Izmir, the city which is home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World...
"I am 8,500 years old..." says the city of Homer...
The legendary female warriors, the Amazons, founded İzmir, or Smyrna as it was called in Ancient Times, according to one story. Alternatively, according to another tale, the Lelegs established it. The city is located on the Aegean Coast in the west of Turkey, and the city is the biggest and most important settlement in the Aegean Region. İzmir, which has managed to modernize whilst preserving its archaeological and historical assets, is an important trade centre, because of its port. The diversity of activities and resources that İzmir is able to provide makes it a very attractive area for tourism. It boasts both spas with healing thermal waters, and the deep blue sea with beaches displaying the safety symbol of the blue flag.
İzmir resonates with the water and the wind. Benefiting from the breeze from the Aegean Sea, İzmir enjoys a well-deserved reputation due to sights and ruins such as Bergama (Pergamon), Çeşme, Foça, Kemalpaşa, Selçuk, Tire and Urla, which are outstanding in terms of the richness of their natural and historical assets.
It offers visitors many options for a unique holiday experience. Its geographical location means that İzmir enjoys a Mediterranean climate plus natural beauty, a rich cultural and historical heritage, beaches, thermal waters and spas. In addition, it boasts a rich cuisine, featuring grapes, figs, olives, citrus fruits and seafood, as well as the legacies left by civilizations over thousands of years.
The city, known as "Beautiful İzmir" in Turkey, is located at the start of a long and narrow gulf, decorated with yachts, passenger ships and gulf steamers. It has a warm climate and the cooling sea breeze in the summer takes away the burning heat of the sun. İzmir, which enjoys a special cultural and historical identity, is the third largest city in Turkey. Its port, located inside the gulf, is the second largest in Turkey. As a lively and cosmopolitan city, it occupies a significant place in Turkey's cultural life with the International Arts Festival and International Fair.
The whole of the coastal road is enchanting. The districts of Alsancak and Karşıyaka are areas offering great opportunities to meet the locals in the many restaurants, cafes and along walking paths. "I am 8500 years old..." says İzmir. This metropolis, which is a cornucopia of civilizations and mythology in ancient Ionia, has been home to the Amazons, Lydians, Persians, Alexander the Great and his generals, Romans, Arabs, Umayyads, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans throughout thousands of years of history.
İzmir was the Homer the Poet's inspiration and Alexander's dream, the son of the Macedonian King Philip. Legend has it that Alexander the Great fell asleep under a tree whilst out hunting on the outskirts of Mount Pagos, today's Kadifekale. He had a dream about a goddess called Nemesis, who ordered him to re-build the City of Smyrna in the exact place where this dream had taken place. The geographer Strabo recounts that Smyrna, which rivalled Ephesus, was the most beautiful Ionian city in Ancient Times.
İzmir is attractively multi-cultural. From the perspective of cultural identity, its present socio-demographic composition is still characterized by tolerance towards different religions and cultures due to its Levantine, Jewish and Christian heritage. The synagogues and churches, which are open to visitors and still used, are important signs of this multi-cultural character.
Izmir Agora Museum
Etymologically, agora means Public Square and shopping district. Agora, which has commercial, judicial and political functions, is a place where the art activities increases, the background of philosophy is laid out and where the stoas, monuments, altars and statues exist.
Agora located in Namazgah district of Izmir remained from Rome Period (AD 2nd century) and it was built according to Hippodamos city plan, in three floors, close to the centrum. Izmir agora is the one which is the biggest and best protected of the Ion agoras.
Most part of Izmir agora was found with the digs carried out by Rudolf Naumann, Professor F. Miltner and Selahattin Kantar, the director of Izmir Ephesus museums between the years 1932 - 1941 and it was figured out that it is a three - floor compound structure in rectangular form with stairs in the front, built on columns and arches around a large courtyard (120 x 180 m) in the middle of the building.
Recent digs in agora begun on August 5th, 1996 with the approval of Ministry of Culture and cooperation of Izmir Governor Office and the Directorate of Archaeology Museum.
At south east side of the agora, the area agora covered increased to 16.590 m2 after the surrounding wall of Misak-i Milli Primary School, which was burnt in 1980s, was jointed to agora. The agora studies are being carried out with the sponsorship of Izmir Municipality as digging, restoration, archaeological cleaning and environmental arrangement at five places such as agora area, northern gate basilica bottom, stoa and ancient shopping centre.
At the above-mentioned studies, the most important work has been carried out by finding the northern gate of agora. It was figured out that the Goddess Vesta embossments found in these digs were the continuation of embossments of Zeus altar extracted during the first digs. Beside God Hermes, Dionysos, Eros, Herakles statues; many man-woman-animal statues, heads, embossments, figurines and monuments made of marble, stone, bone, glass, metal and cooked soil were found. The inscriptions found here give us information about the people who aided to Izmir during Izmir earthquake in AD 178. · Return to General Directorate of Monuments and Museums · Return to Izmir Province.