Izmir, the city of HomerBerlin, 20.03.2015
Izmir, the big Turkish metropolis on the Aegean, attracts visitors from all over the world with its thousands of years of culture, sophisticated urbanity and unrivalled beaches. Many legends surround Izmir, formerly known as Smyrna. It was, for instance, said to have been founded by the renowned female warriors, the Amazons. Izmir, in any case, looks back on more than 5000 years of history. It is considered the native city of the famous Greek poet Homer and, despite its long history, has managed to bridge the gap between antiquity and the modern age. Today 4.1 million people live in Izmir, making the city the third largest in Turkey. Izmir is seen as being modern and tolerant. The city lies in a beautiful bay, which enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate the whole year round. The summers are hot and dry, but there is a refreshing and pleasant light sea breeze. Even in winter, Izmir is an ideal destination, thanks to its mild temperatures. The city is very appealing to visitors with the most varied of expectations. Sun-seekers can enjoy the beach life and turquoise water in small bays, and cultural visitors will be in their element experiencing the many traces of classical antiquity.
Museums and sightseeing
One of the city’s famous landmarks and tourist highlights is the Clock Tower in the harbour. The 25-metre high marble tower erected in 1901 was a present to the city from Sultan Abdülhamid II. Another attraction is the central square of the ancient city of Smyrna, the Agora. The ancient remains of this former marketplace now comprise an outdoor museum. Visitors wishing to catch a glimpse of typical 19th Century city life are recommended to visit the Museum of Ethnography. It is considered Izmir’s most important museum and is located in a former hospital. Directly next door is the Archaeology Museum, which presents the country’s most significant finds, including important statues and mosaics as well as glass and ceramic artefacts. The Kemeralti Bazaar is considered one of the most beautiful and authentic historical markets in Turkey. A myriad of traders present their wares here, such as the oriental sweet baklava, lamps, jewellery, and much more. Visitors can also shop to their heart’s content in modern shopping malls, where they will find all the big fashion chains.
Izmir’s hinterland is rich in treasures of the ancient world. The ancient city of Pergamum, today called Bergama, is only around 80 kilometres away. The limestone terrace formations of Pamukkale, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are easy to reach from Izmir. These exceptional limestone deposits were formed by geothermal water and gleam white in the midst of the green landscape.
Adnan Menderes Airport, named after the former Turkish prime minister, is Turkey’s fourth biggest airport. It is located 18 kilometres south of Izmir and is easy to reach by road and rail. From 5 May, Germanwings will connect Berlin Tegel to Izmir twice a week. The route will be served on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The flight time is just under three hours. SunExpress also flies daily to Izmir from Tegel.