Izmir, third biggest city of Turkey, called Pearl of the Aegean, has been planned in such a way that the chaotic environment of metropolises has been avoided. Izmir is located at the beginning of a long narrow gulf called Izmir Gulf which has a mild and sunny weather. It is a city which is famous for its lovely weather and beautiful girls.
According to the legend the name Smyrna drives from a mythological story. The wife of Cyprus King claimed that her daughter Smyrna was prettier than Aphrodite. To punish Aphrodite made her to fall in love with her father and one night when her father was drunk she went into his bed.
When Smyrna's father woke up he saw her and sent her away from the palace. He followed her to the countryside where he would kill her with his sword. However when he was about to kill her Aphrodite pitied Smyrna and made her turn into a myrtle tree. The King split the tree into two out of where Adonis was born.
The harbor of the city is the second biggest in Turkey. It is lively and cosmopolitan all year especially during International Art Festival in June/July and International Fair in August / September.
Izmir was founded in the 3rd millennium B.C. in Bayrakli. During that time it had the most advanced culture in Western Anatolia. In 1500 B.C. it was conquered by Hittite Empire. Izmir, with its ancient name Smyrna was one of the most important cities of the Ionian Federation in the 1st millennium B.C.
Homer is believed to live here. In 200 B.C. the city was conquered by the Lydians until the 4th century B.C. when the Persians got the control. The y built a new city in Kadifekale. From the first century B.C. to 1415 it was conquered by the Byzantines, Seljuks and at last by the Ottoman sultan Mehmet Celebi.
There are a few museums in Izmir. Archeological Museum of Izmir located in Konak Square which has the statues of Poseidon and Demeter. Next to the Archeological Museum there is Ethnography Museum which has the collection of folkloric artifacts, Bergama and Gordes carpets, traditional costumes and camel bridles.
The Ataturk Museum which is located on Ataturk Street has the collection of photographs of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his personal belongings. The Fine Arts Museum is located in Konak which has the collection of famous Turkish painters. The Selcuk Yasar Art Museum is on Cumhuriyet Boulevard which has the collection of 20th Century Turkish Art. There is also the Natural History Museum and Ege University Botanical Garden in Bornova.
A Temple which was dedicated to Athena was found in Bayrakli. There are the ruins of the castle in Kadifekale built by Lysimachus during the reign of
Alexander the Great. The Agora in the Namazgah Quarter was built during the reign of
Alexander the Great however the ruins are dating back to Marcus Aurelius who had it rebuilt after an earthquake in 178 A.D.
The Sirinyer and Yesildere Aqueducts are the two examples of Roman engineering. There are also the Saint Polycarp Church which symbolizes the Seven Churches of the Apolcalypse, the Saat Kulesi in Konak Square, Asansor quarter, Dario Moreno Sokagi, Havra Sokak in Kemeralti, Ataturk Monument in Cumhuriyet Meydani, Karsiyaka and Alsancak are worth seeing in Izmir with many restaurants, bars, cafes and discos. Some of the mosques which are worth visiting in Izmir are Hisar Mosque which was built in 16th century, Salepcioglu, Sadirvan, Kemeralti which are all located close to Kemeralti Quarter.
The well known park in Izmir is Kulturpark where the International Fair assembles. There are amusement park, zoo, restaurants, theatres, library and beautiful gardens. In Karsiyaka there is Adnan Saygun Park which contains an amphitheatre for concerts and performances, Open-Air Museum Park, Insan haklari (Human Rights) Park, Muammer Akso Park and Turgut Ozal Recretaion Park in Bayrakli.
One of the most important visiting place is Balcova where there is Turkey's largest thermal spas. There are hotels around which are suitable for thermalism. There are mud and herb baths, saunas, paraffin, skin care, massage, fitness center with experts who are specialized in rheumatism, waist and neck aches, orthopedics and neurology.
Camalti is located 15km away from Karsiyaka which is a preserved area for bird sanctuary of the Izmir Bird Paradise. There are many species like flamingoes and pelicans. The Seven Churches that were mentioned by St. John are all located around Izmir which are in Izmir, Ephesus, Eskihisar, Philadelphia, Sardis, Thyatira and Pergamum.