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Clockwise from top: View of İzmir at night from Narlıdere, Gündoğdu Square, aerial view of İzmir in the evening, outlook from Asansör in Karataş, Gulf of İzmir viewed from Kadifekale, Karşıyaka, and İzmir Clock Tower in Konak Square
Emblem of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality
Pearl of the Aegean
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Location in Turkey
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İzmir (Europe)
Coordinates: 38°25′N27°08′E / 38.42°N 27.14°E / 38.42; 27.14 Coordinates: 38°25′N27°08′E / 38.42°N 27.14°E / 38.42; 27.14
Country Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey
Region Aegean
Province İzmir
Establishedc. 6500 BC (Yeşilova Mound in Bornova district)

c. 11th century BC (as ancient Smyrna)
Capital town Konak (de facto; Turkish metropolises have no official capital towns)
   Mayor Tunç Soyer
   Metropolitan municipality 7,340 km2 (2,830 sq mi)
893.13 km2 (344.84 sq mi)
2 m (7 ft)
 (2018) [1] [2] [3]
   Metropolitan municipality 4,320,519
  Urban density4,630/km2 (12,000/sq mi)
  Metro density360/km2 (900/sq mi)
Demonym(s) English: Smyrniot
Turkish: İzmirli
Time zone UTC+3 (TRT)
Postal code
Area code(s) (+90) 232
Licence plate 35
Website www.izmir.bel.tr

İzmir ( UK: /ˈɪzmɪər/ IZ-meer, US: /ɪzˈmɪər/ iz-MEER, Turkish:  [ˈizmiɾ] ), often spelled Izmir in English, is a metropolitan city in the western extremity of Anatolia. It is the third most populous city in Turkey, after Istanbul and Ankara, and the second largest metropolitan area on the Aegean Sea after Athens, Greece. In 2018, the city of İzmir had a population of 2,947,000, while İzmir Province had a total population of 4,320,519. [1] [2] İzmir's metropolitan area extends along the outlying waters of the Gulf of İzmir and inland to the north across the Gediz River delta; to the east along an alluvial plain created by several small streams; and to slightly more rugged terrain in the south. [4]

British English is the standard dialect of English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".

American English Set of dialects of the English language spoken in the United States

American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. American English is considered one of the most influential dialects of English globally, including on other varieties of English.


In classical antiquity the city was known as Smyrna ( /ˈsmɜːrnə/ SMUR-nə), a name which remained in use in English and other foreign languages until the Turkish Postal Service Law (Posta Hizmet Kanunu) of 28 March 1930 came into effect, which sought to make the Turkish name İzmir the internationally recognized name of the city in most languages. However, the historic name Smyrna is still used today in some languages, such as Greek (Σμύρνη, Smýrnē), Armenian (Զմյուռնիա, Zmyurnia), Italian (Smirne), and Spanish (Esmirna). İzmir and Smyrna have more than 3,000 years of recorded urban history, and up to 8,500 years of history as a human settlement since the Neolithic period. Lying on an advantageous location at the head of a gulf running down in a deep indentation, midway along the western Anatolian coast, it has been one of the principal mercantile cities of the Mediterranean Sea for much of its history. İzmir hosted the Mediterranean Games in 1971 and the World University Games (Universiade) in 2005.

Classical antiquity Age of the ancient Greeks and Romans

Classical antiquity is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome known as the Greco-Roman world. It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.

Smyrna ancient city on the Aegean coast of Turkey

Smyrna was a Greek city founded in antiquity located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. Since 1930, the modern city located there has been known as İzmir, in Turkey, the Turkish rendering of the same name. Due to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defense and its good inland connections, Smyrna rose to prominence. Two sites of the ancient city are today within the boundaries of İzmir. The first site, probably founded by indigenous peoples, rose to prominence during the Archaic Period as one of the principal ancient Greek settlements in western Anatolia. The second, whose foundation is associated with Alexander the Great, reached metropolitan proportions during the period of the Roman Empire. Most of the present-day remains of the ancient city date from the Roman era, the majority from after a 2nd-century AD earthquake.

Turkish language Turkic language mainly spoken and used in Turkey

Turkish, also referred to as Istanbul Turkish, and sometimes known as Turkey Turkish, is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with around ten to fifteen million native speakers in Southeast Europe and sixty to sixty-five million native speakers in Western Asia. Outside Turkey, significant smaller groups of speakers exist in Germany, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia. Cyprus has requested that the European Union add Turkish as an official language, even though Turkey is not a member state.

The city of İzmir is composed of several metropolitan districts. Of these, the district of Konak corresponds to historical İzmir, with this district's area having constituted the city's central "İzmir Municipality" (Turkish: İzmir Belediyesi) until 1984. With the formation of the "İzmir Metropolitan Municipality" (Turkish: İzmir Büyükşehir Belediyesi), the city of İzmir grouped together its eleven (initially nine) urban districts – namely Balçova, Bayraklı, Bornova, Buca, Çiğli, Gaziemir, Güzelbahçe, Karabağlar, Karşıyaka, Konak, and Narlıdere – and consolidated them with the province's additional districts outside the city proper, extending from Bergama in the north to Selçuk in the south, bringing the total number of districts considered part of İzmir's metropolitan area to thirty.

İzmir Province Province of Turkey in Aegean

İzmir Province is a province and metropolitan municipality of Turkey in western Anatolia, situated along the Aegean coast. Its capital is the city of İzmir, which is in itself composed of the province's central 11 districts out of 30 in total. To the west, it is surrounded by the Aegean Sea, and it encloses the Gulf of Izmir. Its area is 11,973 square kilometres, with a population of 4,279,677 in 2017. The population was 3,370,866 in 2000. Neighboring provinces are Balıkesir to the north, Manisa to the east, and Aydın to the south. The traffic code of the province is 35.

Konak, İzmir Metropolitan in Aegean, Turkey

Konak is a district of İzmir Province in Turkey. It is the most densely populated of the eleven main urban districts of İzmir, and has historically acted as the administrative and economic core of the city. Situated in an area that roughly corresponds to the geographic center of İzmir, Konak extends for 11.4 kilometres along the southern coastline of the Gulf of İzmir. A long panhandle that the district area draws in the direction of the southwest, on the other hand, also covers a large rural area, mostly covered with mountains and forests, and two isolated villages. Konak district area neighbors the district areas of Bornova to the east, Balçova to the west and Buca and Gaziemir to the south, all of which are also among İzmir's metropolitan districts. Konak center is connected to other districts of İzmir and beyond by a dense network of roads and railroads, as well as by a subway line currently being largely extended and by ferry services to Karşıyaka. Konak is a very active hub of industry, trade, commerce and services, with the number of companies exceeding sixty thousand and its exports nearing two billion US Dollars in 2006.

Urban district may refer to:

Main features

İzmir has more than 3000 years of recorded urban history and up to 8500 years of history as a human settlement since the Neolithic period. Set in an advantageous location at the head of a gulf in a deep indentation midway along the western Anatolian coast, the city has been one of the principal mercantile cities of the Mediterranean Sea for much of its history. Modern İzmir also incorporates the nearby ancient cities of Ephesus, Pergamon, Sardis and Klazomenai, and centers of international tourism such as Kuşadası, Çeşme, Mordoğan and Foça. When the Ottomans took over İzmir in the 15th century, they did not inherit compelling historical memories, unlike the two other key points of the trade network, namely Istanbul and Aleppo. The emergence of İzmir as a major international port by the 17th century was largely a result of the attraction it exercised over foreigners, and the city's European orientation. [5] Politically, İzmir is considered a stronghold of Kemalism and the Republican People's Party.

Yeşilova Höyük is a höyük (mound) in the Bornova district of İzmir, Turkey, and is the oldest known prehistoric human settlement in the area of İzmir. It was occupied continuously from roughly 6500 to 4000 BCE, and was covered with silt afterwards.

