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[Izmir]


ENVIRONS AND NEIGHBORHOODS       


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The 8000 hectares of swamp in Camalti in the 15 km west of Karsiyaka has been under protection as “Izmir Bird Paradise.” The region has been the most frequented place for amateur and professional ornithologists in search of examining numerous bird species mainly pelicans and flamingoes. Being on the birds’ flyway, the place visited by 50 000 birds every year.

Located at a height of 810 m on the Yamanlar Moutain on 40 km northeastern of Karsiyaka, Karagol is a lovable promenade. It is a landslide lake surrounded by pine trees, small in size but having beautiful scenery.

From the historical Belkahve Promenade located on the Izmir-Ankara main road, 25 km distance to Izmir, one cannot have enough of the Izmir Bay’s scenery.

On the northeastern corner of the bay, the small hill rising through a plain is the Bayraklı Tumulus where the oldest settlement of the region Bayraklı was established. In this ancient Ionian city on a gridiron plan, megaron type dwellings pertaining to B.C. 7th century, Temple of Athena and the tomb of Tantalus’ remnants can be seen.

In the east of Izmir, Birgi Village can be found with many 18th and 19th century old Turkish houses. The Cakir Aga Mansion and the Ulu Mosque are well worth seeing.

On the Karabela Pass 20 km away from Izmir, a rock-relief – Luwian soldier- is an awe-inspiring archeological value pertaining to the Hittites.

The Biblical Seven Churches of Apocalypse Johannes are found in this region. These churches are located in Efes (Ephesus), Izmir (Smyrna), Bergama (Pergamon), Akhisar (Thyatira), Sart (Sardes), Alaşehir (Philadelphia) and Eskihisar (Laodicea). Regular daily and several-day trips are arranged to these churches some of which are well-protected.

On the Cesme highway comes along Balcova which was named after the Mycenaean King Agamemnon where the greatest thermal spas of Turkey are located. As can be inferred from the historical sources, Agamemnon Spas have been the most popular place for the ones in search of health from the antique times. The sea thermals have the international standards with care and accommodation facilities. The Cesme Ilıca (Spa) on the Cesme highway has therapeutic thermal water for the treatment of various diseases. Apart from them, there are also many thermal spas around Izmir.


Pergamon


Located in the north of Izmir, the greatest cultural center of the Antique period, Pergamon is one of the prominent archeological sites extant in Turkey. The city was named after the parchment paper found here. Built in B.C. 4th century, Pergamon was first dominated by Lydia and later Persia. After Alexander the Great captured it in B.C.334, Pergamon became a Hellenistic city. Afterwards the city has fallen into the hands of Romans, Byzantines and Turks. The Acropolis, library, Altar of Zeus (the table used in the churches), the sanctuaries of Demeter and Athena, agora, Gymnasium ruins based on triple terraces found in the city are among the most spectacular examples to the Hellenistic period in Turkey. With its more than 200 thousand books, the Library has been one of the chief monuments of its time. In Acropolis, there are Trojan and Dionysus temples and a steep theater from the Roman period. The city’s southwestern part, Asclepion healing center has been dedicated to Asclepius, the god of medicine. In the healing center of the ancient times, important buildings such as the theater, library, the temple of Asclepius, baths & mud baths, the holy fountain, and Artemis corner can be seen.

Archeology Museum, Ethnographic City Museum and Temple of Serapis where the Hellenistic period artifacts are exhibited are among the places that should be in your visit list. Converted into a basilica in the Byzantine period, Temple of Serapis (The red courtyard) is one of the seven churches of Apocalypse. The Arabian Mosque, Muftu Mosque, Ulu Mosque, Kursunlu Mosque, Laleli Mosque, Kulaksız Mosque, Yeni Mosque, Kuplu Hamam (Turkish Bath), Tabaklar Hamam, Koca Sinan Mescid (small mosque), Incirli Mescid, and Karaosman Fountain in the city are some of the Turkish-Islam monuments.

Pergamon’s port city Dikili receives many ships transporting native and foreign visitors to the city. Besides the sea tourism, the spas are among the charming sites of the region. On the shoreline, you can come across excellent restaurants as well.

