December 23, 2007

Izmir



The city of Izmir is located in the Aegean region in western turkey, at the gulf with the same name Izmir. Called as “the Peal of the Aegean”, is the third largest city and one of the most important commercial and industrial centre in the country. Izmir is also the second largest Turkish sea port.

Studies and excavations prove that Izmir dates back to 3000 B.C. During the ancient times Izmir was known as Smyrna and was initially built on the Tepekule site today as Bayrakli. Later, in the Turkish era the city of Smyrna was re-named Izmir. Today the city presents Mediterranean Europe influence contrasting the modern buildings with its traditional character. Around the city there are many historical sites from prehistoric times, works and buildings, museums, typical Mediterranean kitchen, handicrafts, festivals, festivities, and other local cultural specialties. Izmir is a prominent city for all that has to offer. It is a cosmopolitan and lively city where culture and entertainment are mixed. Izmir is renowned for its museums, fish restaurants along the shore, the bars, discotheques and night clubs and for the remains of ancient civilizations. One of the landmarks of Izmir is Balcova where is located Turkey's largest thermal spas. The Culture Park in the Alsancak district is another well known spot where many fairs are held during the year, being the most important the International Izmir Festival in September. This festival features music and dance shows, as well as performances.



Archaeology Museum

The Archaeological Museum of Izmir (Arkeoloji Müzesi) close to Konak Square, exhibits an impressive collection of ancient and Roman artifacts recovered from area excavations, including Bergama, Iasos, Bayrakli, and Agora. The exhibition is arranged in different floors and halls. The First Floor: This floor features the statues of Demeter, Poseidon, Artemis which were found in Agora, embellished ceiling coatings belonging to Belevi Mausoleum and some architectural pieces coming from antique cities Larissa, Claros, Didyma. In the interior section of the hall, marble statues like the marble statue of river god Kaistros found in Ephesus are exhibited. The Second Floor: In this floor are exhibited marble sculptures, marble busts, sculptures heads and portraits. The Korean sculpture found in Erythrai, is one of the first examples of large marble sculptures from the Ancient Age. It is located in the entrance of the Salon, next to the Bronze Athlete Sculpture that was found in Kyma.

The Third Floor: This floor has two galleries. The first gallery bears works of art found in different parts of Western Anatolia. Small statues made of glass, bronze, ring stones, pots, pans, kerosine lamps and the small statues are classified and arranged chronologically, from the primitive ages to the end of the Byzantine Period, and exhibited inside the display windows. The Second Salon features the recovered works by the archeological excavations by archeologists and historians ordered chronologically for didactic purposes. These works were found in the archeological excavations that were made in Eski Izmir (Symrna), Çandarli, Myrina, Foça, Çesme (Erythrai) and the ancient Lasos also there is a storage department this floor. This section bears also golden grave gifts, glass and bronze works, also the bronze Demeter (goddess of fertility) which was found in Halicarnasus, and Greek golden, Roman golden and Venedic coins.

Archaeology Museum

Clock Tower

The tower was built in 1091 to commemorate the 25th year anniversary of the coronation of Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamit II. Its construction was in charge of the architect Raymond Charles Pere. The clock tower is 25 meters high and consists of four levels on an octagonal plan and decorated in an elaborate late Ottoman style. There are fountains on four sides of the tower. The clock itself was a gift of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany.

The Clock Tower

The Agora

Agora is an ancient market place located in the district known as Narnazgah or Tilkilik on the skirts of Kadifekale. Constructed during the rule of Alexander the Great, the Agora is today mostly in ruins. Agora was devastated for many times by earthquakes and rebuilt several times. The last was in 178 A.D. by the wife of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Faustina.

The agora was a meeting place for commercial, political, and religious activities for the local people. It was surrounded mostly by state buildings on a rectangular plan with a large central courtyard and a covered stoa around it. During the excavations northern and western stoas have been discovered including their basements, and a large 165 x 28 m basilica has been found on the northern stoa. One of the main streets of Smyrna city was cutting through the agora dividing it in two equal parts, and there were entrance gates at both ends. The excavation works are still ongoing at the agora for the basilica and a part of the eastern stoa. The agora once had a large altar dedicated to Zeus in the center. The altar is now gone, but statues of Poseidon and of Demeter believed to have come from the altar are on display in the Archaeological Museum. There are visible at the site are various capitals, remnants of three of the four main gates, some recognizable stalls, architectural fragments bearing medieval coats of arms and a stone slab that may have been used as a gaming board.

The Agora

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