The Neolithic, the final division of the Stone Age, began about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of farming appeared in the Epipalaeolithic Near East, and later in other parts of the world. The division lasted until the transitional period of the Chalcolithic from about 6,500 years ago, marked by the development of metallurgy, leading up to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. In Northern Europe, the Neolithic lasted until about 1700 BC, while in China it extended until 1200 BC. Other parts of the world remained broadly in the Neolithic stage of development until European contact.

Mediterranean Sea Sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean between Europe, Africa and Asia

The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa and on the east by the Levant. Although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, it is usually referred to as a separate body of water. Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was partly or completely desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago.

Izmir's 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 workforce, and particularly its rising class of young professionals, is concentrated either in the city or in its immediate vicinity (such as in Manisa and Turgutlu), and as either larger companies or SMEs, affirm their names with an increasingly wider global scale and intensity. [6]

Free economic zone area of a country where companies are very lightly taxed

Free economic zones (FEZ), free economic territories (FETs) or free zones (FZ) are a class of special economic zone (SEZ) designated by the trade and commerce administrations of various countries. The term is used to designate areas in which companies are taxed very lightly or not at all to encourage economic activity. The taxation rules are determined by each country. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM) has content on the conditions and benefits of free zones.

Manisa metropolitan municipality in Manisa Province, Aegean Region, Turkey

Manisa is a large city in Turkey's Aegean Region and the administrative seat of Manisa Province.

Turgutlu District in Aegean, Turkey

Turgutlu, also known as Kasaba is a city and district in Manisa Province in the Aegean region of Turkey. According to 2009 census, its district population is 140,753; 115,930 live in the city itself. The district covers an area of 473 km2 (183 sq mi) at an elevation of 68 m (223 ft). The district is the most populous after the provincial center of Manisa and the second most populous district center, in Turkey's Aegean Region.

İzmir hosted the Mediterranean Games in 1971 and the World University Games (Universiade) in 2005. In March 2008, İzmir submitted its bid to the BIE for hosting the Universal Expo 2015, but it was won by Milan, Italy.

Mediterranean Games sporting event

The Mediterranean Games is a multi-sport games held usually every four years, between nations around or very close to the Mediterranean Sea, where Europe, Africa, and Asia meet. The games are under the auspices of the International Committee of Mediterranean Games (CIJM).

Universiade recurring international multi-sport event, organized for university athletes by the International University Sports Federation (FISU)

The Universiade is an international multi-sport event, organized for university athletes by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The name is a combination of the words "University" and "Olympiad". The Universiade is referred to in English as the World University Games or World Student Games; however, this latter term can also refer to competitions for sub-University grades students. The Universiade is the largest multi-sport event in the world apart from the Olympic Games. The most recent games were in 2019: the Winter Universiade was in Krasnoyarsk, Russia while the Summer Universiade was held in Naples, Italy. The 2021 Winter Universiade will take place in Lucerne, Switzerland, between 21 and 31 January 2021, and the 2021 Summer Universiade will be held in Chengdu, China between 8 and 19 August 2021.

Bureau International des Expositions Organization to supervise international exhibitions

The Bureau international des expositions (BIE) is an intergovernmental organization created to supervise international exhibitions falling under the jurisdiction of the Convention Relating to International Exhibitions.

Panorama of Izmir Izmir panorama from Kadifekale.jpg
Panorama of İzmir

Names and etymology

A view of central Izmir Izmir Turkey.jpg
A view of central İzmir

The modern name İzmir is the Turkish rendering of the original Greek name Smyrna and "Smyrne" (Σμύρνη), since the city was founded by Greeks. In medieval times, Westerners used forms like Smire, Zmirra, Esmira, Ismira, which was rendered as İzmir into Turkish, originally written as ايزمير with the Ottoman Turkish alphabet. [7]

In ancient Anatolia, the name of a locality called Ti-smurna is mentioned in some of the Level II tablets from the Assyrian colony in Kültepe (first half of the 2nd millennium BC), with the prefix ti- identifying a proper name, although it is not established with certainty that this name refers to modern-day İzmir. [8]

The region of İzmir was situated on the southern fringes of the Yortan culture in Anatolia's prehistory, knowledge of which is almost entirely drawn from its cemeteries. [9] In the second half of the 2nd millennium BC, it was in the western end of the extension of the still largely obscure Arzawa Kingdom, an offshoot and usually a dependency of the Hittites, who themselves spread their direct rule as far as the coast during their Great Kingdom. That the realm of the 13th century BC local Luwian ruler, who is depicted in the Kemalpaşa Karabel rock carving at a distance of only 50 km (31 mi) from İzmir was called the Kingdom of Myra may also leave grounds for association with the city's name. [10]

The latest known rendering in Greek of the city's name is the Aeolic Greek ΜύρραMýrrha, corresponding to the later Ionian and Attic Σμύρνα (Smýrna) or Σμύρνη (Smýrnē), both presumably descendants of a Proto-Greek form *Smúrnā. Some would see in the city's name a reference to the name of an Amazon called Smyrna said to have seduced Theseus, leading him to name the city in her honor. [11] Others link the name to the Myrrha commifera shrub, a plant producing the aromatic resin called myrrh that is indigenous to the Middle East and northeastern Africa, which was the city's chief export in antiquity. [12] The Romans took over this name as Smyrna, which is still the name used in English when referring to the city in pre-Turkish times. In Ottoman Turkish the town's name was ايزميرIzmīr.

In English, the city was called Smyrna into the 20th century. Izmir (sometimes İzmir) was adopted in English and most foreign languages after Turkey adopted the Latin alphabet in 1928 and urged other countries to use the city's Turkish name. [13]


Ancient times

Karabel rock-carving of the Luwian local leader "Tarkasnawa, King of Myra" is near Kemalpasa, a few kilometres to the east of Izmir. NejdetDuzen KarabelHittiteLuwianMonumentCarvedinRockKemalpasaTurkey.jpg
Karabel rock-carving of the Luwian local leader "Tarkasnawa, King of Myra" is near Kemalpaşa, a few kilometres to the east of İzmir.

The city is one of the oldest settlements of the Mediterranean basin. The 2004 discovery of Yeşilova Höyük and the neighboring Yassıtepe, in the small delta of Meles River, now the Bornova plain, reset the starting date of the city's past further back than previously thought. Findings from two seasons of excavations carried out in the Yeşilova Höyük by a team of archaeologists from İzmir's Ege University indicate three levels, two of which are prehistoric. Level 2 bears traces of early to mid-Chalcolithic, and Level 3 of Neolithic settlements. These two levels would have been inhabited by the indigenous peoples of the area, very roughly, between 7th millennium BC to 4th millennium BC. As the seashore receded with time, the site was later used as a cemetery. Several graves containing artifacts dating roughly from 3000 BC, and contemporary with the first city of Troy, were found. [14]

The first settlement to have commanded the Gulf of İzmir as a whole was established on top of Mount Yamanlar, to the northeast of the inner gulf. In connection with the silt brought by the streams which join the sea along the coastline, the settlement to form later the core of "Old Smyrna" was founded on the slopes of the same mountain, on a hill (then a small peninsula connected to the mainland by a small isthmus ) in the present-day quarter of Bayraklı. The Bayraklı settlement is thought to have stretched back in time as far as the 3rd millennium BC.[ citation needed ] Archaeological findings of the late Bronze Age show a certain decree of Mycenaean influence in the settlement and the surrounding region, though further excavations of Bronze Age layers are needed to propose Old Smyrna of that time as a Mycenaean settlement. [15] In the 13th century BC, however, invasions from the Balkans (the so-called sea people) destroyed Troy VII, and Central and Western Anatolia as a whole fell into what is generally called the period of "Anatolian" and "Greek" Dark Ages of the Bronze Age collapse.

