front), surrounding the Temple of Athena.
The Arsenals, known as “the depot for military supplies”, were located beyond the palaces and the Temple of Trajan, on the northern edge of the acropolis. These are five long structures parallel to each other.
Temple of Trajan
The temple was built for the Roman Emperor Trajan, who was deified by the Romans, and it was built on the highest terrace in the acropolis. The temple, reaching a size of 68 x58 m was surrounded on three of its sides by the “eyvan”s. The giant marble statues of Trajan and Hadrian were found inside the Temple. The Temple was restored in 1990.
Pergamon Theatre, set on a steep slope, is one of the most beautiful architectural works from the period. The theatre, which is the steepest theatre in Western Anatolia, has a 10 thousand-seat capacity. The portable wooden stage building is unique – set up only on performance days and removed once the performance ended.
Temple of Dionysos
In the 2nd century the inhabitants of Pergamon built this eye catching temple on the north of the 250 m theatre terrace and positioned it in such a way that a view over the whole area was possible. The temple and the altar are both in a well preserved condition. Rising up on a podium and built according to the Ionian design, it is a richly decorated temple. This work not only affected Roman artistic understanding but also had ramifications on European Baroque architecture. At the end of a long road, this monument has become a work of art that has attracted enormous interest.
Temple of Zeus
The temple was dedicated to the God Zeus in commemoration of the victory of Attalos II against the Galatians during the Period of Eumenes II (197- 159 B.C.). In his book titled “Wonders of the World”, L. Ampelius, a famous Roman writer, says about this magnificent altar: “There is a giant marble altar in Pergamon, which is forty feet high and decorated with splendid reliefs. It depicts the war between the gods and the giants.” It is a very impressive piece of work, with its architectural style, the mythological subjects covered, the height of the reliefs and the giant like dimensions of the structure.
The upper agora is located to the south of the Altar of Zeus. Dedicated to Hermes, the God of Merchants, the agora was built in the Doric style. The foundations of the Temple of Demeter are visible on the western edge of the square.
In the city of Pergamon, three splendid gymnasiums were built on three separate terraces all in a row. It is understood from inscriptions uncovered that the lower terraces would have been used by children, and the central and upper terraces were allocated to youths and adults respectively.
Legend has it that Coronis, the daughter of the King of Thesselia, fell in love with a man when she was carrying the God Apollo’s child. Learning of this, Apollo punished Coronis by burning her to death. However, before doing so, he saved the child in her womb, who was later to be named Asclepius. The child was put into the custody of Horse Man Kherion, so he could raise the child. Kherion made his living using healing waters and herbs, and as he raised Asclepius he taught him the science of medicine. However, the chief God Zeus was upset by Asclepius’ ability to bring the dead back to life and as a punishment; he killed Asclepius by casting lightning upon him. Deeply saddened, Apollo took his son Asclepius up into the sky, placing him among the zodiacs.
The snake, which is currently used as the symbol of health and medicine, is one of the symbols of Asclepion. Asclepius is depicted as a bearded man wearing sandals on his feet. He is holding a scepter with a snake wound around it. Among the historical buildings of the Asclepion temples dedicated to the health god Asclepius can be found. The site is one of the most famous healthcare centres discovered, and indeed is a fascinating place for people to visit.
Historical sources define the health care centre built by Arkias, the son of Aristohminos from Pergamon, in the 4th century B.C. as, “the location where death is prohibited and wills are never opened up”. Treatment methods that are employed in modern times included such practises as; the use of healing waters, mud baths, sports, theatre and psychotherapy, and these were carried out in the centre accessed by a columned street. Built approximately in the year 150, and built from donations received, situated immediately to the left was the Temple of Asclepion. Here treatment using water sounds was employed, as it was suggested that this was beneficial to patients’ recovery.
It is said that the first temple to become Pergamon’s Asclepion, was built on a rocky site near a sacred fountain, in the Ayvazali location. Sources say that the Asclepion reached a considerable state of development and the city was decorated with marble buildings in the Period of Pergamon Kingdom (280- 133 B.C.).
Suffering a number of wars and devastation in the subsequent periods, the historical centre was rebuilt and expanded, along with Pergamon between 183- 173 B.C. In that period, there was an Ionian style marble temple rising on the rocks, treatment halls, stone fountains, and a pool was in the process of being built to supply sacred water to the public. However, in 156 B.C., the King of Bithynia looted Asclepion, taking with him to his country all the valuable statues and works of art. This included the Statue of Asclepius.
