With an area of 814 578 km², Turkey is located at the intersection of the Old World Continents as Europe, Asia, and Africa. Its capital is Ankara. Turkey is surrounded by the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea with a coastline of 8333 km. It is governed with a secular and democratic parliamentary system. Members of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey are designated by elections. The cabinet government consists of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. Turkey is the founding member of the OECD and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, also a member of NATO, the Council of Europe and the Organization of İslamic Cooperation. Its history encompasses a period of ten thousand years. It was an intersection point of the Anatolian, Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian Cultures. As a result of this interaction, the unique Anatolian civilization was born which affected the ideas and mythologies of the Western World.
Coordinates: 38°26′ N 27°09′ E
Izmir (known as Smyrna in antiquity) is Turkey’s third most populated city and has the biggest harbor in the country after Istanbul. It is located at the coast of Gulf of İzmir in the Aegean Sea and consists of 9 metropolitan districts ( Balçova, Bornova, Buca, Çiğli, Gaziemir, Karşıyaka, Konak ve Narlıdere). According to 2012, its estimated population of the urban region is 4,005,459.
WHERE TO TRAVEL?
This tower in Konak Square which is another symbol of the city and worth painting was built with the aim of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the accession of Abdul Hamid II in 1901. The clock of the tower is a gift from the German emperor, Wilhelm II.
The Clock Tower is to be found in the entrance of the Kemeralti Market and is close to the ELEVATOR (details are below). Moreover, you can get to the central bus terminal by crossing the street. When you walk to the coast, you will get to the Konak Ferry Terminal, where you can get on the ferries going to Karşıyaka and Bostanlı.
The Library of Celsus in Ephesus
Ephesus is a historical city which is 3 km far from Selçuk, a southern district of İzmir. It was the most important harbor and culture center of the Eastern World both in the Hellenistic and Roman period. The ruins of the city preserve their magnificence.
The enchanting temples, public buildings, villages and streets of Ephesus were excavated and restored by the Austrian Archaeological Institute. Only a little imagination would be enough to see how magnificent the city was in its golden era.
The easiest way to visit Ephesus is to use the back entry because of the fact that this way is downhill and you can walk around without getting exhausted whole day.
The name of this district which is in the northern coast of the Gulf of Izmir comes indeed from its location at the opposite shore (“Karşıyaka” means “opposite shore” in Turkish). People living in this beautiful place, argue that Karşıyaka is different from the other parts of the city. According to them, it is a separate city having an independent culture and history.
Get on a ferry from Konak and go on a trip at the highway to the train station and drink tea at a nice cafe. You can get back to Basmane which is in the center of Izmir by using the train crossing shore of the Gulf.
This nostalgic shopping region of Izmir, consists of alleys from Anafartalar Street and around to the center of Konak. Here you can find jewelry stores, haberdashers, shoe store and special shops selling any kind of product ranging from leather to cheese and olives. The Atmosphere of old times continues with ancient buildings in the streets, doors and roofs unique to the 19th century.
This famous plain area which is between Konak Square and Alsancak is full of people taking a walk on weekends and evenings when the weather is fine. Here you can see families and couples walking along the shore, phaetons with colorful pompons on them and cars going on a trip. Besides, Kordon was subject to an old song: “My lover used to say, Let us meet on the Kordon one day, Perhaps at ten o’clock.”
It is the name of the dock, harbor between Konak and Cumhuriyet Square. The Pasaport Dock was constructed in 1876. The building of the dock bears traces of the Ottoman and Seljuk Architecture which were popular in 1920 and 1930s. There were old fashioned cafes and cafes where one could smoke Hubble-bubble just a short time ago but more modern cafes and bars have substituted them nowadays.
It is a unique quarter of modern Izmir. Pedestrians can walk easily in most parts of Agora which means there is no disturbing traffic for people who go shopping and on a trip in this region. There are modern buildings and interesting shops in the streets till the Alsancak Terminal. With its architecture based on the date of 1858, it is different from the rest of the city. Trains going to Buca, Aydın and Denizli take off from this station. Old places of the city are in the backstreets of Kordon.
With its unique character Alsancak is a circle in modern Izmir. Most areas in this circle are for pedestrians, therefore shoppers and travellers are not discomforted with traffic. Streets are full of modern buildings and striking stores till the Alsancak Terminal. With its architecture based on the date of 1858, it is different from the rest of the city. Trains going to Buca, Aydın and Denizli take off from this station. Old places of the city are in the backstreets of Kordon.
