‘’In İzmir, the sea smells like women, women like the sea, and its streets both like women and the sea’’ says Cahit Kulebi, the famous poet. Built by Smyrna, the queen of Amazon warriors in 15th century B.C. İzmir is truly a female city…’’
Known as the Pearl of the Aegean Sea, İzmir is a lively and modern city where palm treesare lined up on its broad avenues. With a population of around four million, İzmir has the typical warm Mediterrenian climate. It hosted tens of civilizations in its 8.500 years long history, İzmir owes its peculiarity of being a touristic, artistic, cultural and commercial center in Turkey to its historical riches and great cultural heritage.
Ancient Philosophers Anaxagoras (500-480 B.C) and Heracleitos (540-428 B.C) lived in this region. Homer wrote his famous epics on Illiad and Odyssey in Smyrna, ie.İzmir. It is claimed that Homer , who is referred also as ‘’Melesigenes’’ i.e. ‘’the son of Meles Brook’’, was born in İzmir. The Temple of Artemis, one of the seven, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is in Ephesus. Virgin Mary lived her last years in Selçuk, and the first church dedicated to her was built in Ephesus.
Its past illuminating its future, İzmir is usually referred as the modern visage of Turkey or its door opening to the West. However, serving as home to many glorious civilizations of the World, a definition of Izmir as the ‘’smiling face of Turkey’’ would reflect its spirit much more accurately. Despite findings, which indicate that her past dates back even further, it is accepted that İzmir was founded in 8.500 BC at the present-day Agora. According to the legend, Amazonians fighting on the coasts of Aegean Sea founded the city and its historical name, Smyrna, came from the name of an amazonian queen. In other words, when you tour İzmir, it means you are roaming around the land of the amazons. İzmir is also a city where many groundbreaking events took place. The oldest bridge known (850 BC) was built over Meles Brook near İzmir. The old ‘’kala dramos’’ or ‘’beautiful path’’ was discovered in Tepekule. This is the site where Smyrna, i.e. ancient İzmir, was initially founded. The city unearthed by excavationof the Tepekule Mound, the excavations of which are still continuing, is the oldest and the most well planned city remaining to the present day in Western Civilization. Parchment paper was discovered in Bergama fort he first time as well. Klasomenai, the first olive oil extractor discovered in the World so far is in Urla.
The city is a brilliant stage of art with İzmir State Opera and Ballet, İzmir State Symphony Orchestra, İzmir State Theatre, Adnan Saygun Art Center and other private theaters. The museums in the city display artistries reflecting the city’s centuries old, rich cultural heritage. The most popular museums downtown are the old Archeological Museum, İzmir Archeological Museum, Etnography Museum, Atatürk Museum, and Sculpture as well as History and Art Museum at Kültürpark. Being the most prominent crossroads of culture in Turkey, İzmir is also the leading city for international organizations. It hosts ‘’İzmir International Festival’’ held in June every year. In the concerts held at the historical sites of the city from the Agora to Ephesus Ancient Theater , The Metropolis, i.e. the City of the Mother goddess, to the capital of healing through music down the ages, i.e. Asklepion in Bergama, the most important orchestras and artists of the World meet with art-lovers.
İzmir International Fair, which has been held in every August since 1931 , is the oldest traditional fair in Turkey. ‘’İzmir Fair’’ built in Gaziemir this year is the largest and most extensive fair complex in Turkey. MARBLE (International Natural Stone Technologies Fair)held at the end of March and IF WEDDING FASHION (Wedding Dresses, Suits and Evening Gowns Fair) held in February are the most important fairs of Izmir. Izmir proved its success in International Organizations with broad participation as it hosted Mediterrenian Games in 1971 and the Universiade in 2005.
The Coastline surrounding the Gulf of İzmir like a pearl necklace is significant recreational area for the city-dwellers, especially during hot summer days. The long coastline, where residents of İzmir meetthe sea of downtown, embraces fishers, joggers, cyclists, those who take a rest on the grass , couples walking around arm-in-arm; in short, everyone from 7 to 70.
Being the capital of the Aegean Region and the third largest metropolitan city of Turkey, İzmir became the center of the World trade in 16th century. As it has been one of the pioneering cities in Mediterrenian trade throughout history, the city has a strong commercial tradition as well as being a significant center of production. The city has 16 organized industrial zones, 2 free zones, 8 universities and the second most important port of exportation. The city is a lifeblood for Turkish economy. In recent years, any multination corporations have picked İzmir as a base due to its advantegous location. İzmir Possesses the necessary infrastructure and human resources meet the requirements to meet the requirements of global trade. Consequently, it is among the Turkish cities, which attract the highest amount of foreign capital. There are around 550 companies operating at the freezones, and 6.500 companies operating at the industrial zones. Mainly, food, textiles, paper and printing materials, cement, industrial equipment, marble,steel, mining, furniture, cooling and heating devices and automotive industries are predominant. İzmir has a voice in tobacco, cotton, fig, grape, olive, olive oil and fruit and vegetable production in the World. Aegean Region is the only region of Turkey where agricultural and industrial production, import and export and tourism services are carried out side by side.
