Theme Week Turkey – İzmir on the Aegean Sea

Friday, 23 May 2014 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Union for the Mediterranean
Reading Time:  6 minutes

İzmir Coastline © flickr.com - Yılmaz Uğurlu/cc-by-sa-2.0

İzmir Coastline © flickr.com – Yılmaz Uğurlu/cc-by-sa-2.0

İzmir is a large metropolis in the western extremity of Anatolia and the third most populous city in Turkey, after Istanbul and Ankara. İzmir’s metropolitan area extends along the outlying waters of the Gulf of İzmir and inland to the north across Gediz River‘s delta, to the east along an alluvial plain created by several small streams and to a slightly more rugged terrain in the south. The ancient city was known as Smyrna, and the city was generally referred to as Smyrna in English, until the Turkish Postal Service Law of 28 March 1930 made “İzmir” the internationally recognized name. İzmir has almost 3,500 years of recorded urban history and possibly even longer as an advanced human settlement. Lying on an advantageous location at the head of a gulf running down in a deep indentation midway on the western Anatolian coast, the city has been one of the principal mercantile cities of the Mediterranean Sea for much of its history. Its port is Turkey’s primary port for exports in terms of the freight handled and its free zone, a Turkish-U.S. joint-venture established in 1990, is the leader among the twenty in Turkey.

The city of İzmir is composed of several metropolitan districts. Of these, Konak district corresponds to historical İzmir, this district’s area having constituted the “İzmir Municipality” area until 1984, Konak until then having been a name for a central neighborhood around Konak Square, still the core of the city. With the constitution of the “Greater İzmir Metropolitan Municipality”, the city of İzmir became a compound bringing together initially nine, and more recently eleven metropolitan districts, namely Balçova, Bayraklı, Bornova, Buca, Çiğli, Gaziemir, Güzelbahçe, Karabağlar, Karşıyaka, Konak and Narlıdere. Almost all of these settlements are former district centers or neighborhoods which stood on their own, with their own distinct features and temperament. In an ongoing processus, the Mayor of İzmir was also vested with authority over the areas of additional districts reaching from Aliağa in the north to Selçuk in the south, bringing the number of districts to be considered as being part of İzmir to twenty-one under the new arrangements, two of these having been administratively included in İzmir only partially.

İzmir Bay © Enderender Forum Bornova Shopping Center © Enderender City Hall and İzmir Clock Tower on Konak Square © Sailko/cc-by-sa-3.0 Central İzmir © TARIK GANDUR/cc-by-sa-3.0 Konak Pier, designed by Gustave Eiffel © Enderender İzmir Coastline © flickr.com - Yılmaz Uğurlu/cc-by-sa-2.0
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City Hall and İzmir Clock Tower on Konak Square © Sailko/cc-by-sa-3.0
One of the more prominent elements of İzmir’s harbor is the Clock Tower, a beautiful marble tower that rests in the middle of the Konak district, standing 25 m (82 ft) in height. It was designed by Levantine French architect Raymond Charles Père in 1901 for the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the ascension of Abdülhamid II to the Ottoman throne in 1876. The clock workings themselves were given as a gift by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, a political ally of Abdülhamid II. The tower features four fountains which are placed around the base in a circular pattern, and the columns are inspired by North African themes.

The Kemeraltı bazaar zone set up by the Ottomans, combined with the Agora, rests near the slopes of Kadifekale. İzmir has had three castles historically – Kadifekale (Pagos), the portuary Ok Kalesi (Neon Kastron, St. Peter), and Sancakkale, which remained vital to İzmir’s security for centuries. Sancakkale is situated in the present-day İnciraltı quarter between the Balçova and Narlıdere districts, on the southern shore of the Gulf of İzmir. It is at a key point where the strait allows entry into the innermost tip of the Gulf at its narrowest, and due to shallow waters through a large part of this strait, ships have sailed close to the castle. Until about 1909 what was then called Smyra was a port city and most important trading center in Anatolia and was one of the richest, most important and most cosmopolitan cities on the Mediterranean. With the seizure of power by the Young Turks and the incipient Turkification (expropriation and expulsion of almost all non-Turks, who until then had made up well over 40% of the city’s residents; Armenian genocide etc.) this changed suddenly. The city lost its importance massively and was never able to recover from the shock. In 1928 the name was finally changed.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on City of Izmir, Wikitravel Izmir and Wikipedia Izmir. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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