Candarli (Pitane) might be the next stop as well as having a rest and visiting the castle built by the Genoese in 13th century which is still in good condition today. Despite being an ancient settlement (B.C. 2000), there has been little to be left to our time from Candarli, settled next to the gulf of the same name. It is pristine fishing village. Olive and fish are abundant in the place. Small Aiol ancient settlements called Aigai, Gryneion, Myrina and Kyme that are located on the way to Phokaia from the gulf of Candarli have very little number of buildings in good condition to be left to our time. Necropolis, agora and column ruins can be seen in Aigai.


Foca


Being a member of the Union of the Ionian civilization cities and having being built in B.C. 9th century Foca (Phokaia) is a modern holiday resort along with its bay. Phokaia was named after the islets in the entrance of the bay resembling seals. Referred in the Homer’s epics as well, Phokaia was nautical port city among the 12 Ionian cities.

There are rock tombs to be left of the Phrygian civilization or Persians 10 km away from Phokaia. In the excavations a theater belonging to Hellenistic period, Temple of Athena, Sanctuary and Port Sanctuary of Cybele have been found. In 14th century the Genoese built Yeni (New) Foca nearby the old city. In the southwest of the town, a 17th century castle and another castle on the end of the peninsula are located. Only the part called Beskapilar is still sound. Built during Fatih Sultan Mehmet’s rule and restored during Kanuni’s, Fatih Mosque and Kayalar Mosque are of Ottoman architecture.

Its natural beauties, history, culture, shorelines, white painted houses, good accommodation opportunities, clean beaches and inviting restaurants render Phokaia an alluring town. The bays and caves of the Siren Islands rising from the sea are awe-inspiring for the visitors. Referred in Homer’s Odyssey as hindering the passage to the sailors according to the myth, Siren Island’s stony terrace is ideal for getting excellent sunbathes. One cannot have enough of the view of sunsets as well.

En route Karaburun peninsula the way passes through many fishing villages such as Balikliova, Mordogan, Karaburun with quite bays.

Charming as can be with the mountainous scenery behind Karaburun has excellent hotels, teagardens and restaurants on a row. Karaburun, Foca coasts and the impressing scenery of the Izmir bay can be viewed from the top of the Manastir (Monastery) Mountain.

Cesme

peninsula is on the west of Izmir. The peninsula was named after (Cesme meaning fountain) its numerous water sources in the 18th and 19th centuries. Surrounded by deep blue waters, the peninsula has the most fertile fig greenhouses of Turkey along with anise, sesame, and artichoke fields. The place is ideal with its clean bays for swimming without any disturbance. The alluring accommodation facilities, restaurants, sports and recreational centers offer a wide range of opportunities for vacationers.

Cesme, 80 km away from Izmir, is a port city taking its name from the peninsula. Having been built in the 14th century by Genoese and restored and expanded in the 16th century by the Ottomans, Cesme Castle is a magnificent building reflecting the elegance of the Ottoman architecture. In the museum inside the castle, historical artifacts found in Cesme and environs are exhibited.

Cesme is an adorable holiday resort with its healing thermal spas, hotels and restaurants. The thermal spas offer relaxation and health opportunities. The Caravanserai near the castle built by the Ottoman Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in the 16th century has been converted into a hotel. Agios Haralambos Church from the 19th century serves as an art gallery (Emir Caka).

Souvenirs such as carpets and leather products can be bought at Cesme. Offering a vivacious night-life with its many restaurants, cafés, bars and discotheques Cesme has International Song Contests held every year. During the tourism season ferry trips are arranged between Cesme and Italian ports.

Favorable and frequented resort town Ilica has excellent beaches. The bays are ideal for windsurfing and aquatic sports. While the thermal spas in Ilica are quite favorable, the ones in the Sifne Bay are much preferred. Port of Pasa is a comfortable camping site. Every July on Ilica Bay, the colorful International Cakabey Optimist Yacht race is held. Old Windmills welcome the visitors in Alacati, a delightful and typical Aegean town. Alacati, with its wind supplied turbines and windmills some of which have been converted into attractive restaurants, is a crucial tourism center. Many lovely bays, accessible only by yacht, stretch along the coast southeast of the town.