Old Smyrna

Nearby ancient site of Klazomenai in Urla, slightly outside Izmir urban zone, is associated with some of the oldest known records of trade in olive oil. Klazomenai.jpg
Nearby ancient site of Klazomenai in Urla, slightly outside İzmir urban zone, is associated with some of the oldest known records of trade in olive oil.

At the dawn of İzmir's recorded history, Pausanias describes "evident tokens" such as "a port called after the name of Tantalus and a sepulchre of him by no means obscure", corresponding to the city's area and which have been tentatively located to date. [16] The term "Old Smyrna" is used to describe the Archaic Period city located at Tepekule, Bayraklı, to make a distinction with the city of Smyrna rebuilt later on the slopes of Mount Pagos (present-day Kadifekale). The Greek settlement in Old Smyrna is attested by the presence of pottery dating from about 1000 BC onwards. The most ancient ruins preserved to our times date back to 725–700 BC. According to Herodotus the city was founded by Aeolians and later seized by Ionians. [17] The oldest house discovered in Bayraklı has been dated to 925 and 900 BC. The walls of this well-preserved house (2.45 by 4 metres or 8.0 by 13.1 feet), consisting of one small room typical of the Iron Age, were made of sun-dried bricks and the roof of the house was made of reeds. [ citation needed ] The oldest model of a multiple-roomed house of this period was found in Old Smyrna. Known to be the oldest house having so many rooms under its roof, it was built in the second half of the 7th century BC. The house has two floors and five rooms with a courtyard. Around that time, people started to build thick, protective ramparts made of sun-dried bricks around the city. Smyrna was built on the Hippodamian system, in which streets run north-south and east-west and intersect at right angles, in a pattern familiar in the Near East but the earliest example in a western city. The houses all faced south. The most ancient paved streets in the Ionian civilization have also been discovered in ancient Smyrna. [ citation needed ]

Entry of the castle walls in Kadifekale (ancient Pagos) Kadifekale IzmirTurkey EUnluBlogspot.jpg
Entry of the castle walls in Kadifekale (ancient Pagos)

Homer, referred to as Melesigenes meaning "Child of the Meles Brook", is said to have been born in Smyrna in the 7th or 8th century BC. Combined with written evidence, it is generally admitted that Smyrna and Chios put forth the strongest arguments in claiming Homer and the main belief is that he was born in Ionia. A River Meles, still bearing the same name, is located within the city limits, although associations with the Homeric river is subject to controversy.

From the 7th century onwards, Smyrna achieved the identity of a city-state. About a thousand people lived inside the city walls, with others living in nearby villages, where fields, olive trees, vineyards, and the workshops of potters and stonecutters were located. People generally made their living from agriculture and fishing. The most important sanctuary of Old Smyrna was the Temple of Athena, which dates back to 640–580 BC and is partially restored today. Smyrna, by this point, was no longer a small town, but an urban center taking part in the Mediterranean trade. The city eventually became one of the twelve Ionian cities and was well on its way to becoming a foremost cultural and commercial center in the Mediterranean basin of that period, reaching its peak between 650–545 BC. [ citation needed ]

Lydian rule

The city's port position near their capital drew the Lydians to Smyrna. The army of Lydia's Mermnad dynasty conquered the city some time around 610–600 BC [18] and is reported to have burned and destroyed parts of the city, although recent analyses on the remains in Bayraklı demonstrate that the temple has been in continuous use or was very quickly repaired under Lydian rule.

Persian rule

Soon afterwards, an invasion from outside Anatolia by the Persian Empire effectively ended Old Smyrna's history as an urban center of note. The Persian emperor Cyrus the Great attacked the coastal cities of the Aegean after conquering the capital of Lydia. As a result, Old Smyrna was destroyed in 545 BC.

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great re-founded the city at a new location beyond the Meles River around 340 BC. Alexander had defeated the Persians in several battles and finally the Emperor Darius III himself at Issus in 333 BC. Old Smyrna on a small hill by the sea was large enough only for a few thousand people. Therefore, the slopes of Mount Pagos (Kadifekale) was chosen for the foundation of the new city, for which Alexander is credited, and this act lay the ground for a resurgence in the city's population.

Roman rule

Agora of Smyrna Izmir023.jpg
Agora of Smyrna
Agora of Smyrna Izmir016.jpg
Agora of Smyrna

In 133 BC, Eumenes III, the last king of the Attalid dynasty of Pergamum, was about to die without an heir. In his will, he bequeathed his kingdom to the Roman Republic, and this included Smyrna. The city thus came under Roman rule as a civil diocese within the Province of Asia and enjoyed a new period of prosperity. Towards the close of the 1st century AD, when Smyrna appeared as one of the seven churches of Asia addressed in the Book of Revelation, Smyrna had a Christian congregation undergoing persecution from the city's Jews (Revelation 2:9). In contrast to several of the other churches, Apostle John had nothing negative to say about this church. He did, however, predict that the persecution would continue and urged them, "Be faithful to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10). The persecution of Christians continued into the 2nd century, as documented by the martyrdom of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, in AD 155.

Given the importance the city had achieved, the Roman emperors who came to Anatolia also visited Smyrna. In early AD 124, Emperor Hadrian visited Smyrna on his journeys across the Empire [19] and possibly Caracalla came in 214–215. Smyrna was a fine city with stone-paved streets.

In AD 178, the city was devastated by an earthquake. Considered to be one of the greatest disasters the city has faced in its history, the earthquake razed the town to the ground. The destruction was so great that the support of the Empire for rebuilding was necessary. Emperor Marcus Aurelius contributed greatly to the rebuilding and the city was re-founded again. During this period the state agora was restored. Many of the works of architecture from the city's pre-Turkish period date from this period.

After the Roman Empire was divided into two distinct entities, Smyrna became a territory of the Eastern Roman Empire. The city kept its status as a notable religious center in the early times of the Byzantine Empire. However, the city did decrease in size greatly during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, never returning to the Roman levels of prosperity.

Medieval period

The Turks first captured Smyrna under the Seljuk commander Çaka Bey in 1076, along with Klazomenai, Foça and a number of the Aegean Islands. Çaka Bey (known as Tzachas among the Byzantines) used İzmir as a base for his naval operations. After his death in 1102, the city and the neighboring region was recaptured by the Byzantine Empire. The port city was then captured by the Knights of St John when Constantinople was conquered by the Crusaders during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, but the Nicaean Empire would reclaim possession of the city soon afterwards, albeit by according vast concessions to their Genoese allies who kept one of the city's castles. [20] [ citation needed ]

Smyrna was captured again by the Turks in the early 14th century. Umur Bey, the son of the founder of the Beylik of Aydın, took first the upper fort of Mount Pagos (thereafter called Kadifekale), and then the lower port castle of Neon Kastron (called St. Peter by the Genoese and as "Ok Kalesi" by the Turks). As Tzachas had done two centuries before, Umur Bey used the city as a base for naval raids. In 1344, a coalition of forces coordinated by Pope Clement VI took back the lower castle in a surprise attack in the Smyrniote crusades. A sixty-year period of uneasy cohabitation between the two powers, the Turks holding the upper castle and the Knights the lower, followed Umur Bey's death.

Ottoman rule

Hisar Mosque (1592-1598) in the Kemeralti neighbourhood of Izmir. Hisar Camii.jpg
Hisar Mosque (1592–1598) in the Kemeraltı neighbourhood of İzmir.
Konak Square in 1865 KonakSquare IzmirTurkey 1865.jpg
Konak Square in 1865
The port of Izmir, from an 1883 encyclopedia. Izmir1883.jpg
The port of İzmir, from an 1883 encyclopedia.

