"The Pearl of the Aegean sea" Top 5 Page for this destination Izmir by mindcrime
Izmir Travel Guide: 454 reviews and 1,275 photos
Izmir is a huge modern city, the third biggest in Turkey, situated on gulf of Izmir by the Aegean sea. Although the city is laying next to a huge bay and up to the surrounded hills it’s really a pity that they created an architecture monster instead of a beautiful seaside city. The first time I went there, I though I was at Salonica (Greece) although here the inhabitants are more than 3.500.00 and the traffic problem is now endless! The city has 9 big districts(Balçova, Bornova, Buca, Çiğli, Gaziemir, Güzelbahçe, Karşiyaka, Konak and Narlidere) with different atmosphere. If you don’t know Turkish you will probably get lost inside the city and the bus network is really strange and slow, so I suggest to stroll around the center if you are here just as a daytrip. The metro line is very simple but at least will take you to Bornova district. In any case the basic attractions are in the center: the museums, Kordon, the famous clock tower, the bazzar etc
Although it’s too hot during summer period I liked it a lot at the end of October. The chilly breeze from Aegean sea was refreshing as I was walking next to Kordon, the famous promenade that every local like to stroll, especially in the evening. I noticed that the people are more relaxed here than in Istanbul. I still think spring and autumn are the ideal months to visit Izmir. You can come here by bus from other Turkish cities, by plane, or by boat from Chios Island(Greece) to Cesme and from there by bus in an hour. I came from Bodrum and then I went to Marmaris. I made both trips by bus and it was very comfortable.
The history of the city goes back to 3000 BC but although the great heritage the Ottomans that took over Izmir in the 15th century (1415) didn’t give so much attention to historical monuments etc like in Istanbul. But from the other side Izmir had always many non Turkish people because after the 1535 sultan Suleyman the Magnificent gave the opportunity to many foreigners come and use the international port of Izmir so they brought different cultures inside the city. Before 1923 Izmir had more Christians and jews than muslims. The architecture changed too so until the end of the 19th century Izmir was the most “european” city of Turkey. The modern city built upon the ashes! Unfortunately a big fire followed the greek-turkey war at 1922(13 of September) so many parts of the city just gone (many people too but that’s another story of another useless war, see my general tips). Anyway, Izmir was always an important trade center and of course even in our days is a busy commercial centre but what I think now is that the mix of people made the women of Izmir the most beautiful in Turkey! :)
In old times the name was Smyrna (we still call it Smirni in Greece) because of the mýrrha, a small tree that grows in abundance in the area. Some other say that it’s the name of amazon called Smirna (I noticed a statue of an amazon in the city)
It is said that Homer, the greek poet has been born here but I’ve heard the same story in Chios island too :)
-enjoy a café at the cafés along the historic Pasaport Quay (1877) at the port of İzmir
-visit Agora, date back to Ancient Greece, originally constructed during the rule of Alexander the Great
-visit interesting museums like the archeology museum, the ethnography museum next to it, the Ataturk museum on Ataturk Caddesi etc
-go up to Kadifekale hill for the view
-take the boat to Karsiyaka
-go for shopping at the big bazaar and see Kizlaragasi Hani, a fine exable of 18th century Ottoman architecture
-have a beer in one of the pubs in Alsacak
Everyone in Turkey drinks tea day and night! I met a woman that drinks 10 glasses every day!! After two days I started... more travel advice
One cheap and tasty thing to eat is simit. You will find it everywhere because many street vendors sell it. I saw many... more travel advice
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