Izmir : The City of the Goddess Athena

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After Athens, İzmir is the most crowded city in the Aegean side. This city with its large port for yachts is a lovely place to have a nice getaway under palm and date trees. İzmir is also a city of history, since it hosted many civilization like Ionia, Roman Empire and many more! The city's name is coming from an Amazon woman called Symrna but the recent archeological digging shows us today that the name of İzmir might also come from a queen who ruled in here. Due to its beautiful location, this city was a great culture and trade hub for ages. The Goddess Athena was really important figure in İzmir, since the most gorgeous construction of the city is the temple of Athena. During the time of the Ionia, Izmir was very wealthy and the literacy rate was really high which made a perfect environment for philosophers and free thinking. That's why great philosophers like Thames, Anaximenes and many more are coming from İzmir. During the Roman Empire, the Hellenistic times reached to its peak point in here and after the death of the Alexander the Great, the city was ruled by the Romans. During that time, an amazing antic theatre and a stadium was built in İzmir and today, you can still wander around in the ruins of this ancient city!

The first stop should be the one of the most visited landmark of the city, which is the clock tower of İzmir! This clock tower was built in 1901 for the celebration of Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid's 25th year of inheriting the throne. You should take a picture of this amazing building and watch the sunset from there since it has a lovely view!

After visiting the Clock Tower, it is time for the Kemeraltı Markets for shopping and tasting the traditional foods of İzmir! This historical market has lots of exotic shops and the best restaurants if you are looking for the best and the most tasty street foods of all in İzmir. BTW you have to try Kumru (which is a sandwich with delicious cheese, tomatoes, pickles, sausages and many more) and Boyoz (which is a pastry)!

Kadifekale is the name of the hill as well as being the name of the ancient castle on top of the same hill! The castle is only 2 km away from the coastline, which makes it perfect to visit to watch the liquid sunsets! The castles history dates back 306 BC. As Wikipedia said; " This construction was associated with Alexander's re-foundation of Smyrna, moving it from Old Smyrna on a mound in the southeastern corner of the inner gulf where only a few thousand people could be accommodated. This move for the location of a new and larger city gained fame in a legend told by Pausanias, according to which Alexander, during a rest after hunting under a plane tree near the sanctuary on the hill of the two Nemeseis worshipped by the Smyrneans, was approached during his sleep by the goddesses who bade him found a city on that very spot, transferring to it the inhabitants of the earlier site. Upon this, the famous oracle in Klaros was consulted and the answer received was;

I mean what a history, huh. :D

Time to discover the home of the Lord! If you want to check out a few mosques, you can first visit the Hisar Mosque. This historical mosque was built in 1600s and today it is still in use for prayers. It is definitely a living history. The second stop should be the İsa Bey Mosque. This mosque was constructed in 1374 and the most impressive building from the Anatolian Beylik's era. Inside the mosque, you can get mesmerized by the İznik ceramic tiles and amazing marble works!

Btw i would like to take a break and appreciate one of the most amazing sea in the world! İzmir has lots of great white flag beaches that you can enjoy the salty water!

Ok, time for museums. The first museum should be the Ephesus Archaeological museum. In this must see museum, you can get to see the amazing historical works from the Roman and Ottoman Empire! The second stop should be the İzmir Sea Life Museum (İzmir Deniz Canlıları Müzesi) where you can see the sea life forms of İzmir!

And of course the ancient city of İzmir, Aphrodisias! The city's name is coming from the love and beauty Goddess, Aphrodite. This ancient city dates back to 2nd Century BC! Aphrodisias was the capital of the Roman Region of Caria which is famous for its blue, grey and white marbles that has been used for sculptures! Inside this ancient city ruins, you can find the Temple of Aphrodite, Tetrapylon, the council house, stadium and many more!

And lastly, you have to check out the İzmir Nature Life Park, to have a bit of taste of the nature and cute animals!

If you want to visit İzmir, find your inspiration on itinari now!


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The author

Alara Benlier

Alara Benlier

My name is Alara Benlier, I am Turkish but currently living in Germany! I share my experiences in Germany, Turkey and the Netherlands!

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