The church was built by English Levantines who lived in Buca in 1835. This church is famous because of its wood engraving, colorful windows and grand organ.
It is the city’s famous public elevator and another symbol of Izmir. The Elevator links Mithatpaşa Street with Halil Rıfat Street which are below and above it, respectively. This structure was built in 1907 and restored in 1933 by the municipality. The terrace above has a breathtaking view of the city and gulf, there is also a cafe, restaurant and a Geneva Tavern.
This natural area of springs is found in the foothills of Izmir on the way to Urla and Çeşme. In order to reach the thermal springs of Balçova you need to turn left from the Inciraltı Crossroad and go 1 km along this road. Also known with its ancient name “Agamemnon’s Spring”, this place might be the first hydrotherapy center of ancient times. Nowadays, it has modern facilities for people who want to visit luxurious hotels and thermal springs. The water temperature is 63 °C.
One of the most interesting places in Izmir which is worth to see is the Cable Car “Teleferik” (not open on Mondays). There is an area surrounded with pines where you can make barbecue and enjoy a great lake view in the park on the mountain peak. There are also markets, restaurants around and if you want to make barbecue, you can buy what is necessary such as meat, vegetables and bread from these markets. You will also be supplied with barbecue and charcoal by the park personnel. Please don’t bring any food from outside.
Moreover, in Balçova right where the bus stops are found, there is a fantastic municipal open-air pool.
Some old and protected buildings in Alsancak now provide service as restaurants and bars. In this region there are lots of good restaurants presenting the Turkish cuisine to the natives and their families.
In this region of Izmir there are streets with nostalgic stores, the park of the famous İzmir Fair which opens every September and Basmane Terminal. Trains to Manisa and Metro to Bornova and to many other places take off from here. The main train route to Ankara and İstanbul are also in Basmane.
Bornova is a district of Izmir which was the center of Levantine community in late 19th and 20th centuries. Today it hosts Ege University.
The road from Izmir to Manisa passes through Bornova and Bornova is with the train 7 km far from the city center. Here are many upper class houses with garden, cafes and bars for students.
Today Buca, previously a summer region of İzmir, has become a region of trade and university as part of the city. English merchants who ruled over Izmir in the late 18th century built magnificent mansions here. However, Buca went through a radical change in the late 1950s and various institutions settled in these mansions whose broad gardens were under protection. Furthermore, there is a racetrack which provides service only in winter.
WHAT TO EAT?
This legendary fish of İzmir, which is prevalent in the Aegean Sea and Mediterranean Sea and whose top is dark blue and sides are silver, is a delicious fish.
You can go to any fish restaurant in Izmir and order grilled sea bream along with salad that is prepared with local herbs and pure olive oil.
Lokma (Turkish donut) is a sweet pastry unique to.Izmir. Little balls of pastry are fried in hot oil and served after they are dipped in syrup. You can see people queued in front of stands which make Lokma.
Urla is a settlement 42 km far from Izmir on the road to Çeşme. Native people of Izmir spend the summer and weekends here in Klazomenai, a historical city of Ionia. Besides of being the birthplace of the famous philosopher, Anaxagoras, this city has lately been famous for its local pastry “katmer”.
MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION
Airport: İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport (232) 274 24 05
Bus: The Turkish bus system has a wide range and provides transportation to nearly everywhere and its fares are low. It would be enough to decide where to go and go to the bus terminal.
Urban Transportation: There are various public transport vehicles in Izmir such as public buses, minibuses, taxis and shared taxis (dolmuş).
Dolmuş (shared taxi): Shared taxis literally operate in a parallel way. It is a broad taxi, station wagon or minibus that has a specific route and goes, returns on this route. In most big public transport stops, there are also stops for dolmuş. The driver waits until the vehicle is full and then sets off. Passengers pay fares according to the distance they want to go and they can ask the driver to stop wherever and whenever they want to get off. As a very practical vehicle for public transport, dolmuş is cheaper than taxi. Fares are calculated by the municipality based on the distance.
Taxi: There are lots of taxis everywhere in Turkey and you can recognize them from their yellow color and the “taksi” sign above them. Every taxi has a taximeter and the starting fare is 2.30 TL, there is only one rate. Leaving a tip is not necessary but leaving the remainder or rounding the price is customary