Izmir, known as Smyrna, was founded by the Greeks and was an important part of the Greek Empire that covered most of Western Turkey in the 1st century AD. It is one of the most culturally significant cities in Turkey. This city is one of the first settlements in the Mediterranean and thus evolved into an important commercial hub. Smyrna linked Greece with Asia and the lucrative spice routes to the east.
Izmir Clock Tower, Konak Square
Starting from a central landmark of the city, İzmir Clock Tower, located in Konak Square. Gifted from the German Emperor it became the most important landmark of the city. It has an interesting tower and fountains on all four corners.
DISCOVER THE Bazaars; Kemeraltı, Kizlaragasi
By visiting Kemeraltı Bazaar you can indulge your senses with a variety of spices, dried fruits, nuts, and coffee. Since Izmir has been a port city for centuries you can find every kind of product in the Bazaar. From leather, textiles, jewellery & soap, to fish mongers and traditional local drinks.
While exploring historical narrow streets you can go inside the khans (commercial buildings). Try traditional meals and Turkish coffee. These streets surprise you with various religious monuments like churches, mosques, and synagogues (Hissar Camii and Signora Giveret Synagogue). The cosmopolitan nature of the city and its multicultural past is clear.
Agora of Smyrna
The meaning of Agora comes from two Greek verbs, to speak and to shop. This explains why it was used for both commercial purposes and gathering for political meetings. It was common to use this kind of multifunctional public space in ancient Greek cities. The most famous example of this is the Agora of Athens located near the Acropolis. While visiting the Agora you can see a still functioning running water system that flows through the foundations of the building. A huge structure that had 3 floors in the past.
You can take a peaceful walk in the Kordon with a perfect mixture of green and blue, with cafes on the pavements. It is one of the most famous meeting points in İzmir for family picnics and drinking with friends to enjoy the magnificent sunset.
The place to visit for street food and great coffee with delicious pastries. At the end of the main street, the most famous patisserie is called Çelebi and home to the Bomba, a dessert invented in this city. During the night time you can try Rakı (traditional Turkish alcohol), stop by one of the best restaurants with delicious mezzes and live music.
You can take the historical elevator to see one of the best views of the city from the top of the hills without climbing up the stairs. If you are feeling up to the challenge you can also climb the 155 steps. Fortunately, the elevator was built to make people’s life easier by Jewish businessman Nesim Levi one hundred years ago. You may not be surprised when you see the sunset from there and understand the centuries of obsession.
Darío Moreno Street
Darío Moreno, singer and actor, is a lover of İzmir and now there is a street named after him. While visiting this street, you can see the house he grew up in and you can grab a drink in the cafes with colourful decorations. He performed his first concert in İzmir and produced magnificent songs later. Moreno took various types of roles in movies such as “The Night Heaven Fell” and ”Come Dance with Me!”. He had a successful career with more than 30 movies.
— SUGGESTED DAY TRIPS FROM IZMIR —
You can take a break in the west of the city of Izmir by relaxing on hot beaches with magnificent clear sea water in Çeşme. Get lost in narrow streets and try delicious Mediterranean food with a generous amount of olive oil. Discover the district Alaçatı (which literally means white roof) with its special stone houses, windmills, and lively beaches.
When you arrive in Selçuk one of the first things you notice is going to be the Ayasoluk Castle on the hill. Upon climbing you can see the best view of the city from the castle, built by The Byzantines. The material used to build the castle is mostly taken from Greek and Roman monuments around Selçuk. A fantastic example of recycling in days gone by.
Ephesus, Temple of Artemis, House of the Virgin Mary
There are several legends behind the name of Ephesus, from the Ionian prince Androclos to the Amazonian queen Ephesia. We are not sure about the root of the name but one thing we can certainly say is that this city is a survivor. Managing to stay standing after all the earthquakes and raids of the Goths or Croesus.
You will be amazed by the size of the city which was functioning as a bridge between west and east. This magnificent port city located at the intersection of The Aegean Sea between Kaystros.
In this Ionian city, you can see one of the seven wonders of the world, the Temple of Artemis. Unfortunately, there is not much left up to this day but you see some of the pieces in London’s British Museum.
While you are still in this holy field, important for both Christians and Muslims, you should spend time wandering around the city. Visiting the house of the mother of Jesus and seeing Saint John’s tomb.
Prepare yourself to see one of Homer’s (Greek poet) favourite cities. Take the cable car to the top to understand where the inspirations for the Iliad and the Odyssey came from. Here you can enjoy the spectacular view of this ancient city. Take a break and sit on the Amphitheatre which used to fit almost 10,000 people in the city’s heyday.
Recommended Hotel Choice
- Best Western Plus Hotel Konak (Unique four-star hotel with a great location, comfortable rooms, and a super roof terrace)