In the period of the Pergamon King Attalos III, the Asclepion Health Centre was called “The Royal Sacred Place”. A statue of the king was placed next to the statue of the god, and animals were slaughtered and given as sacrifices to him. Asclepion regained its importance in the second half of the first century B.C., with corridors, pools and treatment areas being supplemented between 138 and 161 B.C. The Orator Aristides, a major source for historians, arrived in Pergamon in the 2nd century, and is quoted as saying about the Asclepion: “I owe my health entirely to you, Asclepius and I am tied to you by a mysterious love.” A colossal earthquake in the 3rd century devastated the buildings. The Temple of Asclepion was used as a church following the spread of Christianity.
Temple of Serapis
Popularly known as “Red Courtyard” because it was built of red bricks, this was the largest building in ancient Pergamon, and the temple was dedicated to the Egyptian gods. This temple is presently located in the ancient city of Pergamon.
Located on the left bank of Bergama Stream, and at the start of the road leading to Tekke Boğazı (Pass), the Ulu Mosque was built in 1398 – 1399. The mosque is based on a rectangular design structure.
The mosque is situated next to the Seljuk Minaret in the location that is named after it. The marble inscription on the door states that it was built by Hacı (Hadji) Hasan, the son of Osman, in 1550. It is understood that the “şadırvan”(fountain used for ritual ablutions and usually located in the middle of a mosque courtyard) found in the courtyard was built by Bergama Voivode Abdullah Aga in 1824.
The minaret is next to Şadırvan Mosque. The main building, “the Arab Mosque” fell down, and only its minaret has survived to the present day. It is also called “Güdük Minare” (Squat Minaret) and “Çinili Minare” (Minaret with Tiles). The style and decoration of the building prove that the minaret is a Seljuk building.
Other historical buildings in Bergama include Kurşunlu Mosque, Hacı Hekim Mosque at the bazaar, and a mosque on the road leading to Asclepion, the Yeni (New) Mosque and Emir Sultan Minaret.
Based on its construction style, the Han (caravanserai – large commercial building) is believed to have been built in the 14th or 15th centuries.
The Han is adjacent to Küplühamam (baths) on Rüştiye Mektebi Street. According to the inscription on its door, it was built by Hibeytullah, the son of Hatip Mahmut, in the time of Sultan Murat in 1432. The space where the inscription was found, displayed a polished stone and there was a Turkish style low arch (with 9 stones). Marble plates were placed below it.
Kozak Plateau, located 20km from Bergama is accessible via the road running between Bergama and Ayvalık. It is a sight particularly recommended for hiking enthusiasts, and people with in interest in the local woven products.
The Beauty Spa, situated 4km from Bergama, has a domed roof and is home to two marble pools with hot springs. The spa, built in the period of the Pergamon King Eumenes, enjoyed for centuries a long lasting reputation as “Eskulap Baths”. At present, the hot springs can be found in a wooded area, a very impressive natural attraction.
The water temperature of the hot springs is about 35 °C. The spa water containing sodium bicarbonate and sulphate has healing effects, especially for rheumatism, neuralgia and heart conditions. It is rumoured that in ancient times Cleopatra bathed in these hot springs, adding to her beauty and charm.
Houses of Bergama
Houses in Bergama possess special features that are a help in controlling the heat. This is due to their thick outer walls, interior design plan and window size. A traditional Turkish house, on the upper floor has no exterior exposure and lower and upper floors are usually of the same size. A small number of houses provide an exception to this feature, having a “cumba” (wooden latticework projection extending from the window) and projections in the form of balconies, which are specific to the architecture on the Island of Chios (Lesbos).
The Anatolian population since ancient times has used writing. The most ancient baked inscribed tablets unearthed at Kultepe Karum in Kayseri, which was one of the major centres from the Age of the Assyrian Trade Colonies, date back to 1950 B.C.
Bergama Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological and Ethnographical Museum, originally built in 1924, was relocated to a modern building which was constructed with contributions from the German Archaeological Institute in 1936. The museum proudly exhibits more than 10 thousand artefacts, comprising mainly of archaeological and ethnographical works and ancient coins. The archaeological artefacts date to the Bronze Age, the Ancient and Classical Periods, the eras of Alexander the Great and his generals, and Roman and Byzantine times. The ethnographical works belong to the Ottoman era, and their related materials came from the Bergama region.
Outside in the museum’s garden, gravestones and sarcophagi are exhibited. The interior courtyard exhibits architectural pieces, low reliefs, giant statues and stone inscriptions in a chronological order.
Weaving is very advanced in Bergama, achieving recognition particularly for its rugs. The main products which are woven locally include; bed sheets, textiles for shirt production, delicate cotton woven articles, wool saddlebags, prayer rugs, rugs and carpets.
