From sun worshipper to culture lover
Izmir, which was formerly Smyrna and is also lovingly known as "The pearl of the Aegean", was founded in the 3rd century BC and therefore is one of the oldest cities in the world. In Antiquity the city was the centre of the Christian world but was also the most important emporium in Asia Minor. Homer, the poet of the Iliad, was supposedly born here. Today the Turkish metropolis on the west coast with around 3 million residents is the third largest city in Turkey and has the second largest harbour in the country after Istanbul.
Izmir pampers visitors with a mild Mediterranean climate. It is the pleasant temperate autumn, which invites visitors to take a stroll through the city and past its numerous sites. Above all, those who love culture and nightlife will feel at home here. One of the most important archaeological museums in Turkey is located in Izmir as well as an ethnological museum with findings from the Aegean region. Whoever is interested in the art of painting should make a visit to the Museum for Painting or one of the many art galleries. The remains of the town wall and the grave of Tantalus can be visited in the Bayrakli district. The ruins of a Roman marketplace are located in the Namazgah district. Today's landmark of the city, the clock tower, stands on Konak Square.
One of the most beautiful bazaars in Turkey can be discovered by visitors in the Kemeralti district. The Hisar Camii mosque built in the 16th century can also be viewed here. In Alsancak's pedestrian zone many shops, some of which are highly-modern and exquisite in style, attract visitors to undertake an extensive shopping expedition.
With its lake and zoo, as well as its green lungs and resting areas from the big city's buzz of activity, Izmir's "Kültürpark" also serves as a ground for trade fairs. It also invites guests to make an evening visit, with its numerous restaurants and dance clubs - the "Roof" disco is especially popular with the younger generation. As too does the Alsancak district, with its many delightful street cafés and restaurants.
Not only Izmir itself, but also the surrounding area has many sites of interest on offer, such as, the Cesmealti fishing village with its fish restaurants or Sirince with its traditional houses. Due to the fact that the village is located in a wine-growing region, it is well worthwhile taking part in a wine-tasting. The train journey from Izmir to Ephesos (Efes) should offer a whiff of adventure. A steam engine makes a special journey here, over one of the oldest sections of railroad in Turkey.
Whoever visits Izmir once will most certainly be glad to return because of the city's cosmopolitan nature and its range of cultural offers.