Izmir was called Smyrna during ancient times and it is located on the Aegean Sea near the Gulf of of the same name. It is located on a wide bay beneath a range of hills and it is halfway down on Turkey’s west coast. This port city is one among the rapidly growing cruise ship ports on the Aegean and it acts as an excellent base for travelers who visit nearby Pergamon and Ephesus.
It is the third most populated city of Turkey and it is the second largest port of the country. Izmir is the capital of the Province of the same name and the city is composed of 9 metropolitan districts.
It has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and warm, wet winters.
A Little Bit of History
The city was established some 5,000 years ago, when the Trojans founded the city around 3000 BC.
The City of Izmir
The first Greek settlers were the Aeolians who were taken over by the Ionians and then the Lydians destroyed the city in 600 BC. Alexander the Great started to rebuild the city in 334 BC and it was finished by the Romans.
The city prospered under the Romans, but it was destroyed by an earthquake in 178 AD. It was reconstructed and became a major commercial port.
The city was taken over by many rulers like the Byzantines, Arabs, Seljuks, Crusaders and Mongols. Mehmet I incorporated the city within the Ottoman Empire in 1415.
After World War I Greece took control of the Aegean area.
Izmir Clock Tower
In 1922, during the War of Independence, most of the old Smyrna was destroyed in a fire. The fire ended the multinational era of the city and it was taken over by Ataturk.
There are seven churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation and of those three churches are in the city. The first church dedicated to Virgin Mary was built in Ephesus and the house where she spent her last days is in Selcuk.
Ephesus is the prideful home of the Temple of Artemis, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the antiquity.
Izmir is the birth place of epic poet Homer, of the 9th century B.C., the author of “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey.”
Xenophanes, philosopher and poet of Colophon lived in Smyrna in the 6th century B.C. Philosopher Anaxagoras, Bucolic poet Bion, Physician Galen, St. Paul and singer Dario Moreno lived in Izmir.
Izmir International Festival, Izmir European Jazz Festival, International Izmir Short Film Festival, Strawberry Festival, Festival of Bergama, Bird Paradise Festival and Festivities of Kite and Spring are some of the famous festivals and celebrations here.
Where is Izmir?
- 149.7 miles/ 241 km from Bodrum, Turkey
- 363.5 miles/ 585 km from Ankara, Turkey
- 285.2 miles/ 459 km from Antalya, Turkey
- 140.4 miles/ 226 km from Denizli, Turkey
- 62.1 miles/ 100 km from Kusadasi, Turkey
- 12.4 miles/ 20 km from Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport, Turkey
Things to See
- Clock Tower
- Saint Polycarp Church
- Hisar Mosque
- Izmir Archeological Museum
- Ilica – Alacati – Cesme
- Sirince Village
This port city is a very safe and enjoyable port city and a commercial center, which is set around a huge bay with the mountains as its backdrop.
Enjoy the pleasant Aegean ambiance of Izmir, wander through the bazaars, and sip and dine at the waterfront restaurants. The city’s atmosphere is more like Mediterranean Europe than traditional Turkey.
We wish you a fantastic Mediterranean cruise!