A princess amongst spas
Allianoi Health Centre was built 18 km northeast of Bergama, whereby the thermal waters were made available to the locality. Excavation work under way at an ancient settlement on the bed of Yortanli Dam aims at rescuing archaeological artefacts. These important excavations, and especially the discovery of the invaluable “Statue of Aphrodite”, have contributed significantly towards a greater understanding of the city. It is believed that hydrotherapy was widely practiced in Allianoi, considered one of the leading health care centres in the ancient Aegean basin. Allianoi, was a small health care centre in the 2nd century B.C. In the 2nd century under the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian it prospered into a splendid settlement and health care centre.
The centre was used without interruption until the 11th century. The Roman Bridge and Bath located in this area have survived to the present day.
Flint tools, proving the existence of pre-historic cultures were also unearthed in the excavations. In addition, other items brought to light thanks to the excavations include: scales, saucepans, frying pans and weight units, cooking utensils which reflect the late ancient cuisine, a bust of Asclepius, the God of Medicine in the ancient Greek and Roman world, mosaics from Roman baths, vases, sections of an underpass and parts of an ancient settlement.
There are several other ancient settlements in Izmir and its environs. The most noteworthy are: Perpene on Kozak Plateau in Bergama, Atterneus in Dikili, Lebedos in Gümüldür Ürkmez and Hypaia near Ödemiş.
Situated 29 km from Izmir, Kemalpaşa District has a past dating back to approximately 1300 B.C. A home to many civilizations ranging from the Akkads and Hittites to the Seljuks and Ottomans, Kemalpaşa served as a stopover point on the caravan route between the cities of Sardis and Ionia, during the Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine periods. Called Nymphaion in ancient times, Kemalpaşa District is presently located at a height of 200 m, skirting Mount Nif.
At Karabel Pass in Kemalpaşa, there is a Hittite relief. On the Torbalı road (8 km), this Luwian warrior figure, in other words a Hittite military relief can be seen. This relief is of great archaeological importance, since it is known to be the only artefact from the Hittites in the Aegean region. “Maiden Tower” or “Kız Kulesi” as locally called, which is the historical symbol of Kemalpaşa and inspiration for so many legends, was built originally as a palace in the Byzantine Period.
Kemalpaşa is known throughout the world for its cherries and pine forests.
Visitors can take a trip to the bead manufacturing workshops in the Village of Kurudere, taste koumiss (fermented mare’s milk) at the Alaş Koumiss Production Farm and delicious Asian Turkish meal and perhaps enjoy a horseback trip in a beautiful natural setting in Kemalpaşa.
The ruins of the ancient city of Hypaiapa, excavated to the north of Ödemiş District and located 113 km east of Izmir, demonstrate that the history of the local settlement dates back to ancient times. The historical significance of Ödemiş and its environs originates from a nearby settlement, Birgi, which functioned as the capital in the Aydınoğulları era. Birgi is a town linked to the Ödemiş District (8 km from the district centre), and a town that has managed to preserve its originality. Select examples of the Seljuk and Ottoman architecture, a rich cultural heritage comprising of civilian architectural buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, and a natural heritage create considerable tourism potential in the area. Birgi was included as a destination in religious tourism in 1994. Its main sights are the three-floored Çakırağa Mansion, which is one of the most beautiful examples of wooden Turkish houses, Imam-i Birgivi Madrasa (theological school attached to a mosque) and Sultan Şah Tomb. In addition, visitors are strongly recommended to pay a visit to the famous bazaar in Ödemiş (held every Saturday) and taste the delicious Ödemiş Kebab.
Bozdağ – Gölcük
Bozdağlar (mountains) located in Ödemiş, are an ideal venue for nature walks and recreation as well as for mountaineering and skiing in winter. In addition, paragliding is available all year round.
Izmir Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism www.izmirkulturturizm.gov.tr
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İZMİR FESTIVAL AND CONGRESS CALENDAR
İzmir Culture and Arts Festival
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Vinolive (Wine, Cheese, Olive and Olive Oil Fair)
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International Selçuk – Efes (Ephesus) Culture and Arts Festival
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International Karşıyaka Children’s Festivities
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International Foça Festival
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Traditional Grape Harvest Festivities
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İzmir International Fair
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Selçuk Camel Wrestling
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Kemalpaşa Golden Cherry Culture and Arts Festival
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International Bergama Fund Raising Event for Charity
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District Governorship and Bergama Municipality
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International Group Psychotherapy Congress
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İzmir Archaeological Museum
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History and Arts Museum
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Konak Municipality Toy Museum
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House of Virgin Mary
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Çamlık Steam Locomotives Museum
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Tire Archaeological Museum
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