The upper city of İzmir was captured from its Aydinid rulers by the Ottomans for the first time in 1389 during the reign of Bayezid I, who led his armies toward the five Western Anatolian Beyliks in the winter of the same year he had come to the throne. In 1402, however, Timur (Tamerlane) won the Battle of Ankara against the Ottomans, putting a serious check on the Ottoman state for the two following decades and handing back the territories of most of the Beyliks to their former ruling dynasties. Timur attacked and destroyed Smyrna and was responsible for the massacre of most of the Christian population, which constituted the vast majority in Smyrna. [21] [22] In 1415, Mehmet I took back İzmir for the Ottomans for the second time. With the death of the last bey of Aydın, İzmiroğlu Cüneyd Bey, in 1426 the city passed fully under Ottoman control. İzmir's first Ottoman governor was Alexander, a converted son of the Bulgarian Shishman dynasty. During the campaigns against Cüneyd, the Ottomans were assisted by the forces of the Knights Hospitaller who pressed the Sultan to return the port castle to them. However, the sultan refused to make this concession, despite the resulting tensions between the two camps, and he gave the Hospitallers permission to build a castle (the present-day Bodrum Castle) in Petronium (Bodrum) instead. [ citation needed ]

In a landward-looking arrangement somewhat against its nature, the city and its present-day dependencies became an Ottoman sanjak (sub-province) either inside the larger vilayet (province) of Aydın part of the eyalet of Anatolia, with its capital in Kütahya or in "Cezayir" (i.e. "Islands" referring to "the Aegean Islands"). In the 15th century, two notable events for the city were a surprise Venetian raid in 1475 and the arrival of Sephardic Jews from Spain after 1492; they later made İzmir one of their principal urban centers in Ottoman lands. İzmir may have been a rather sparsely populated place in the 15th and 16th centuries, as indicated by the first extant Ottoman records describing the town and dating from 1528. In 1530, 304 adult males, both tax-paying and tax-exempt were on record, 42 of them Christians. There were five urban wards, one of these situated in the immediate vicinity of the port, rather active despite the town's small size and where the non-Muslim population was concentrated. By 1576, İzmir had grown to house 492 taxpayers in eight urban wards and had a number of dependent villages. [23] This corresponded to a total population estimated between 3500 and 5000.

International port city

The St. Stepanos Armenian Church (1863) located in the Basmane district served the Armenian community of Izmir. It was burned during the Great Fire of Smyrna in 1922. SAINT STEPHEN ETIENNE ARMENIAN CHURCH SMYRNA Postcard c. 1907.JPG
The St. Stepanos Armenian Church (1863) located in the Basmane district served the Armenian community of İzmir. It was burned during the Great Fire of Smyrna in 1922.

İzmir's remarkable growth began in the late 16th century when cotton and other products of the region brought French, English, Dutch and Venetian traders here. [ citation needed ] With the privileged trading conditions accorded to foreigners in 1620 (these were the infamous capitulations that were later to cause a serious threat and setback for the Ottoman state in its decline), İzmir began to be one of the foremost trade centers of the Empire. Foreign consulates moved from Chios to the city by the early 17th century (1619 for the French Consulate, 1621 for the British), serving as trade centers for their nations. Each consulate had its own quay, where the ships under their flag would anchor. The long campaign for the conquest of Crete (22 years between 1648 and 1669) also considerably enhanced İzmir's position within the Ottoman realm since the city served as a port of dispatch and supply for the troops. [ citation needed ]

Historical affiliations
Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg Roman Empire 133 BC–395

Byzantine imperial flag, 14th century.svg Byzantine Empire 395–1076
Seljuk Empire 1076–1081
Chaka of Smyrna 1081–1102
Byzantine imperial flag, 14th century.svg Byzantine Empire 1102–1204
Flag of the Order of St. John (various).svg Knights Hospitaller 1204–1209
Double-headed eagle of the Byzantine Empire.png Nicean Empire 1209–1261
Byzantine imperial flag, 14th century.svg Byzantine Empire 1261–1330
Beylik of Aydin Flag.png Beylik of Aydin 1330–1344
Flag of the Order of St. John (various).svg Beylik of Aydin Flag.png Knights Hospitaller and Beylik of Aydin 1344–1402
Timurid.svg Timurid Empire 1402–1405
Beylik of Aydin Flag.png Beylik of Aydin 1405–1425
Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg Ottoman Empire 1425–1919
Flag of Greece (1822-1978).svg Greece 1919–1922

Flag of Turkey.svg Turkey 1922–present

Despite facing a plague in 1676, an earthquake in 1688 and a great fire in 1743, the city continued to grow. By the end of the 17th century, the population was estimated at around ninety thousand, the Turks forming the majority (about 60,000); there were also 15,000 Greeks, 8,000 Armenians and 6,000 to 7,000 Jews, as well as a considerable section made up of French, English, Dutch and Italian merchants. [25] In the meantime, the Ottomans had allowed İzmir's inner bay dominated by the port castle to silt up progressively (the location of the present-day Kemeraltı bazaar zone) and the port castle ceased to be of use.

In 1770, the Ottoman fleet was destroyed by Russian forces at the Battle of Çeşme, located near the city. This triggered fanatical Muslim groups to proceed to the massacre of c. 1,500 local Greeks. [26] Later, in 1797 a riot resulting from the indiscipline of janissaries corps led to massive destruction of the Frankish merchant community and the killing of 1,500 members of the city's Greek community. [27]

The first railway lines to be built within the present-day territory of Turkey went from İzmir. A 130 km (81 mi) İzmir-Aydın railway was started in 1856 and finished in 1867, a year later than the Smyrna-Cassaba Railway, itself started in 1863. [28] The wide arc of the Smyrna-Cassaba line advancing in a wide arc to the north-west from İzmir, through the Karşıyaka suburb, contributed greatly to the development of the northern shores as urban areas. These new developments, typical of the industrial age and the way the city attracted merchants and middlemen gradually changed the demographic structure of the city, its culture and its Ottoman character. In 1867, İzmir finally became the center of its own vilayet, still called by neighboring Aydın's name but with its own administrative area covering a large part of Turkey's present-day Aegean Region.

In the late 19th century, the port was threatened by a build-up of silt in the gulf and an initiative, unique in the history of the Ottoman Empire, was undertaken in 1886. In order to redirect the silt, the bed of the Gediz River was redirected to its present-day northern course, so that it no longer flowed into the gulf. The beginning of the 20th century saw İzmir take on the look of a global metropolis with a cosmopolitan city center. According to the 1893 Ottoman census, more than half of the population was Turkish, with 133,800 Greeks, 9,200 Armenians, 17,200 Jews, and 54,600 foreign nationals. [29] According to author Katherine Flemming, by 1919, Smyrna's 150,000 Greeks made up just under half of the population, outnumbering the Turks in the city two to one, [30] while the American Consul General, George Horton, records 165,000 Turks, 150,000 Greeks, 25,000 Jews, 25,000 Armenians, and 20,000 foreigners (Italians, French, British, Americans). [31] According to Henry Morgenthau and Trudy Ring, before World War I, the Greeks alone numbered 130,000, out of a total population of 250,000. [32] [33] Moreover, according to various scholars, prior to the war, the city hosted more Greeks than Athens, the capital of Greece. [34] [35] The Ottoman ruling class of that era referred to the city as Infidel Smyrna (Gavur İzmir) due to its strong Greek presence. [32] [33]

Modern times

A distant view of the Pasaport Quay (1877) in the background, as seen from Konak Pier (1890) at the port of Izmir. 2. Kordon.JPG
A distant view of the Pasaport Quay (1877) in the background, as seen from Konak Pier (1890) at the port of İzmir.
Monument dedicated to Turkish journalist Hasan Tahsin, who is said to have fired the "first bullet" against the occupying Greek army on 15 May 1919. IlkKursunAniti.JPG
Monument dedicated to Turkish journalist Hasan Tahsin, who is said to have fired the "first bullet" against the occupying Greek army on 15 May 1919.

Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the victors had, for a time, intended to carve up large parts of Anatolia into respective zones of influence and offered the western regions of Turkey to Greece under the Treaty of Sèvres. On 15 May 1919, the Greek Army landed in Smyrna, but the Greek expedition towards central Anatolia was disastrous for both that country and for the local Greeks of Anatolia. By September 1922 the Greek army had been defeated and was in full retreat, the last Greek soldiers leaving Smyrna on 8 September 1922.

