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Home arrow Testimonials arrow Foreign Students arrow General city information
General city information PDF Print E-mail

Izmir
History
Tourist attractions

Did you know that?


ImageIzmir is the main city in the Aegean region and the third largest in Turkey. Its ideal location, on a natural bay, enables the development of a large port which has contributed to the successful development of Izmir. This is one of Turkey’s most pleasant cities: its streets are shaded by palm trees, the walkways are beautiful, the houses elegant.
At present, Izmir is the most westernized city of Turkey in terms of lifestyle of the inhabitants, their values and ideologies. No wonder, the city has come to acquire the epithet of ‘Occidental Izmir’.

The area of Izmir is one of Turkey's most densely populated areas.
Izmir is a very important commercial and industrial centre, producing dyes, soaps, textiles, foodstuffs, tobacco, cement and cotton and woollen textiles.
Izmir consists of many distinct centres and suburbs. The agora and the ancient aqueducts of Kizilcullu are only some of the landmarks. The famous site of Ephesus lies 50 km to the south.
Izmir has excellent connections with other parts of Turkey, both by air, rail and road. Manisa is situated 25 km northeast, Aydin is 100 km southeast, Bursa 350 km northeast and Istanbul 650 km northeast.

Kemeralti, the colourful and old-fashion shopping district of Izmir, consists of narrow streets winding their way from Konak towards central Izmir. Here you can find jewellers, drapers, shoemaker, and shops specializing in all kinds of goods from leather to olives and cheese. The atmosphere of an earlier century still pervades the buildings here, with their distinctive 19th century doorways and roof tiles.


The city enjoys an exceptionally temperate climate of four seasons with mild, rainy winters (4° - 10° C) and hot summers (20° - 35° C) coupled with luxuriant Mediterranean vegetation. On some summer days the heat rises so much that it gets close to the heat of the tropical regions. Due to the fact that the city is surrounded by mountains and set around the Bay, the humidity is high. 49% of the humidity is observed in the hottest month, August.

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History:

ImageIzmir has its name derived Smyrna, the beautiful queen of the Amazons, the legendary female warriors. Excavations have revealed that the earliest settlement in Izmir was founded in the 3rd Millennium B.C. at present-day Bayraklı archaeological site. By 1500 B.C., the city was subject to the influence of the Hittites living in Central Anatolia.

In the 10th century B.C., Izmir was one of the key cities of the lonian Federation and it was during this period that the city experienced one of its most brilliant periods. The conquest of the city by the Lydians around 600 B.C. brought this period to an end. It was then again conquered by the Persians in the middle of the 6th century. In the 4th century B.C., Alexander the Great put an end to the sovereignty of the Persians and ordered a new city to be built on the slopes of Mt. Pagos ( Today’s Kadifekale). Thus, Hellenistic period of the city has begun, reaching its height during the Roman period from the 1st century B.C..

Towards the end of the 11th century, the Seljuks advanced as far as the Aegean Cost and captured Smyrna. The city remained in their hands until it was captured by the Byzantines in 1097, at the beginning of the first Crusade. Then, by means of a treaty, the Byzantine Empire granted the Genoese extensive concessions that included full control of Smyrna. The Genoese claimed Smyrna as their own and built a castle under the name of "St. Peter". The Genoese kept Smyrna until 1310 when the city was taken from them by Umur Bey, the Emir (Prince) of Aydın.

In 1344, the Genoese recaptured the castle of St. Peter, controlling the lower city of Smyrna while Umur Bey held the upper part. In the middle of the 14th century the castle and the lower town were controlled by the Knights of St. John from the Island of Rhodes. In the 15th century, the Mongols invaded the city and razed the castle to the ground. In 1422, Murat II conquered Smyrna and from then on, the city remained under Ottoman Rule.

When the Ottoman Empire granted capitulations to foreign tradesmen, Smyrna became an important centre for trade. In the 18th and 19th centuries the city became very popular among the French, English, Dutch and Italians.

This multi-national and multi-religious trade centre of the Ottoman Empire was invaded by the Greek Army on the 15th of May, 1919 following the treaty that ended World War I. The invasion ended on the 9th of September, 1922.