Erythrai,

located on the 15 km north of Cesme in Ildiri Village, was one of the 12 Ionian Cities. Emerging as an important settlement in 6th century, Erythrai has enhanced in commerce by establishing relations with Egypt, Cyprus and western countries. The city Centrum was the Acropolis. Here the remnants of the Athena Temple can be found. The city has been well-protected as being surrounded by the ramparts from the land. From the top of Acropolis, there is a splendid view of Ildiri Bay and the islands.

Gerence Gulf on the northeast Cesme peninsula can be reached both by sea and land. The natural surroundings offer relaxation while the bay is ideal for water sports. Dalyan, a fishing village, built on a sheltered deep water inlet just north of Cesme, has some of the region's best fish restaurants which border the quay of the lively marina. Many Tourists are attracted by Pirlanta Beach. Camping facilities are available to the south and nearby stretches one of the area's best beaches, the Altinkum Plaji (Golden Beach)

Urla (Klazomenai).

With its affordable holiday and accommodation facilities and serviceable port, Urla is a charming vacation place. It is located in the west of Izmir and it has been one of the 12 Ionian cities with the name of Klazomenai. Urla’s first settlement dates back to B.C. 4000. It is one of the world’s oldest marinas. In the city’s necropolis, terracotta tombs with engravings belonging to B.C. 6-7th century were found in order.

Klazomenai was famous with its pottery, as well. Anaxagoras (B.C. 500- 428), the well known sophist philosopher of the antique times lived in Klazomena. In Urla, there have been left spectacular mosques and fountains from Ottoman times. The house of the poet Yorgo Seferis has been converted into a hotel. The restaurant in Guvendik Hill gives the opportunity to have an excellent view of the islands and the villages. The little fishing village of Cesmealti is also a nice, noteworthy place to see.

The exquisite Sigacik Marina is near Seferihisar town that is located in the south of Cesme Peninsula. In the southwest of this place there are windsurfing places with accommodation facilities of international standards. The yacht center is surrounded by the castles belonging to the Genoese. After seeing the Teos recreational facilities of the national parks and the bays, Dionysus temple may be the next stop. The Teos has been an important port which was settled in the center of the 12 Ionian cities in B.C 1000. The agora, theater, Odeon, city walls and the port pertaining to Hellenistic Era and the Roman Era are still extant today. In Sigacik there is an Ottoman castle, too. Akkum Beach is a perfect choice for the swimming-lovers.

Torbali town that is located in the East of Seferihisar has been the first urban settlement in Metropolis antique city and has been founded in B.C 3rd century. Since it has been devoted to the Mother Goddess, it is named as Metropolis which means “The City of the Mother Goddess”. During the excavation, pottery remnants dating back to B.C 3000 have been found. The city walls that surround a very large area in Acropolis are among the significant examples of the Hellenistic architecture. The region where the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Era’s remnants are densely exist is a recommendable place for the archeology lovers. The Metropolis which fell into the hands of the Aydinogullari in 14th century has been renamed as Kizilhisar in the Ottoman period. The most solid building that survived till present is the stoa built in B.C 4th century.

The Ionian city Colophonia which derives its name from Colophony Mountain has been in strong relationships with the Notion and Klaros. There have been left very few remnants in Colophony where Lydians, Persians, Seleckos and Bergama civilizations once lived. The city has been under the influence of the Crete and Mycenae during the great Ionian migrations. The mythological story of Arakhe, Colophony’s famous embroiderer, is well known. The philosopher Xenophanes who has spread the Ionian philosophy and founded a philosophy school in Greece was Colophonian as well. The 4km city walls belonging to Hellenistic period in Notion area are not in a good condition. The Athena temple, Bouleterion and the theater are some of the noteworthy remnants. In Gumuldur, there are excellent hotels, restaurants and fabulous swimming facilities.

In the east, in Ahmetbeyli (Klaros) there is the Apollon Temple. The current remnants of this temple in Klaros belong to the early Hellenistic Era. It has good fish restaurants as well as nice bays to swim. The curved and scenic coastline stretches from Ahmetbeyli to Pamucak shore in the south. This coast is in the 7 km west of Selcuk. This coast has long sandy beaches and sparkling sea.