The Turkish Army retook possession of the city on 9 September 1922, effectively ending the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922). Four days later, on 13 September 1922, a great fire broke out in the city, lasting until 22 September. The fire completely destroyed the Greek and Armenian quarters, while the Muslim and Jewish quarters escaped damage. [36] Estimated Greek and Armenians deaths resulting from the fire range from 10,000 [37] [38] to 100,000 [39] [40] Approximately 50,000 [41] to 400,000 [42] Greek and Armenian refugees crammed the waterfront to escape from the fire and were forced to remain there under harsh conditions for nearly two weeks. The systematic evacuation of Greeks on the quay started on 24 September when the first Greek ships entered the harbor under the supervision of Allied destroyers. [43] Some 150,000 to 200,000 Greeks were evacuated in total. [38] The remaining Greeks left for Greece in 1923, as part of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, a stipulation of the Treaty of Lausanne, which formally ended the Greco-Turkish War.

The war, and especially the events that took place in İzmir, such as the fire, probably the greatest disaster the city has ever experienced, continue to influence the psyches of the two nations to this day. The Turks have claimed that the Greek army landing was marked from the very first day by the "first bullet" fired on Greek detachments by the journalist Hasan Tahsin and the bayonetting to death of Colonel Fethi Bey and his unarmed soldiers in the city's historic barracks (Sarı Kışla — the Yellow Barracks), for refusing to shout "Zito o Venizelos " ("Long Live Venizelos"). The Greeks, on the other hand, have cited the numerous atrocities committed by the Turkish soldiers against the Greeks and Armenians (locals or hinterland refugees) in İzmir. These include the lynching of the Orthodox Metropolitan Chrysostomos following the recapture of the city on 9 September 1922 and the slaughter of Armenian and Greek males, who were then sent to the so-called labour battalions. [44] The city was, once again, gradually rebuilt after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.


Population of İzmir
1918300,000 [45] 19851,489,817
1890200,000 [45] 1970554,000
166060,000–70,000 [45] 1965442,000
164035,000–40,000 [45] 1960371,000
15952,000 [45] 1955286,000
Astronaut photograph highlighting the modern urban landscape of Izmir Izmir, Turkey.JPG
Astronaut photograph highlighting the modern urban landscape of İzmir

The period after the 1960s and the 1970s saw another blow to the fabric of İzmir, when local administrations tended to neglect İzmir's traditional values and landmarks. For many inhabitants, this was as serious as the 1922 fire. Some administrators were not always in tune with the central government in Ankara and regularly fell short of government subsidies, and the city absorbed huge waves of immigration from inland Anatolia, causing a population explosion. Today, it is not surprising that many inhabitants of İzmir (similar to residents of other prominent Turkish cities) look back with nostalgia to a cozier, more manageable city, which came to an end in the last few decades. The Floor Ownership Law of 1965 (Kat Mülkiyeti Kanunu), allowing and encouraging arrangements between house or land proprietors and building contractors by which each would share the benefits of renting out eight-floor apartment blocks built to replace former single-family houses, proved especially disastrous for the urban landscape.

Modern İzmir is growing in several directions at the same time. The north-western corridor extending to Aliağa brings together both mass housing projects, including villa-type projects and intensive industrial area, including an oil refinery. In the southern corridor towards Gaziemir yet another important growth trend is observed, contributed to by the Aegean Free Zone, light industry, the airport and mass housing projects. The presence of the Tahtalı Dam, built to provide drinking water, and its protected zone did not check urban spread here, which has offshoots in cooperatives outside the metropolitan area as far south as the Ayrancılar–Torbalı axis. To the east and the north-east, urban development ends near the natural barriers constituted respectively by the Belkahve (Mount Nif) and Sabuncubeli (Mount Yamanlar-Mount Sipylus) passes. But the settlements both above Bornova, inside the metropolitan zone, and around Kemalpaşa and Ulucak, outside the metropolitan zone, see mass housing and secondary residences development. More recently, the metropolitan area displays growth, especially along the western corridor, encouraged by the Çeşme motorway and extending to districts outside the city of İzmir proper, such as Seferihisar and Urla. [46] The population of the city is predominantly Muslim, but it was predominantly non-Muslim up to the earlier quarter of the 20th century. [47]

İzmir is also home to Turkey's second largest Jewish community after Istanbul, numbering about 2,500. [48] The community is still concentrated in their traditional quarter of Karataş. Smyrniot Jews like Sabbatai Zevi and Darío Moreno were among famous figures in the city's Jewish community. Others include the Pallache family with three grand rabbis: Haim, Abraham, and Nissim.

The Levantines of İzmir, who are mostly of Genoese and to a lesser degree of French and Venetian descent, live mainly in the districts of Bornova and Buca. One of the most prominent present-day figures of the community is Caroline Giraud Koç, wife of the renowned Turkish industrialist Mustafa Koç, whose company, Koç Holding, is one of the largest family-owned industrial conglomerates in the world.

İzmir once had a large Greek and Armenian community, but after the end of the Greco-Turkish War, many of the Christians remaining in the city were transferred to Greece under the terms of the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey.


İzmir has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa), which is characterized by long, hot, and dry summers, and mild to cool, rainy winters. The total precipitation for İzmir averages 695.4 mm (27.38 in) per year; however, the vast majority of the city's rainfall occurs from November through March. The rest of the precipitation generally falls during April through May and September through October. There is very little to no rainfall from June through August. A record 145.3 mm (5.72 in) of rainfall was recorded on September 29, 2006.

Maximum temperatures during the winter months are usually between 10 and 16 °C (50 and 61 °F). Although it is rare, snow can fall in İzmir from December to February over a period of hours rather than a whole day or more, with a record of 32 cm (13 in) of snowfall recorded on January 31, 1945. During summer, the air temperature can climb as high as 40 °C (104 °F) from June to September; however, the high temperatures are usually between 30 and 36 °C (86 and 97 °F).

Climate data for İzmir (1938–2018)
Record high °C (°F)22.4
Average high °C (°F)12.4
Daily mean °C (°F)8.7
Average low °C (°F)5.7
Record low °C (°F)−8.2
Average precipitation mm (inches)132.7
Average precipitation days12.610.
Average relative humidity (%)76736966635552525867757665
Mean monthly sunshine hours 133.3145.6198.4237.0303.8348.0381.3368.9303.0235.6168.0130.22,953.1
Mean daily sunshine hours
Source #1: Turkish State Meteorological Service [49]
Source #2: Karabağlar Municipality (humidity) [50]

Main sights

Standing on Mount Yamanlar, the tomb of Tantalus was excavated by Charles Texier in 1835 and is an example of the historic traces in the region prior to the Hellenistic Age, along with those found in nearby Kemalpaşa and Mount Sipylus.

Asansor (1907) offers panoramic views of the city Asansor From Ground Level Izmir Turkey.jpg
Asansör (1907) offers panoramic views of the city

The Agora of Smyrna is well preserved, and is arranged into the Agora Open Air Museum of İzmir, although important parts buried under modern buildings wait to be brought to light. Serious consideration is also being given to uncovering the ancient theatre of Smyrna where St. Polycarp was martyred, buried under an urban zone on the slopes of Kadifekale. It was distinguishable until the 19th century, as evident by the sketches done at the time. At top of the same hill stands an ancient castle, one of İzmir's landmarks.

Izmir Clock Tower (1901) Izmir, torre dell'orologio 03.JPG
İzmir Clock Tower (1901)

One of the more pronounced elements of İzmir's harbor is the Clock Tower, a marble tower 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 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the ascension of Abdülhamid II to the Ottoman throne in 1876. The clock's workings were given as a gift by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, a political ally of Abdülhamid II. The tower features four fountains 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. [51]

There are nine synagogues in İzmir, concentrated either in the traditional Jewish quarter of Karataş or in Havra Sokak (Synagogue street) in Kemeraltı, and they all bear the signature of the 19th century when they were built or re-constructed in depth on the basis of former buildings.

