- A Summer Complex full of History & Sun & Sea
it is considered an ideal point
of departure for excursions in a surrounding territory that has much to
offer. One of the most characteristic features of Izmir is its felicitous
geographical site, at the foot of the hill on which the fortress of Kadifekale
stands, facing out on an enchanting bay, with a natural backdrop of high
mountains which in antiquity were a valid bulwark against threatened aggressions
large and populous city (third largest in population after Istanbul and
Ankara) overlooking the Aegean coast is the heir to the ancient Smyrna.
In appearance it is basicaly modern, the result, in great part, of the
fire which destroyed most of the city in 1922. An active port of call for
shipping, second in importance only to that of Istanbul,
investigation carried out between the l 940s and 50s and begun again in
the middle of the 60s has born out the hypothesis that the first forms
of settlement on the soil of Smyrna were datable to the 3rd millennium
B.C. and could be located in what is known today as Bayrakli. Scholars
think the original nucleus of the city was coeval with the first levels
of the city of Troy and that Smyrna adopted some of the cultural and religious
models of Hittite civilization. Potsherds also document the presence of
a Hellenic settlement dating to the 10th century B.C. Devastated by the
Lydians around the 7th century B.C., the city was rebuilt in the second
half of the 4th century B.C., under the auspices of Alexander the Great.
part of the Realm of Pergamon, it was eventually included in the territories
controlled by Rome and was embellished with new majestic buildings. In
178 A.D. Smyrna was razed to the ground by an earthquake and reconstruction
was begun with the effective good offices of Marcus Aurelius. The Arab
raids in the 7th century marked the beginning of its decadence. Taken over
by the Seljuks (11th cent.) its vicissitudes varied at the time of the
Crusades and it was permanently taken over by the Ottoman dynasty in the
15th century. A flourishing commercial center, it attracted European traders
over a long period of time, survived repeated catastrophic earthquakes
which struck once more in the 17th and 18th centuries.
the end of World War I Smyrna was entrusted to Greek control, from which
it was released by the victorious progression of the struggle for national
liberation under Ataturk.
scanty remains of the Agora however attest to the city's great past;
apparently it was built during the Hellenistic period, even if what is
to be seen today certainly dates to a reconstruction promoted by Faustina,
Marcus Aurelius' wife, right after the devastating earthquake of 178 A.D.
Various statues of the Roman period are particularly interesting. Partially
mutilated, they represent Neptune, Ceres and Diana. Another element of
particular interest to the tourist is the so-called Kadifekale. This fortress,
whose name is the equivalent in English of "velvet fortress", dominates
the city from what in antiquity was known as Mount Pagus. Its appearance
today is that of a structure readapted in Byzantine times even if its origins
doubtless go back to before the period of Roman colonization.
The Archaeological Museums
of the city contain many interesting finds, which came to light in the
course of excavations in various archaeological zones of western Anatolia.
Of particular note is a headless statue of a woman from Erythrai, and dating
to the 6th century B.C. Other documentation includes examples of archaic
sculpture (second half of the 6th cent. B.C.), expressions of Hellenistic
art, Roman and Byzantine sculpture, as well as good example of sculpture
from Ephesus (2nd cent. A.D.).
the list of other cultural attractions in Izmir, mention should be made
of the Kultur Parki, seat of the annual international fair, the Bazaar,
which displays the characteristic craft objects, the Hisar and Kemeralti
Mosques (16th cent.), the caravanserai of Kizlaragasi and the so-called
Clock Tower, with its fine architectural details, situated near the Yahli
Camii (18th cent.).
DESTINY OF ANATOLIA