Being a city that can be reached easily by through air, sea and road from anywhere in Turkey and the World, İzmir has made significant progress particularly in cruise tourism as sea tourism companies have been including İzmir in their routines in the recent years. For centuries İzmir have held a special position in Turkey, owing not only to its commercial importance and cultural heritage, but also its social life in which natural riches and tolerance are internalized. With its hotels from all-star –ratings , shopping malls harboring famous brands, modern market places, unparalled cousine and award-winning wines that have been attracting the attention of the World, İzmir incorporates all sorts of holiday and entertainment alternatives. Presenting rich alternatives through its large hinterland from mountain sports to sea sports, faith tourism to agro-tourism, İzmir has become a tourism region of first choice pursuant to its climaticadvantages as well such as having 300 days of sun per year.
URLA: THE ADDRESS FOR NATURAL LIFE
An important civilization center for its 8,000 year-long history, Klazomenai, now called Urla, is one of the 12 large cities of ancient Ionia. It is a cute town where the national beauty and historical wealth embrace each other and the traces of experiences are reflected in the streets; a town which is full of peace thanks to its fresh air, bright seas, numerous bays and clean shores on which to live a quiet life.
Urla, except for its 12 large and small islands, has a 40 km long coastline and numerous untouched bays. Located 30 km from İzmir, Urla has been an inspiration for many philosophers, poets and artists. This is the homeland of Anaxagoras. Who is the founder of the philosophy of ethics and the teacher of Socrates, one of the most important names in the history of thought, and the homeland of Yorgo Seferis, Nobel-winning poet. Anaxagoras, one of the most important philosophers of ancient time and the father of rationalist free thought, was born in Urla, the name of which is Klazomenai and then settled in Athens; has become the first to teach philosophy of natüre. Urla is a place where the Turks, Greeks and Jews lived side by side at one time and where the Yugoslav, Bulgarian, Albanian and Greek immigrants reşide today.
It’s a place where the green and blue engage, the air and soil are not dirty, and humanitairan values are not lost. The occupation of most of the local population is agriculture and fishery. Thus, it is the cradle of Aegean plants, fruits and vegetables. In addition to bazaar stalls that are set up on Saturday and Sunday by the producers coming from neighbor villages, the ‘’Women Producers Market’’ where only women open their stalls on Saturday, is the meeting point of all. If you come to Urla at the beginning of May, you should not miss the traditional Artichoke Fest.
It is essential to visit the wharf when you come to Urla. The fish restaurants beside the fishing boats not only have fresh fish, but also the most ambitious kitchens in Turkey, with aegean plants, rich appeziters, and the vines of Urla. This is a real ‘’Gusto’’ center.
ÇEŞMEALTI-URLA: Çeşmealtı has a lovely coastline where you can swim or surf in the blue flag sea. With its beaches, holiday resorts and restaurants, it is beaches, holiday resorts and restaurants, it is a lively holiday resort for the citizens of Izmir. You may also climb the Güvendik Hill, up on Çeşmealtı, before or after visiting he town as you wish. This is one of the most popular sights of the county. With its renovated country houses, Güvendik is an elegant holiday resort, which also hosts famous olive trees hat age around a thousand years. It is the only spot where you can watch the Gulf f Izmir among lush pinewoods.
MALGACA MARKET-URLA: ‘’Malgaca’’ Square is right at the center of Urla. It is claimed that the name, ‘’Malgaca’’ derived from the question ‘’Mal Kaça?’’ (i.e. ‘’how much does it cost’’) that had been frequently asked at the Marketplace set up here. Malgaca is also known as ‘’Arasta’’ and it is the symbol of Urla. It is still standing as if it is living in the good old days. In fact, it implies ‘’the place where craftsman that carry on the same business come together’’; it is a cultural center where peasants bring their products and meet with each other. Maintaining its authentic texture even today, Arasta or Malgaca Market, is the place where Urla’s heart beats with its groceries, butcher’s shops, coffee houses, glassware shops, clothiers and small restaurants.
STREET OF ARTS-URLA: ‘’Zafer Street’’ at the center of Urla is also known as the ‘’Street of Arts’’. The historical structures on the Street are renovated and transformed into art galleries. Music halls, and exclusive restaurants where you may taste local cuisine ad buy local products. On Saturdays, the Street hosts various artistic events and antiques market.
One of the most prominent structures on Zafer Street, on which stone mansions still maintan their exquisite beauty, is the Music Academy of Urla. The Academy, where young musiciansreceive Professional classical music training from World*renowned, virtuoso pedagogues, hosts globally known virtuosos, prestigious orchestras and music acadeies such as Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Academy of Music