"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 :)

Things to do:

-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

  • Last visit to Izmir: Oct 2007
  • Intro Updated Sep 7, 2009
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Reviews (29)

Comments (11)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Feb 2, 2011 at 9:41 AM

    Hello, Konstantinos! I see it's a splendid place to explore... Thanks for your wonderful story! ><><><

  • nelinka's Profile Photo
    Oct 27, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Γεια Σου Konstantine! Great page , thank you very much. Me also reading the book - Paradise Lost, and travelling tomorrow! Will spend 4 days visiting few sites in the region and 3 hopefuly great nights in Izmir.

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2009 at 6:14 AM

    Thanks for your tips, going there in less than 2 weeks and so looking forward to that ;-)

  • Feb 26, 2009 at 10:07 PM

    thanks for the insight into izmir and its past. im currently reading a book that describes the great fires of 1922, and it got me searching izmir. it looks like a lovely town, full of history. thanks for sharing!

  • Dester's Profile Photo
    Feb 26, 2009 at 3:48 PM

    Awesome destination travel my friend. Great tips for tight budget like me.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2009 at 11:39 PM

    Thank you Konstantinos for bringing back sweet memories about this city which I happened to visit with a very short stay. Your page is very useful and interesting for me before making of my own!

  • Tuna_ank's Profile Photo
    Aug 26, 2008 at 4:02 AM

    Wow, your Izmir page and tips excellent. I can't write like this! I will read more. My Ist.photos came from friends, I don't know real origin. Filia from hot Ankara.

  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo
    Jul 2, 2008 at 6:00 AM

    We enjoyed reading your Izmir page. We are off to Turkey later this summer and found your page very informative.

  • Apr 8, 2008 at 7:02 PM

    Great info and picture!

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2007 at 9:57 AM

    working thru this nice and informative page --- but had to mention that my older daughter is never without her small blue bead.

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