Izmir is the third biggest city in Turkey, with a population of around 4.168.415 , the second biggest port after Istanbul, and a good transport hub. Known in Turkish as "Beautiful Izmir" the city lies at the head of a long and narrow gulf furrowed by ships and yachts. Once the ancient city of Smyrna, it is now a modern, developed, and busy commercial centre, set around a huge bay and surrounded by mountains and was. The broad boulevards, glass-fronted buildings and modern shopping centres are dotted with traditional red-tiled roofs, the 18th century market, and old mosques and churches, although the city has an atmosphere more of Mediterranean Europe than traditional Turkey.
The long attractive palm-fringed promenade, Birince Kordon, which stretches the entire length of the city up to the Alsancak Ferry Terminal, is a popular spot for evening walks, and there are many cafes along the waterfront. Izmir has a good selection of culture and entertainment, from the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museums, to the Izmir State Opera and Ballet and Izmir State Symphony Orchestra, to the many bars and clubs.
The region of Izmir has a typical Mediterranean climate and is a wonderful destination all year round. Although the summer months are from April to October, the area is blessed with the cooling Imbat breeze, which blows off the Aegean Sea, in November the average temperatures range between 11 – 19ºC.Izmir enjoys a temperate climate with mild winters and warm summers, which is probably why the street life is so lively.
The region has been inhabited since 3000 AD so the area is rich in historical sites, these can be found within the city (Kadifekale - Bayrakli) but also within a short drive you can find Efesus, Pregamum, Sardis, Teos and many more places to explore. The original city was established in the third millennium B.C. (at present day Bayrakli), at which time it shared with Troy the most advanced culture in Western Anatolia. By 1500 B.C. it had fallen under the influence of the Central Anatolian Hittite Empire. In the first millenium B.C. Izmir, then known as Smyrna, ranked as one of the most important cities of the Ionian Federation. During this period, one of the city's most brilliant, it is believed that Homer resided here. Lydian conquest of the city, around 600 B.C., brought this period to an end. Izmir remained little more than a village throughout the Lydian and subsequent sixth-century B.C. Persian rule. In the fourth century B.C. a new city was built on the slopes of Mt. Pagos (Kadifekale) during the reign of Alexander the Great. Izmir's Roman period, beginning in the first century B.C., was its second great era. Byzantine rule followed in the fourth century and lasted until the Seljuk conquest in the 11th century. In 1415, under Sultan Mehmet Celebi, Izmir became part of the Ottoman Empire.Following the Turkish revolutionary war much of the city needed to be rebuilt; as a result the city today is an interesting mixture of modern High rise buildings with wide tree lined boulevards. There are still many traditional houses and chateaus hidden away to discover though.
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