September 2010
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Izmir: Located in Turkey, a pearl of the Aegean Sea




Izmir is Turkey’s third largest city and second most important port, situated along the waters of the Gulf of Izmir, which is connected to the Aegean Sea. It is the capital of the Izmir province with a population of around 4 million people, making it one of the most densely populated areas of Turkey. Known in the Ancient world as “Smyrna”, it is a city of immense beauty lined with palm trees, avenues, green parks and its curvy outline overlooking the crystal clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea makes it all the more beautiful. Fishing harbours, holiday villages and ruins of ancient civilizations are scattered all over the city of Izmir. Besides its beauty, Izmir is also an important industrial and commercial centre of Turkey producing cotton, dyes, tobacco, foodstuffs and cement etc.
NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) has its site for commanding land forces in South Eastern Europe, in Izmir. The city itself is a wonder to visit. Konak Square and Konak Street give you a feel of the city, with the symbol of the city, the famous clock tower, located there. Now a busy commercial centre, it has modern buildings and shopping centres with traditional red tiled roofs, glass fronts, an 18th century market and old Churches and Mosques. The famous landmarks include the Agora of Smyrna and the ancient aqueducts of Kizilcullu. The famous ancient city of Ephesus lies 50 km to the south. Izmir is also considered one the most modern and liberal cities of Turkey, and with a huge student population, it has a colourful nightlife as well. All in all, Izmir makes a perfect tourist destination with something for everyone.

Best time to visit /Climate:

Izmir has a typical Mediterranean climate with long, hot and dry summers and cool rainy winters. During summers from May to October, the temperatures during daytime can reach up to 30 degrees C. Temperatures as high as 46 degrees C have also been recorded on a number of occasions. The temperatures during winters, December to February, vary between 12 to 14 degrees C. Most of the rainfall occurs from November to March, with virtually no rainfall in June, July and August.
The best time to visit Izmir is in spring from March to early May and in autumn from September to November, when the weather is mild. But tourists love to visit Izmir during the hot summers to enjoy the beaches, from April to October.

Location on Google Maps:

View Larger Map

Driving directions from Ankara to Izmir:


View Larger Map

HOW TO GET THERE:

By Plane: The Adnan Menderes International Airport is well connected to other Turkish cities and many International destinations. Havas runs shuttle buses from the airport to the city. Getting around in a taxi might get a bit expensive, making the buses the best option.

By Train: “Basmane” is Izmir’s intercity railway station. The other railway station, “Alsancak”, runs mainly on local routes. Main intercity services are from Ankara and Denizli. To go to Istanbul, there is a train till Bandirma, from where a ferry has to taken to Istanbul.

By Bus: There is a large intercity bus terminal, the “Otgar”, which has many intercity buses running at regular intervals. The terminal is loaded with modern facilities of eating, drinking and a cyber cafe.

PLACES TO STAY (HOTELS / RESTAURANTS ALONG WITH WEBSITE / CONTACT NUMBERS):

There are many hotels of all kinds and places to stay in Izmir, to suit everybody’s budget. Some of the top rated hotels are given below:
1. Moevenpick Hotel Izmir
Cumhuriyet Blv 138, Izmir 35210, Turkey
2. Swissotel Grand Efes Izmir
Gaziosmanpasa Bulvari No: 1, Izmir 35210, Turkey
3. Park Hotel Izmir
1366 Sokak 6 Basmane, Izmir, Turkey
4. Hilton Izmir
Gazi Osmanpasa Bulvari No 7, Izmir 35210, Turkey

Source: Trip Advisor

In Izmir there are a number of places to satisfy your appetite, from local cafes to restaurants offering fancy international cuisine. Izmir’s cuisine is largely influenced by the surrounding Aegean, Mediterranean and Anatolian regions. Some of Izmir’s common dishes are the tarhana soup (prepared from dried yoghurt and tomatoes), Izmir kofte (boiled wheat with meat), zerde (sweetened rice and saffron) and mucver (prepared from zucchini and eggs). Boyoz and lokma are pastries associated with Izmir.
Some of the top rated restaurants are given below:
1. Bistrom Cafe Restaurant Bar
Cumhuriyet Bulvari No.123 P/A | Alsancak, Izmir 35930, Turkey
Phone:+902324213354
2. St. John Cafe Shop
Ugur Mumcu Sevgi Yolu No: 4/C | P. K. 64 TR – 35920 Ephesus – Selçuk, Izmir, Turkey
Phone: +90 (0) 232 892 40 05, Website: www.stjohn316.net/
3. Reyhan pastahanesi
Alsancak, Izmir, Turkey
4. La cigale
Cumhuriyet Bulvari No: 152, Izmir, Turkey

Source: Trip Advisor

BLOGS / SITES ABOUT ISTANBUL (WITH SMALL EXCERPTS FROM THESE BLOGS):

1. A brief history (http://wikitravel.org/en/Izmir)
The history of Izmir stretches back to around 3000 BC when the Trojans founded the city in Tepekule in the northern suburb of Bayrakli. This was the birthplace of Homer, who was thought to have lived here around the 8th century BC. The Aeolians, the first Greek settlers, were eventually taken over by the (also Greek) Ionians, and then the Lydian’s destroyed the city around 600BC before a brief recovery following Alexander the Great’s arrival in 334 BC. After his death, Alexander’s generals followed his wishes and re-established Smyrna on Mount Pagos in Kadifekale, and the city then prospered under the Romans. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 178 AD but later reconstructed and became a major commercial port.
2. Things to do, sightseeing and attractions:
http://www.izmir.com/where_to_go.htm
• One of the more pronounced elements of Izmir harbor is the Clock Tower, a beautiful marble tower that rests in the middle of the Konak district, standing 25 meters in height. It was designed by the Levantine French architect Raymond Charles Père in 1901 for the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the ascension of Abdülhamid II. The clock workings themselves were given as a gift to the then Ottoman Empire by Kaiser Wilhelm II. The tower features four fountains which are placed around the base in a circular pattern, and the columns are inspired by North African themes.
http://www.kultur.gov.tr/EN/Genel/BelgeGoster.aspx?17A16AE30572D31395FB1C5180B6EBD6E6FBFC11A78C4694
• Kemeralt? Bazaar: The big bazaar in the city centre stretches from the coast road to the Konak area, and is a major shopping centre with a vast array of goods inside. It combines modern businesses, shops and cafes, with antiques, dried fruit, household and leather goods in old alleyways with vaults and domes.
Inside the bazaar, there is one of the most interesting structures of Izmir: Kizlaragasi Hani is an Ottoman caravanserai inside the Halim Aga Bazaar and was completed in 1745. This covered market sells hand-made products, carpets, leather and souvenirs. There are many entrances to the markets, from Basmane, Konak and Anafartalar. Konak is one of the oldest areas of the city, with most of the buildings that survived the great fire, although the traditional areas are gradually being modernized. This is the location of the city’s landmark; the Saat Kulesi (Ottoman clock tower) decorated with tiles.

3. Map of Izmir: http://www.welt-atlas.de/datenbank/karten/karte-1-311.gif

4. Photo Gallery:
1. Photos of Izmir by a traveler: http://www.pbase.com/dosseman/izmir
2. Izmir picture gallery: http://www.turkishclass.com/turkey_pictures_gallery_16

5. You Tube Videos:
1. City of heaven: Izmir
A video that showcase’s the beauty of Izmir.

2. A small tour of Izmir city:




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