Official language: Turkish
Time zone: UTC +3
Currency: Turkish lira (TRY)
According to many legends, it was exactly in Izmir – or Smyrna at that time – where Homer was born. The first poet known by name, one of the greatest, the author of “Iliad” and “Odyssey”.
Smyrna was named as the second in the Bible’s Book of Revelation by St. John in the part dedicated to seven churches of Asia. It was the only city towards which apostle didn’t have any accusations.
The elevator is located in the old Jewish District, has more than 80 years and is 50 metres high. It connects two streets by being attached to rock situated beneath them.
Izmir – the city located in the western part of Turkey. It is the second, after Istanbul, trading port in the country and the third most populated city. Izmir’s history goes back in time at least 4000 years. For centuries it used to be one of the main trading city of the Mediterranean Sea. Up until 15th century, the city was named Smyrna; it changed its name to Izmir once it had become part of Osman Empire. What’s interesting, the new name of the city was diffused only in the 20th century.
Izmir definitely stands out among other Turkish cities in terms of openness to western countries and promoted by them habits or values. The city’s street fashion is more carefree, citizens are less orthodox, even architecture has some imprints of European style. If while being in Turkey, we would like to see its other face, Izmir is a perfect place to do so. One shouldn’t worry though that while visiting Izmir, he won’t taste a bit of magical orient. It is worth going to the city square, agora, whose history originated in ancient times and which served as a centre of political life.
Another important point on the touristic map of the city is Izmir’s symbol – a famous Clock Tower (Saat Kulesi) from the beginning of the 20th century. According to some legends, a clock from the tower never stopped, others believed it happened only once during an earthquake from 1974. The clock tower serves as a meeting point for citizens in the evenings and an object of admiration for tourists. In the early hours of the morning, it is worth taking a boat trip through port and marvel at architecture of the metropolis that is waking up.
The city has something to offer for those missing green spots, as it in its heart lies a huge park with astonishing, oriental flora. Keep in mind that you don’t have to visit Turkey only in summer. It is best to sightsee Izmir in spring, when temperature aren’t that high yet and scent of blooming flowers lingers in the air.