Izmir

Clock tower in Konak Square, iconic symbol of the city

İzmir is a rapidly growing city on the Central Aegean coast of Turkey.

Understand

İzmir is the third largest city in Turkey with a population of around 3.7 million, the second biggest port after Istanbul, and a very good transport hub. Once the ancient city of Smyrna, it is now a modern, developed, and busy commercial center, set around a huge bay and surrounded by mountains. The broad boulevards, glass-fronted buildings and modern shopping centers are dotted with traditional red-tiled roofs, the 18th century market, and old mosques and churches, although the city has an atmosphere more of Mediterranean Europe than traditional Turkey.

History

The history of İzmir stretches back to around 3000 BC when the Trojans founded the city in Tepekule in the northern suburb of Bayrakli. This was the birthplace of Homer, who was thought to have lived here around the 8th century BC. The Aeolians, the first Greek settlers, were eventually taken over by the (also Greek) Ionians, and then the Lydians destroyed the city around 600BC before a brief recovery following Alexander the Great’s arrival in 334 BC.

After his death, Alexander’s generals followed his wishes and re-established Smyrna on Mount Pagos in Kadifekale, and the city then prospered under the Romans. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 178 AD but later reconstructed and became a major commercial port. After the Byzantines, the city had a turbulent time under the Arabs, Seljuks, Crusaders and Mongols, until Mehmet I incorporated it into the Ottoman Empire in 1415. Under Suleyman the Magnificent, Smyrna became a thriving and sophisticated city and a huge trading center, despite its frequent earthquakes. It was cosmopolitan, with mainly Greek Orthodox and also Jews and Muslims, and many languages were spoken among locals and visiting traders.

Following World War I and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, on the basis of a major Greek-speaking population of the area, Greece was granted a mandate over İzmir from the Allies and so Greece took control of the whole Aegean Area. Led by Kemal Atatürk the Turkish army launched a counter-attack and seized the city. Soon thereafter 70% of the city burned to the ground. The big fire ended the multinational era of the city. Atatürk formally took İzmir on 9 September 1922 which is celebrated as the day of city's independence in İzmir.

Climate

Dry and sunny summers in İzmir are so infernally hot and sticky that, unless there is an air-con in your room, you will most likely have trouble falling asleep at least on your first night, no matter whether the windows are wide open or not. However, a mild breeze coming in ashore from the sea (locally called meltem) may refreshen the evenings, at least in locations close to the waterfront. Temperature can drop down to freezing point (0°C/32°F) in mostly windy and rainy winters, however snowfall is some sort of curiousness in these latitudes, which happens once or at most twice a decade, if at all.

Get in

By train

İzmir has two railway stations: Basmane in the city center serves regional trains and the Metro, and Alsancak in the north serves intercity trains and the IZBAN.

The main intercity services include: Ankara (Mavi Tren is the fastest at 14 hours), Denizli (3 express trains daily, 5–6 hours) and Isparta (9 hours). Trains for Istanbul connect with a ferry at Bandirma.

Basmane station is linked by metro (which has a separate station than the train one) to Hatay,Karabağlar in the west and to Erzene Neighbourhood,Bornova in the east.

By boat

There is a weekly ferry from Istanbul-İzmir (19 hours), operating at weekends, and one or two weekly ferries between İzmir and Venice (67 hours). All ferries dock at the Alsancak Ferry Terminal, 2 km north of the city center.

By plane

Adnan Menderes Airport (IATA: ADB), 16 km south of the city center, has several daily flights to Istanbul, Ankara, and Antalya. There are also regular flights from many European cities.

Iz Air is a local carrier operating out of Adnan Menderes and offers many domestic connections.

From the airport, you have three public transport options into the city:

Adnan Menderes Airport Car Hire Adress : 1375 Sokak No : 6/e Alsancak Konak / İzmir Telephone : +90 232 313 01 13 Call Center 0850 380 01 80

By bus

The bus station, or otogar, is 6 km north east of town although there are plenty of dolmuş that make the journey there from the centre. The bus station is huge and has an internet cafe, plenty of facilities for food and drink and a large number of agencies selling tickets for coaches which, if departing imminently, they will be shouting out the destinations of. It also has pay toilets.

Buses to Istanbul take 9 hours (including a brief trip on a ferry) and travellers are provided with water, hot drinks, snacks and regular stops for toilets and food all for free on the better services for fares around 50TL per person one way. Check http://www.otobusbileti.gen.tr/izmir-otobus-bileti for prices of bus tickets from İzmir to all cities and towns in Turkey.

Get around

On foot

You can explore İzmir inner city by walking. Walking Routes to center of the city are very easy to walk and enjoyable.

By metro

The system of urban rail in İzmir consists of two lines:

By bus

There is an extensive system of public buses covering the entire city.

By boat

Public ferries are easy, fast inside the coast and provide a nice view of İzmir. Preferable to every other transportation in nice weather.

By taxi

There are many taxis with reasonable price.

See

Due to the Great Fire of 1920s, there is a relative lack of historical sights in İzmir, especially when considered how old the city really is (more than 5000 years old).

Do

Buy

You can go to Konak Pier, a small mall along the Kordon with a cinema and with local and other known brands. Another mall is called Forum, in Bornova. Forum is a very big mall with all brands and a supermarket in a Mediterranean style one floored houses in open air. Kemeraltı (in the city center) offers great deal of souvenirs in a nice traditional atmosphere.

Eat

BOLCOVA SHOPPING COMPLEXES may be the most modern shopping and entertainment where in European Style.Besides prices are reasanable.

Drink

Join the nightlife on Kıbrıs Şehitleri Caddesi in Alsancak, and go find the Gazi Kadinlar Street. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are when the street is liveliest.

Sleep

In İzmir there are many hotels 5 minutes walk from the railway station to suit all tastes and wallets. Hilton is very close to city center in Alsancak, and Swissotel is opened this year which is also located in Alsancak. Also there is Crowne Plaza, which is about 30 min. from center.

Cope

Consulates

Stay safe

İzmir Police Department has a "tourism police" section where travellers can report passport loss and theft or any other criminal activity, they may have become victims of. The staff is multilingual and will speak English, German, French, and Arabic.

Go next

Routes through Izmir

Çanakkale Bergama  N  S  Selçuk Denizli


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 28, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.