SELCUK / EPHESUS


Selcuk located in the South of Izmir is very crucial with its history. Its first settlement is the castle and its surroundings in Ayasuluk Hill. Selcuk has been the center of many civilizations throughout the history. The Ayasuluk name has been altered as Seljuk in 1914. You can see the Ayasuluk Castle on the hill of the city entrance, located downward the castle St. Jean Church built 130m length as a triple-nave basillica by Justinianus in 6th century, below the church the Isabey Mosque one of the most significant and splendid masterpieces of Turkish architecture built in Sultanates’ period in 1375 and lastly the remnants of Artemis Temple which is one of the seven world wonders. The temple, also known as Artemision built in B.C 560-550 by Lydian King Kroisos, has been Hellenistic Era’s the largest and most magnificent building ever made until that time. Unfortunately, there have been left only a few columns and architectural items of this tremendous masterpiece.

Seven Sleepers’ Church built in 5and 6th century is also situated in Selcuk. The four of the estimated 7 floors are seen outside. Reputedly, in the years of 250, seven Christian young men run out of the city with their dog. They take shelter in a cave and sleep in there so as not to offer sacrifice to the Pagans. When they woke up, they send one of them to buy food from the city. However, they learn that they have not had sleep not only for a night but for 309 years and through this time Christianity have been widely spread. These seven young men are buried in the same cave after their demise and a church was built upon their graves.

The Virgin Mary’s House located in Bulbul Mountain is a very crucial visit place especially for the Christians. It has been stated in consul’s records that St Jean and Virgin Mary have been to Ephesus after the death of Jesus Christ. It has been also told that Virgin Mary has had her last days in this house. Yet, the place of the house was forgotten and became a ruin. After the adoption of Christianity, a church in the shape of a cross has been built up right in the place of the house. Moreover, in 1957 it has been declared as the place of pilgrimage for the Christians with the approval of the Pope.

Ephesus, which is 3km away from Selcuk, has been settled over the valley between the Bulbul Mountain and Panayir Mountain in B.C 3000. It has been a very important city in Hellenistic and Roman Era. The oldest archeological remnants date back to B.C 1400-1300. The urbanization in this Ionian city occurred in the 10th century. Ephesus’ most gleaming period has been B.C 6th century. Afterwards, it has fallen into the hands of the Lydians and Persians. Hellenistic period was followed by the Roman period. The city has been resettled in A.D 1st century. Most of the remnants in Ephesus have been from the Roman time. The city has had the entire edifices of the Roman Cities’ like Hadrianus Gate, basilica, agora, water palace, the Turkish Baths (Hamams), Odeon, the fountains, municipality building, the temples, the monuments, prytaneion, Triumphal arch, Marble Street, the theater, gymnasium, octagon, the library. The hillside houses in the centre of the city have been the residences of the elite and the wealthy people and are the examples showing the life styles of the people and these houses are worth to see. The spacious, comfortable houses with the mosaics on the ground and frescos covered on their walls have also a small courtyard in the middle of them. In Ephesus antique city there is also Virgin Mary Church. The structure has first been used as museion (unit of education) in A.D. 2nd century but in 4th century it has been converted into a triple-nave basilica, a church where consul meetings have been hold. The Hamams (Turkish Baths) built in Byzantine Era are also seen in the city. The largest antique city of Turkey that could survive till today is Ephesus. Wandering through Ephesus feels as if you lived in those days. Looking at the Celcus library illuminated at night time and watching an activity in the Theater is an inexpressible pleasure.

The antique philosopher Heraclitus was from Ephesus as well (B.C.540-470) stating that “Everything is relative and intuitive and all things go and nothing stays, and comparing existents to the flow of a river, you could not step twice into the same river."

The Sirince Village on Abihayat Mountain located in 7 km east of Seljuk is well known with its houses bearing the Ottoman architectural touch of 18-19th century. The village has also two churches belonging to 19th century. A small tour accompanied by nice handmade objects, wine and olive oil would be quite enjoyable.

Selcuk is the place that embodies the history, culture, art and natural beauties all in itself. It would absolutely be a mistake to leave the place without visiting the Archeology Museum in the town and without eating “cop sis” in a restaurant