The Atatürk Mask (Turkish : Atatürk Maskı) is a large concrete relief of the head of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey, located to the south of Kadifekale the historical castle of İzmir.

The İzmir Bird Paradise (Kuş Cenneti) in Çiğli, a bird sanctuary near Karşıyaka, has recorded 205 species of birds, including 63 species that are resident year-round, 54 species of summer migratory birds, 43 species of winter migratory birds, and 30 transient species. 56 species of birds have bred in the park. The sanctuary, which covers 80 square kilometres, was registered as "the protected area for water birds and for their breeding" by the Turkish Ministry of Forestry in 1982. A large open-air zoo was established in the same district of Çiğli in 2008 under the name Sasalı Park of Natural Life.


A view of the city park named Kulturpark City Park in Kulturkpark.jpg
A view of the city park named Kültürpark

İzmir International Fair

İzmir prides itself with its busy schedule of trade fairs, exhibitions and congresses. The fair and the festival are held in the compound of İzmir's vast inner city park named Kültürpark in the first days of September, and organized by İZFAŞ, a depending company of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality.


Ahmet Adnan Saygun Art Center Ahmet Adnan Saygun Art Center in Izmir.jpg
Ahmet Adnan Saygun Art Center

The annual International İzmir Festival, which begins in mid-June and continues until mid-July, has been organized since 1987. During the festival, many world-class performers such as soloists and virtuosi, orchestras, dance companies, rock and jazz groups have given recitals and performances at various venues in the city and its surrounding areas; including the ancient theatres at Ephesus (near Selçuk) and Metropolis (an ancient Ionian city situated near the town of Torbalı.) The festival is a member of the European Festivals Association since 2003.

The İzmir European Jazz Festival is among the numerous events organized every year by the İKSEV (İzmir Foundation for Culture, Arts and Education) since 1994. The festival aims to bring together masters and lovers of jazz with the aim to generate feelings of love, friendship and peace.

The International İzmir Short Film Festival is organized since 1999 and is a member of the European Coordination of Film Festivals.

İzmir Metropolitan Municipality has built the Ahmet Adnan Saygun Art Center on a 21,000 m2 land plot in the Güzelyalı district, in order to contribute to the city's culture and art life. The acoustics of the center have been prepared by ARUP which is a noted company in this field.[ citation needed ]


İzmir's cuisine has largely been affected by its multicultural history, hence the large variety of food originating from the Aegean and Mediterranean regions. Population movement from Eastern and South East Anatolia regions has enriched the local cuisine. Another factor is the large and fertile area of land surrounding the region which grows a rich selection of vegetables. There is considerable culinary usage of green leaf vegetables and wild plants amongst the residents, especially those with insular heritage, such as the immigrants from Crete. Some of the common dishes found here are the tarhana soup (made from dried yoghurt and tomatoes), "İzmir" köfte, sulu köfte, keşkek (boiled wheat with meat), zerde (sweetened rice with saffron) and mücver (made from zucchine and eggs). A Sephardic contribution to the Turkish cuisine, boyoz and lokma are pastries associated with İzmir. Kumru is a special kind of sandwich that is associated particularly with the Çeşme district and features cheese and tomato in its basics, with sucuk also added sometimes. [52]


The mascot of the 2005 Summer Universiade which was held in Izmir. Universiade 2005 izmir.jpg
The mascot of the 2005 Summer Universiade which was held in İzmir.

Several important international sports events have been held in İzmir:

Izmir Ataturk Stadium (1964) hosted the 1971 Mediterranean Games, the 2005 Summer Universiade and the 2011 European Team Championships, among other track and field events. It is also used by Izmir's football clubs. Izmir Ataturk Stadyumu.jpg
İzmir Atatürk Stadium (1964) hosted the 1971 Mediterranean Games, the 2005 Summer Universiade and the 2011 European Team Championships, among other track and field events. It is also used by İzmir's football clubs.

The 51,295 capacity (all-seater) İzmir Atatürk Stadium regularly hosts, apart from Turkish Super League games of İzmir-based teams, many other Super League and Turkish Cup derby matches.

Notable football clubs in İzmir include: Göztepe, Altay, Altınordu, Menemenspor, Karşıyaka, Bucaspor, and İzmirspor. Bucaspor were relegated from the top tier, Turkish Super League, at the end of the 2010–11 season. Göztepe made sports history in Turkey by having played the semi-finals of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in the 1968–69 season, and the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in the 1969–70 season; becoming the first ever Turkish football club to play a semi-final game in Europe and the only one for two decades. Altay and Göztepe have won the Turkish Cup twice for İzmir and all of İzmir's teams periodically jumped in and out of Süper Lig. Historically, İzmir is also the birthplace of two Greek sports clubs, namely the multi-sport club Panionios and association football club Apollon Smyrni F.C. which were founded in the city and moved to Athens after 1922.

Karşıyaka's basketball department Karşıyaka Basket won the Turkish Basketball League twice (in the 1986–87 and 2014–15 seasons), the Turkish Cup once (in the 2013–14 season) and the Presidential Cup twice (in 1987 and 2014). The team plays its games at the Karşıyaka Arena. The 10,000 capacity (all-seater) Halkapınar Sports Hall is currently İzmir's largest indoor sports arena and was among the venues of the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

Arkas Spor is a successful volleyball club in the city, having won the Turkish Men's Volleyball League and the Turkish Cup several times, and the CEV Challenge Cup in the 2008–09 season. İzmir Atatürk Volleyball Hall regularly hosts the games of the city's volleyball teams.

The city boasts of several sports legends, past and present. Already at the dawn of its history, notable natives such as the son of its first port's founder Pelops had attained fame and kingdom with a chariot race and Onomastus is one of history's first recorded sportspeople, having won the boxing contest in the Olympiad of 688 BC.

Born in İzmir, and nicknamed Taçsız Kral (The Uncrowned King), 1960s football star Metin Oktay is a legend in Turkey. Oktay became the first notable Turkish footballer to play abroad, with Palermo in Italy's Serie A, during the 1961–1962 season. Two other notable football figures from İzmir are Alpay Özalan and Mustafa Denizli, the first having played for Aston Villa F.C. between 2000 and 2003 and the second, after a long playing career as the captain of İzmir's Altay S.K., still pursues a successful career as a coach, being the only manager in Turkish Super League history to win a championship title with each of Istanbul's "Big Three" clubs (Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe S.K., and Beşiktaş J.K.) and having guided the Turkish national football team to the UEFA Euro 2000 Quarter-Finals.

İzmir Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) Sports Club's ice hockey team began playing in the Turkish Ice Hockey Super League during the 2011–2012 season


Members of Parliament for İzmir
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The current Mayor of the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality is Aziz Kocaoğlu from the Republican People's Party (CHP), in office since 2004. He was re-elected in both 2009 and 2014. His predecessor, the previous mayor Ahmet Piriştina (CHP) was first elected in 1999, but died of a heart attack in 2004.

İzmir has traditionally been a stronghold for the CHP, the centre-left Kemalist political party which forms the main opposition in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Being the third largest city in Turkey, İzmir is viewed as the CHP's most prized electoral stronghold, since the party has a more limited support base in both İstanbul and Ankara. Since the right-wing Justice and Development Party (AKP) gained power in 2002, the electorate of İzmir has been notable for voting strongly in favour of the CHP in every general and local election. In the 2007 and 2010 and 2017 referendums, the İzmir electorate strongly rejected the AKP government's constitutional reform proposals. Almost all of the city's districts have returned strong pluralities or majorities for the CHP in past elections, although the party lost ground in the 2014 local elections.

