This ancient coastal city offers a laid-back sampling of Turkish culture.


One of the oldest settlements in the Mediterranean Basin, Izmir’s strategic position made it an important trade center for much of recorded history. Izmir was so important as a port that the entire Gediz River was redirected in the late 19th century to save the gulf from silting over. Despite the obvious pride taken in the city, it was all but razed to the ground during the Turkish War of Independence. Despite this tragedy, the port city has a laid-back atmosphere and plenty of hidden gems for history lovers. The ancient Agora, built by order Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and the Corinthian colonnade are eye-catching, but it’s the vaulted basilica basement chambers and cisterns that you don’t want to miss. Then there’s the 17th century Kemeralti market, a neighborhood with winding alleys and broad squares where you can get a bit of history while sampling local specialties.


Local time3:56 PM GMT+3
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