"IZMIR (SMYRNA)" Top 5 Page for this destination Izmir by Pinat

Izmir Travel Guide: 457 reviews and 1,281 photos

If you do not see Smyrna, you remain lacking

I don't know where to start as I am deeply connected to this city cuz it is my hometown.

Izmir means family reunions, smell of the sea, taste of "boyoz" in the morning, the clock tower, the crowds of Kemeralti, the bars of Kordon, beautiful girls in Alsancak, loads of passing-by tourists in summer time and many many more to me.

It is known to be the pearl of the Aegean Sea (at least on the Turkish side). It is a fascinating city whose history starts in the mists of legend. It is Turkey's third largest and second most important port. This modern city still retains its traces of its ancient, Ottoman and Levantine past.

On the other hand, it suffers from the unluck of being the main busy city centre for more popular destinations: Cesme, Ephesus to name a few. Unfortunately, many tourists use Izmir just cuz of the airport and as soon as they jump off the plane, they skip this ancient city...


* It was established at least 5000 years ago.
* Epic poet Homer”(9th century B.C), the author of “the Iliad and the Odyssey” was born in Izmir.
* Three of the “Seven Churches” (Ephesus, Smyrna and Pergamos) which were mentioned in Bible are in Izmir.
* One of the Seven Wonders of the antiquity, Temple of Artemis is at Ephesus, Izmir.
* The earliest temple dedicated to the goddess Athena was constructed in Izmir.
* Izmir was mentioned by famous historian Heredos as” the city under the most sublime blue sky and on the remarkable climate”.
* The first church dedicated to Virgin Mary was built at Ephesus, Izmir.
* St. John wrote the Bible at Ephesus, Izmir and died there.


Izmir’s history goes back to 3000 B.C. according to the results of historical knowledge and archaeological excavations.

In the years of 3000 B.C. Western Anatolia was under a rich Trojan civilization influence. The settlement areas built on the Aegean coast also developed generally under the Trojan influence.

The Aiolos and the Ions who Fled from the Doric invasion around 1000 B.C., came from Greece and settled in Izmir and its surroundings. The important Aeol and Ionian settlements are as follows: Bergama (Pergamon), Manisa (Magnesia), Izmir (Smyrna), Urla (Klazomenai, near Cesme), Kemalpasa (Nimphaion), Cesme-Ildiri (Erythrai), Sigacik (Teos), Phokaia, Selcuk (Ephesus).

The two roads stretching from Kadifekale (Mt. Pagos) to Ephesus and Sardis were built during the Roman period. In 324 A.D. after the Roman Empire was divided into two, Izmir had been taken by the Byzantine Empire and Ephesus especially was an important cultural and religious center in the classic Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods.

The following Turkish architectural constructions are distinguished examples of the Turkish culture built during the Ottoman period, they have adorned Izmir for centuries: The Hisar Mosque, The Sadirvan Mosque, the Hatuniye Mosque, the Konak Yali Mosque, the Kemeralti Mosque, the Kestane Bazaar Mosque, the Izmir Clock Tower, the Kizlaragasi Han (Inn - commercial building), the Mirkelamoglu and Cakaloglu Inns and other inns (trade places for spending the night), Bedesten (Ottoman’s special trade constructions).

In the years of the struggle of Liberation, Izmir underwent a great wreckage with huge destructions and fires. With the driving away of the Greek army by the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on September 9th 1922, Izmir started to become a modern city of the young Turkish Republic and developed this character more everyday.

  • Last visit to Izmir: May 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (26)

Comments (19)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Mar 31, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Nice tips Pinat!

  • marielexoteria's Profile Photo
    Mar 18, 2010 at 4:09 AM

    Izmir sounds very interesting. Great tips!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2009 at 3:36 AM

    Interesting tips on your (and Homer's) hometown! Strange to think that even Agamemnon might have taken the waters in Balcova, and maybe even had a mud bath.

  • Arkeolog's Profile Photo
    Nov 5, 2009 at 3:10 AM

    Pinar, you have a good page on Izmir. Congrats. Bora

  • mizzzthanggg's Profile Photo
    Oct 20, 2009 at 5:21 AM

    Izmir is fantastic Pinar, it's one of my favourite places in Turkey. I really hope to be able to go back soon. Great tips!

  • hopang's Profile Photo
    Sep 14, 2009 at 5:42 AM

    Izmir certainly has lots of wonderful tourist attractions especially Aquaducts and Asansor, and so is Karsiyaka District. The closest we have been to Ismir is Efesos. We certainly hope to visit Izmir one day. ~ho & pang

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Sep 10, 2009 at 2:35 AM

    So much to see in Izmir with a rich heritage. Can be a tourist everyday if one lives here. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kid-A's Profile Photo
    Aug 18, 2009 at 8:42 PM

    I loved your city, Pinar -- nice page! :)

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    Jul 27, 2009 at 1:10 AM

    Coming to Turkey in September and so looking forward to eating a proper Doner kebab again ;-)

  • ChristinaNest's Profile Photo
    Jul 24, 2009 at 4:21 AM

    Beautiful hometown! I'd especially like to see the aerial views of the city and the ancient buildings:)

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