Racking up 4,000 years of recorded urban history, Izmir impresses visitors with its variety of well-preserved classical sites. The wealthy seaside city is also a key part of Turkey’s modern development plan, with new apartments, offices, and public buildings dominating its skyline.
Things to do in Izmir
In Izmir, you can get a comprehensive grasp of what the classical world must have looked like many years ago, as so many ancient Greek structures remain. A mythical figure, the tomb of Tantalus stands on Mount Yamanlar above the city, while the Agora Open Air Museum displays the remains of the port city of Smyrna. Archaeologists working here have found artefacts from the Lydian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine period, as well as from the later Ottoman Empire.
Walking around Konak you can get a sense of the old and new lying side by side. The Kadifekale is a 2,500-year-old castle, while the grand bazaar dates back to medieval times. Built by the French in 1901, you can also admire the more modern clock tower in Konak Square, nestled in front of the official residence of Izmir’s governor.
Locals claim that Konak’s pier was designed by Gustave Eiffel from the Eiffel Tower fame, though that may be wishful thinking. In any case, it’s a photo-worthy structure, located near Izmir Ethnography Museum and the city’s History and Arts Museum.
Getting around Izmir
Izmir has a fully integrated public transport system which incorporates bus, ferry and metro lines. Public ferries are an easy way to travel along the coast, while the metro links sites like Konak Square with Bornova.