Izmir Highlights

Izmir was founded by the Greeks and Romans invaded and took over the city. Before the Ottoman Empire, the city was rebuilt by Alexander the Great. The rule of different dynasties can be seen in the culture, architecture and lifestyle of the city. Some buildings belong to the Ottoman Empire in 15th century and before that. It is located at the Aegean Coast of Turkey due to which the places have more enhanced beauty. The main archeological sites of Izmir are the Roman Agora of Smyrna that is converted into the open air museum and velvet castle or hilltop Kadifekale that belongs to Alexander’s reign. The city has a very relaxing feel and visitors sometimes spend long times in enjoying coffee and picturesque locations.

Zorhan Mokoele | TDO local expert from South Africa


By Sehrish Irfan

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The monumental city center of Izmir is the most prominent attraction and most of the trips start from it. Hillside residential neighborhoods, lively markets and tall commercial buildings make the city center more lively. It provides an amazing overview of the everyday life of locals of the city.

Agora grounds have the ruins of Roman and Greek marketplace that provides a wonderful historical importance of ancient Silk Road. This place is 2000 years old, and the archways on the lower floor are still intact and the fresh water fountains still runs with the same beauty. Agora is open every day from 8:30 to 7pm during summers and 8:30 to 5:30 pm during winters.

Ephesus was a huge stop of the Silk Road and one of the most popular places in the history. It welcomes crowds of almost 2 million locals and tourists of Izmir each year. It was the hub of trade during ancient times and people from all around the world used to stop to buy the stock of exotic spices and fruits. Turkish cloth makers also used to sell their handmade fabrics.

Sometimes people used to come just to enjoy the multicultural harmony of the city. The Celcus library in Ephesus city is the major example of the importance of knowledge and learning in Turkey because it is preserved with the double wall technique to preserve 12000 scrolls with many other important manuscripts and books. It remains open every day from 8am to 6:30 pm.

The central bazaar of Izmir is a very interesting place to enjoy the welcoming environment and interact with the shopkeepers who smile and shout to invite visitors to explore their products. They love to interact with the customers and chat about the things even if the visitor does not buy anything from them.

There is a huge variety of products including food, traditional Turkish dresses, candies, jewelry and many other things. Very interesting and tasty product is the Turkish delight. You can buy it in different colors and flavors. Kemaralti market opens every day from 8 am to 8 pm. You can spend a couple of hours in exploring this interesting place.

If you get curious about the lifestyle of locals and interact with them then the Bergama backstreets is the best place. This is like a small town where you can easily chit-chat with the locals and explore the lifestyle by wandering in the streets to find some hidden gems. Two or three hours are enough to explore the place and enjoy the modern local lifestyles.

The ancient Greek city belonging to the 2nd century AD is the town Pergamon Acropolis that overlooks the town of Bergama. You can visit this place after exploring Bergama. This is the unmissable place of the city because it has incredible attractions like Pergamon altar that is like the colossal with soaring pillars. It has the steepest ancient theater that hangs on the hillside in the direction facing Bergama. It is open every day from 8am to 5pm during winters and 8am to 7pm during summers.

Many people visit Izmir for this place because of the natural hot springs in the travertine terraces. They flow through the hillside by filling a pool where people can enjoy a warm bath in the natural waters. They can be reached by going through the ancient temples of Hierapolis and the narrow pathways through the Pamukkale. Visitors can enjoy the natural spa experience in the mineral pools like the ancient Romans. The pools remain open every time but the Hierapolis archeological museum opens at 9am to 7pm every day.

The narrow streets and old houses of the village is the architecture photographer’s dream. The shopkeepers of the town center are very friendly and welcoming. They love to chat and show off their products. This is like a story book town because as you roam inside the streets, you will see some elderly women calling each other from doorways wearing traditional dresses, baking of the breads in stone oven and cats on almost every surface. This small village worth a couple of days to enjoy and explore.

There are three separate buildings of the museum displaying different works of art made of stone, ceramics and artifacts. The artifacts belong to Izmir and the surrounding areas which are very well-preserved. There are different Greek statues and coins along with the artifacts.

The amazing coastline of Izmir is called Kordon that is a sea promenade. Being like a cord alongside the coast, it was named as the cordon by the locals. This is the perfect place for the people who love peace, joy, poetry, music and colorful moments. The place remains filled with locals and tourists. Sometimes there are live musicians who love to make the surroundings more interesting with their music. The best part of this place is its beautiful sun set that is very serene and romantic.

The display contains beautiful collection of pottery, pieces of clothing, dioramas, panels and photos from the Turkish history. It is located in the stone building that was once used as the hospital. The extensive ranges have many crafts, local arts, weaponry, jewelry and many more.