Due to the economic and historical importance of the city, İzmir has long been a strategic electoral target for the AKP, since beating the CHP in their most significant stronghold would be politically substantial. The majority of the citizens in İzmir have continued to vote for the centre-left political parties (in particular the CHP), despite large-scale pledges by the AKP promising investment and new infrastructure. [53] For general elections, İzmir returns 26 Members of Parliament to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The province is split into two electoral districts which roughly divide the city into a northern and southern district, each electing 13 MPs. [54] Anti-government protests in 2013 and 2014 against the AKP were particularly strong in İzmir. [55]

During the 2014 presidential election, 58.64% of the city's electorate voted for the CHP candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu. In contrast, the AKP candidate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received 33.38% of the vote. The pro-Kurdish candidate Selahattin Demirtaş received 7.98%. [56]

İzmir district Municipalities
Local elections, 2014
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Izmir has its own local media companies: there are 9 TV channels headquartered in İzmir and broadcasting in the Aegean Region, 26 local radio stations and 15 local newspapers. TRT Belgesel (TRT Documentary) is a Turkish national TV channel broadcasting from the TRT building in Izmir. [57] [58] [59] [ circular reference ]

TV channels broadcasting in Izmir

▪Ege TV |Local TV ▪Kanal 35 |Local TV ▪Sky TV | Local TV ▪Kordon TV | Local TV ▪FRM TV | Online TV ▪Ege Üniversitesi TV |Local TV ▪Ben TV | Online TV ▪Yenigün TV | Online TV ▪TRT Belgesel | National TV

Local radio stations

▪Radyo İzmir ▪Romantik Radyo ▪Romantik Türk ▪Radyo 35 ▪Kordon FM ▪İmbat FM ▪Radyo Kordelya ▪Radyo Efe ▪Oynak FM ▪Duygusal FM ▪Sky Radyo ▪Radyo Pause ▪Radyo Ege ▪Ege FM ▪Ege'nin Sesi Radyosu ▪Herkül FM ▪Can Radyo ▪Batı Radyo ▪Radyo Gökkuşağı ▪Yıldız FM ▪Buca FM ▪Radyo Ege Kampüs 100.8 ▪Rock City FM ▪öRT FM ▪Y.Tire FM ▪DEÜ FM [60]

Newspapers and magazines

▪Ege Telgraf ▪Ekonomik Çözüm ▪Gözlem ▪Haber Ekspres ▪Ticaret ▪Yenigün ▪Yeni Asır ▪Yeni Ekonomi ▪Yenigün Gazetesi ▪9 Eylül Gazetesi ▪Küçük Menderes Gazetesi ▪Büyük Tire ▪Ege Gazetesi [61] ▪Torbalı Ege ▪Büyük Torbalı

Izmir in notable literary and artistic works


There are twenty one public hospitals in Izmir. Turkey has consists of a mix of public and private health system, also Turkey has Universal health care insurance system (SGK [63] ) which residents registered with a T.C. identity number [64] (Turkish ID number) can receive medical treatment free of charge in public hospitals. [65] One of the largest hospitals in the Aegean Region is currently under construction in the Bayraklı district of İzmir, with a reported cost of 780 million Euros. [66] [67]


A view of Kulturpark (center) and the seaport of Izmir (right) Izmir International Fair from Kadifekale.JPG
A view of Kültürpark (center) and the seaport of İzmir (right)

Trade through the city's port had a determinant importance for the economy of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 19th century and the economic foundations of the early decades of Turkey's Republican era were also laid here in İzmir Economic Congress. Presently, İzmir area's economy is divided in value between various types of activity as follows: 30.5% for industry, 22.9% for trade and related services, 13.5% for transportation and communication and 7.8% for agriculture. In 2008, İzmir provided 10.5% of all tax revenues collected by Turkey and its exports corresponded to 6% and its imports 4% of Turkey's foreign trade. The province as a whole is Turkey's third largest exporter after Istanbul and Bursa, and the fifth largest importer. 85–90% of the region's exports and approximately one fifth of all Turkish exports are made through the Port of Alsancak with an annual container loading capacity of close to a million. [68]


There are a total of six active universities in and near İzmir. The city is also home to well-rooted higher-education establishments that are renowned across Turkey, such as the İzmir Anatolian Vocational High School of Commerce  [ tr ] established in 1854, and the American Collegiate Institute (ACI) which was established in 1878.

Historically, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the city was an educational center of the Greek world, with a total of 67 male and 4 female schools. The most important Greek educational institution was the Evangelical School which operated from 1733 to 1922. [69]

İzmir is also home to the third U.S. Space Camp in the world, Space Camp Turkey. [70]

Universities established in İzmir:

Volleyball tournament between faculties at the Ege University sports hall in Izmir. Ege University Sport Hall 3.JPG
Volleyball tournament between faculties at the Ege University sports hall in İzmir.

Universities established near İzmir:

International schools in İzmir:


Adnan Menderes International Airport is the main airport in Izmir. Adnan Menderes Havalimani Ic Gorunum.jpg
Adnan Menderes International Airport is the main airport in İzmir.

İzmir is served by domestic and international flights through the Adnan Menderes International Airport and by modern rapid transit systems serving the entirety of İzmir's metropolitan area. The city has attracted investors through its strategic location and its relatively new and highly developed technological infrastructure in transportation, telecommunications, and energy. [76] [77]

Inter-city transport


The Adnan Menderes International Airport (ADB) is well served with connections to Turkish and international destinations. It is located in the Gaziemir district of İzmir.


A large bus terminal, the Otogar in the Pınarbaşı neighborhood of the city, has intercity buses to destinations across Turkey. Bus companies' shuttle services pick up customers from each of their branch offices scattered across the city at regular intervals, often free of charge. To facilitate easier access, a Halkapınar—Otogar metro line has long been deliberated but construction has never begun – though throughout his campaign and upon his election as mayor of İzmir in 2019, Tunç Soyer has outlined it as one of his priorities. [78]


Alsancak Railway Station in Izmir was opened in 1858 as the terminus of the Izmir-Aydin line, the oldest railway line in Turkey and the second-oldest railway line in the Ottoman Empire after the Cairo-Alexandria line (1856) in the Ottoman Eyalet of Egypt. Alsancak Terminal Izmir.jpg
Alsancak Railway Station in İzmir was opened in 1858 as the terminus of the İzmir–Aydın line, the oldest railway line in Turkey and the second-oldest railway line in the Ottoman Empire after the CairoAlexandria line (1856) in the Ottoman Eyalet of Egypt.

İzmir has two historical rail terminals in the city center. Alsancak Terminal, built in 1858, and Basmane Terminal, built in 1866, are the two main railway stations of the city. The Turkish State Railways operates regional service to Ödemiş, Tire, Selçuk, Aydın, Söke, Nazilli, Denizli and Uşak, as well as longer-distance intercity service to Ankara, Afyon and Bandırma (and from there to İstanbul via İDO connection).

