One Day In Izmir

12:28:00 AM Brooke Neal 2 Comments

The modern city of Izmir is the ancient city of Smyrna, and as Izmir is one of Turkey's largest cities, very little of the ancient city has been excavated. Although you can see piles of rubble around town, only the Agora (and a small part at that) has had any excavation and restoration work done. Smyrna has been occupied since the Golden Age of Greece and it is believed Homer lived in this once important port city.

Smyrna is mentioned in the Bible...the Book of Revelation. There was a large Christian following and one of the Seven Churches is located here. In the Book of Revelation John talks about 7 Churches. They are literal churches, but also have spiritual meaning. All seven are in Turkey and we visited three (honestly, that was by happy accident. I didn't know anything about the 7 churches until I came home and read up on them). Apparently the Christians faced strong opposition from Jews here and a disciple of Christ was martyred here.

Close up of a decorative panel. This tulip design is common to the Ottoman Era.
The Details
Hotel Baylan Basmane
Address: 1299 Sokak No.8 Basmane, 35240 Izmir 
Parking: Onsite, free and secure
Breakfast included.  This was one of the nicer hotels we've stayed in. The outside wasn't much to look at, but the room was perfectly clean, a basket of fruit greeted us and the breakfast buffet was very good.   
Tip:  The only real reason to stop in Izmir is if you want to see Ephesus or Pergamon.  We wanted to see both, so we flew from Istanbul to Izmir then rented a car and drove to the sites.  Driving in Izmir and in the countryside was no problem.  We felt safe and the GPS guided us well. 

This hill side is covered in Ottoman Era artifacts
With only one day to see Izmir, and honestly that was enough, we visited the Ancient Agora, the Archaeology Museum and walked the city center and market.  As with most big cities, be smart, keep your money close and women shouldn't go out alone.   

Ancient Agora
Address: İki Çeşmelik Mah., 816 Sk No:16, Konak Merkez/Izmir Province, Turkey
Cost: 2TL
Hours: 8am-5pm
Time:  45 minutes


This Roman Era archway is actually the basement level of the Agora above.
Water source still running. Supposedly, you can drink the water, but we didn't take the chance.
Now defunct Roman Era water pipe.
Here you can see the massive under works supporting the public area above. Excavations are on going and part of the site was blocked off. I tried my best to sweet talk a security guard into taking me beyond the chained off area, but he would not be swayed by my sweet disposition.
From the Agora we went downtown to check out the market.  It isn't as fun or exotic as the Bazaar in Istanbul as it really is for the citizens.  
This cheery man was roasting nuts (which we bought, tried and only Eden liked) on this tray and selling them by the kilo. I convinced him to give me one euro worth because we just wanted a few to try. I thought they were hazel nuts, but they didn't taste like hazel, so I am unsure what kind of nut they were.
An elderly women was selling bird seed hence the large crowd of birds. At one point the entire flock took flight and flew two low circles around the plaza. I just knew we were going to get pooped on, but we didn't.

Close up of the clock tower which has a wash basin for call to prayer.

Next we went to the Archaeology Museum. 
AddressSouth of Konak Sq. in Bahri Baba Park (main entrance up the hill from Konak Sq.)
Cost: 5TL 
Hours: 8am-5pm Tues-Sun
Time: 30-45 minutes
These pieces are all from the Izmir museum. The statue above of two women, I am calling "sisters". It is my new all time favorite, okay may be not all time, but I really, really like this one. In person you can see the one has her arms around the other. When I look at this I think of my sister and myself. Maybe it's the thighs, maybe it's the closeness, the familiarity. It would be great if some computer savvy person out there could photo shop our heads onto the statue.

Decoration on the top of a Greek era casket.

Priest

We ate really well in Turkey from the street vendor sandwiches to the fresh pressed pomegranate juice. Everyone was able to eat and be happy. 

Kofte is a traditional meal served just about everywhere in Turkey. It is ground beef and ???. It was Bob's favorite.
Kebap meat with rice and bread
This was really good chicken that I didn't take a picture of before eating it up.
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