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We will send regular newsletters to our members who have signed up for receiving it during the registration. In 'mymerhaba' newsletter, our editorial staff provides updates, with regard to any information related to places worth visiting, viewing, or otherwise worth knowing, for those who care to know more....

Izmir

Izmir (The Beautiful), the ancient city of Smyrna, "the country of the sacred mother” being the third largest city of Turkey with a population of three million, lies at the geographical and commercial center of Aegean region. This is one of Turkey's most enjoyable cities with its streets shaded by palm trees, the striking walkways and the graceful houses. The fiery summer sun is cooled by winds, Imbat blowing from the sea.

At the beginning of the 20th century Izmir was a center of commerce and entertainment rivaling Istanbul and was famous for its raisins and seedless grapes, almonds, horse drawn carriages, spring festival, Altın Damla (gold drop) eau de cologne and Nargile (water-pipes).

All types of cottons and textiles, together with agricultural produce such as tobacco, grapes, figs, olives and olive oil are exported from Izmir port to all over of the world. Today the city keeps its importance as the largest export harbor in Turkey.

Modern Izmir also has its gems. The speed of life in Izmir, in keeping with its pleasant climate, is relaxed. Even taxi drivers are several degrees more relaxed and than their Istanbul brothers and driving is relatively civilized. Window shopping in some of the smarter areas is the proof to the fashion consciousness of the city's inhabitants, whose finery is continuously on display, whether on a morning jog along the airy seafront, or promenading through the many cafe lined pedestrian areas under floodlit gigantic palm trees. Therefore it really deserves to be called “Beautiful Izmir”.

Izmir has also a rich nightlife. It has all one would expect of a modern city: high-quality night-clubs and discos, excellent eateries (from the waterfront Meyhane along the northern part of Birinci Kordon (First Cordon) to the top class restaurants in the streets at the rear) Sampling the mild air on a night-time tour by horse-drawn carriage is a relaxing way to end the day.

Its modest tourist demand has left Izmir relatively free of the problems created elsewhere in the region by the large flood of sun-seekers. Izmir is within striking distance of all the ancient sites and resorts of the central Aegean. Even so, given the attractions of sun, sea and sand, it is unlikely that you will exercise Izmir as a base for very long, though it makes a good stop-over if you are arriving by ferry, heading along the coast or planning an excursion inland to the old cities such as Ephesus or Sardis and its neighboring mountain villages. In contrast to the rich history of its surroundings and the fact that Homer lived here, it is a surprisingly poor as a historical place.

Izmir's fiery destruction during the “Independence War” in 1922 effectively severed the city's links with it's past. However modern city is a convenient place in which to live and is real a city in the sense that it is not primarily a tourist town. Consequently, Izmir is worth a look.

Those few extant relics of the former Izmir are still worth visiting and the best place to start is Kadifekale (Velvet Castle). Alexander the Great chose this outcrop as the center of his city and there is no better place from which to get a general sense of modern Izmir-virtually the whole of that can be viewed from this site. The remains of the castle amount to some fairly well preserved walls and around them are tea gardens and restaurants as a reward of steep climb.(although you don't have to do it on foot).

Other sites worth a brief visit are the Roman Agora, visible to the northeast from Kadifekale, and its slightly more modern equivalent, the “Bazaar”. Take time to explore the streets just above the Agora as these still have some of the few surviving Greek houses in Izmir.

The principal attraction of the Bazaar is being a window on Turkish life. In contrast to Istanbul's famous Kapalıçarşı (Covered Bazaar), which is much more greater and faster-paced than Izmir's the bargaining is just as likely to be over spades, hoes and butter churns as leather products and jewelry. There are some delightful mosques, cafes and workshops hidden within the vine shaded lanes of the bazaar letting you feel in oasis.

The artifacts unearthed in the excavations in the environs of Izmir were taken to the Archeological Museum of Izmir, which is the oldest museum in the Aegean region. This museum has now moved to its new premises at Konak, a district within İzmir. This museum must be seen for a proper understanding of ancient Aegean civilizations.


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Latest comments about this article

 By Babacool  31.10.2003

Great web page... BRAVO ! Here is my humble web page : http://izmir.0catch.com Regards...

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