Inner-city transport

Coordinated public transportation was introduced to İzmir in 1999. A body known as UKOME gives strategic direction to the Metro, the ESHOT bus division, ferry operations, utilities and road developments. İzmir has an electronic, integrated pre-pay ticket known as the İzmirim Kart ('My Izmir' Card). The card is valid on all metro and commuter rail lines, buses, ferries, trams, and in certain other municipal facilities. The İzmirim Kart allows for the use of multiple forms of transport within a 90-minute window, combining for a single fare price. [79]


An ESHOT bus in Konak Bus in Izmir 03.JPG
An ESHOT bus in Konak

All of İzmir's major districts are serviced by a dense municipal bus network under the name ESHOT. The acronym stands for "E elektrik (electricity); S su (water); H havagazı (gas); O otobüs (bus) and T troleybüs (trolleybus)." Electricity, water and gas are now supplied by separate undertakings, and İzmir's trolleybus system ceased to operate in 1992. However, the bus company has inherited the original name. ESHOT operates 322 lines with about 1,500 buses and a staff of 2,700. It has five garages at Karataş, Gümrük, Basmane, Yeşilyurt, and Konak. A privately owned company, İzulaş, operates 400 buses from two garages, running services under contract for ESHOT. These scheduled services are supplemented by the privately owned minibus or dolmuş services. [79]

Urban ferries

Izmir Municipality's urban ferry services in the Gulf of Izmir Konak-Karsiyaka vapuru.jpg
İzmir Municipality's urban ferry services in the Gulf of İzmir

Taken over by İzmir Metropolitan Municipality since 2000 and operated within the structure of their private subsidiary company (İzdeniz), İzmir's urban ferry services for passengers and vehicles are very much a part of the life of the city's inhabitants. 24 ferries shuttle between 9 quays (clockwise: Bostanlı, Karşıyaka, Bayraklı, Alsancak, Pasaport, Konak, Karantina, Göztepe and Üçkuyular.) Special lines to points further out in the gulf are also put in service during summer, transporting excursion or holiday makers. These services are cheap and it is not unusual to see natives or visitors taking a ferry ride simply as a pastime. [79]


Konak station of the Izmir Metro Konak Izmir Metro.jpg
Konak station of the İzmir Metro

İzmir has a metro network that is constantly being extended with new stations being put in service. The "İzmir Metro" network, currently consisting of one main line, starts from the Fahrettin Altay station in Balçova in the western portion of the metropolitan area and runs northeast through the city to Bornova. The line is 20 km (12.4 mi) long. [79]

Light rail

IZBAN commuter train heading towards Adnan Menderes International Airport S-Bahn Izmir (IZBAN) Baureihe E22000 (CAF).JPG
İZBAN commuter train heading towards Adnan Menderes International Airport

İZBAN, formerly known as Egeray, is a commuter rail system serving İzmir and its metropolitan area. It is the busiest commuter railway in Turkey, serving about 150,000 passengers daily. [80] İZBAN is a portmanteau of the words "İzmir" and "Banliyö".

Established in 2006, İZBAN was formed to revive commuter rail in İzmir. İZBAN began operations in 2010 and currently operates a 136 km (85 mi) long system with 40 stations, consisting of two lines: the Southern Line and the Northern Line. [81]

İZBAN A.Ş. operates the railway and is owned 50% by the Turkish State Railways and 50% by the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality.


A Konak Tram heading towards Halkapinar station Konak Tram.jpg
A Konak Tram heading towards Halkapınar station

İzmir's latest tram system is owned by the metropolitan municipality and operated by İzmir Metro A.Ş. in two independent lines – one in Karşıyaka, opened in 2017, and the other in Konak, opened in 2018. [79]

Public transportation statistics

The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in İzmir, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 62 min, and 13% of public transit riders ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 15 min, while 27% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 10.4 km, while 22% travel for over 12 km in a single direction. [82]

Notable people

Twin towns and sister cities

The following is a list of İzmir's sister cities: [83]

See also


Related Research Articles


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Karşıyaka District in Aegean, Turkey

Karşıyaka is a district of İzmir Province in Turkey. The district extends for twelve kilometres along the northern and eastern coastline of the tip of the Gulf of İzmir. Its centre is at a distance of 6 km (4 mi) to the north from the traditional centre of İzmir, which is Konak Square in Konak at the opposite coast. Karşıyaka's district area neighbours the district areas of Menemen to the north, Bornova to the east and Çiğli to the west. Besides being an active venue of commerce, culture and educational actitivies and tourism, Karşıyaka also has an urban culture centred on the sports club Karşıyaka SK, which commands a large and passionate fan base.

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Menemen District in Aegean, Turkey

Menemen is a district of İzmir Province in Turkey as well as the district's central town. The district extends on a fertile plain formed by the alluvial soil carried by the Gediz River. Menemen's district area neighbors the following district areas from east to west; Aliağa and Foça to the north and Bornova, Karşıyaka and Çiğli to the south, these last two being among İzmir's metropolitan districts. Menemen district also has a 27 km (17 mi) long coastline in the west and neighbors Manisa Province to the east. The town of Menemen is located at a distance of 35 km (22 mi) from İzmir center. Settlement across the district is loosely scattered along the Greater Metropolitan Area of İzmir in the south and consists of isolated villages along prairies in the north, which results in an average urbanization rate of only 42 per cent. The economy still relies on agriculture and stock breeding in large part, although the production and export of leather, ceramic and other earthenware products, as well as potentially of plastic products, based in two separate and specialized organized industrial zones made important steps forward during the last decade. Menemen's earthenware pottery products are famous across Turkey since centuries. These two organized industrial zones as well as activities rebounding from the adjacent İzmir metropolitan area gain an increasing importance in the district's economy. Nevertheless, Gediz River, whose lower basin crosses Menemen plain to join the sea within the district boundaries still constitutes the lifeline of the region and matters relating to the river's flow as well as its present rate of rather high pollution is a matter of constant debate. The level of education is high in Menemen with literacy rate reaching 99%.

Çiğli Place in İzmir, Turkey

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Below is a sequence of some of the events that affected the history of the city of İzmir.

Menemen railway station railway station in İzmir

Menemen railway station is a railway station at Menemen in Izmir Province, Turkey. The station is served by the Turkish State Railways, the national rail carrier of Turkey. The station is serviced by six trains daily. Northbound trains go to either Bandırma, Ankara, Afyon or Uşak and southbound trains all go to Alsancak Terminal in İzmir. North of the station, the double track branch line to Aliağa splits from the main line. The original station was built in 1866 by the Smyrna Cassaba Railway.

Alsancak railway station railway station in İzmir

Alsancak railway station is one of the two main railway terminals in İzmir and is the second-oldest railway station in Turkey, after Kemer, being completed in 1858. The station is the main hub for İZBAN trains, and is the terminus for both lines.

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Bayraklı railway station is a station on İZBAN's Northern Line in central Bayraklı, İzmir. The station consists of two side platforms serving two bi-directional tracks. An overhead mezzanine serves as both an overpass and ticket control area.

Trams in İzmir tram networks of İzmir, Turkey

İzmir (Smyrna) is Turkey's third largest city and most important port in Anatolia. In the past, İzmir had the second largest tram system in Turkey. Trams operated between 1890 and the early 1960s. The İzmir Municipality has been operating a new, larger tram system in the city since 2017. This new system is integrated with the İzmir Metro and the regional commuter system, İZBAN.

İzmir is a transportation hub for western Anatolia. İzmir has an extensive bus system, a developing metro and commuter rail system and a large urban ferry network. The city also has a highway to Çeşme and Aydın as well as a ring around the city. Mass transportation is operated by four separate public agencies all owned by the İzmir Municipality.

Pasaport Ferry Terminal ferry terminal in İzmir, Turkey

Pasaport Ferry Terminal is a passenger ferry terminal in Konak, İzmir on the Gulf of İzmir. It is located at the northern end of the historic Pasaport Quay on the southwestern side of Cumhuriyet Square. İzdeniz operates commuter ferry service to other terminals around the city. Pasaport was originally built in 1884, as an add-on to the Pasaport Harbor which was constructed between 1867 and 1884.

Levantines in Turkey or Turkish Levantines, refers to the descendants of Europeans who settled in the coastal cities of the Ottoman Empire in order to be engaged in trade especially after the Tanzimat Era. Their estimated population is around 1,000. They mainly reside in Istanbul, İzmir and Mersin. Anatolian Muslims called Levantines Frenk and Sweet Water Freng in addition to Levanten.


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  86. "Mostar Gradovi prijatelji" [Mostar Twin Towns]. Grad Mostar [Mostar Official City Website] (in Macedonian). Archived from the original on 2013-10-30. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  87. A.Ş., ÜNİBEL. "İzmir Büyükşehir Belediyesi". İzmir Büyükşehir Belediyesi.

Further reading

Food www.foodizmir.com

  1. "December 2013 address-based calculation of the Turkish Statistical Institute as presented by citypopulation.de".