The biggest fire in the history of the city broke out four days later. The fire destroyed a large section of the city but it rose again like a Phoenix from its ashes after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Now, as the third biggest city of Turkey, Izmir enjoys a dynamic population and rapidly developing urban environment. Needless to say, 3 state-owned (of which DEU is one) and 2 private-sector-owned universities contribute to a great extent to this dynamism.

Tourist attractions:

ImageThe famous ancient city of Ephesus (only 50 km from Izmir) reflects the glamour of the Roman times. It was founded by colonists principally from Athens. The ruins of Ephesus are a major tourist attraction, especially for people travelling to Turkey by cruise ship via the port of Kuşadası. One of the tourist attractions is the famous Ephesus Library, situated to the south of the Agora. This elegant monument was built in A.D. 135 by Julius Aquila in memory of his father, Celsus Polemaeanus of Sardis, Roman Senator and Proconsul of the province of Asia.
Ephesus also had several major bath complexes, built at various points while the city was under Roman rule.
Ephesus, formally established as a harbour city, was later on distanced from the sea due to the river Menderes leaving alluvion on its banks, excavations on the old port and in Ephesus are still being carried out. One of the first Philosophers Herakleitos lived and teached in Ephsesus.

ImageThe history of Pergamon starts with the Phrigians and Lydians. After Alexander The Great had ended the Persian sovereignty in 334 B.C. , first his son Herakles, then Lysimachos ruled the area, and the Pergamom Kingdom was founded. Like the city of Ephesus, Pergamon enjoyed its golden age during the Roman period, being known with the famous sanatorium of Asclepeion,  a huge library emulating with that of Alexandria, with its paper industry and with its complicated aqueduct system.

ImageThe city of Priene is located on the northern edge of the Meander River plain approximately thirty kilometers from the present day Turkish city of Kusadasi. The ancient city was once a flourishing port, but the Meander River, true to its name, isolated the city by depositing silt, thus producing the fertile farmland we see today. The ancient theatre at Priene represents one of the best-preserved and earliest forms of Hellenistic theatre constructions in Turkey.

ImageMiletus is one of the historical places on the way to South from Izmir. Once the city was a harbour city like Ephesus, and home for philosophers and scientists such as Thales, and Hippodamus, the history of Miletus goes back to the 2000 B.C.

Did you know that?

o Izmir was established at least 5000 years ago.
o Epic poet Homer’’(9th century B.C.), the author of “the Iliad and the Odyssey” was born in Izmir.
o Three of the “Seven Churches” which were mentioned in the Bible are located in Izmir.
o One of the Seven Wonders of the antiquity, Temple of Artemis is at Ephesus.
o The symbol of the ancient city of Izmir was a lion’s head.
o Parchment paper was first invented in Pergamon.
o The Phokaians built 50-oared boats carrying 500 passengers.
o Phokaians established colonies in the western Mediterranean such as “Velia” in Italy, “Ampurias” in Spain and “Marseilles” in France.
o The earliest temple dedicated to the goddess Athena was constructed in Izmir.
o Izmir was mentioned by famous historian Heredos as” the city under the most sublime blue sky and on the remarkable climate”.
o Alexander the Great was told by Aristo, the philosopher: “If you do not see Smyrna, you remain lacking”.
o Xenophanes, philosopher and poet of Colophon lived in the 6th century B.C.
o The famous philosopher Heraclitus (540-480 B.C.) lived in Ephesus.
o The famous philosopher Anaxagoras (500-428 B.C.) lived in Clazomenae.
o Bucolic poet Bion (3rd century B.C.) lived in İzmir.
o Famous physician Galen (131-210 A.D.) lived in Pergamon.
o The first church dedicated to Virgin Mary was built at Ephesus.
o Virgin Mary’s House where she spent her last days is in Selçuk.
o St.John wrote the Bible at Ephesus and died there.
o On his 3rd missionary journey St.Paul preached at Ephesus Theatre.
o Cleopatra spent the winter of the year 188 in Ephesus together with Antonius.
o French poet Lamartine, French authors Chateaubriand, Theophile Gautier and Gustave Flaubert visited Izmir.
o Pope Paul VI and Pope John II visited the Virgin Mary’s House in 1967 and 1979 respectively.

 
 
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