English

The Pearl of the Aegean

The great poet of Izmir, Homeros, described it as ‘the most beautiful city under the sky dome, Aristotle emphasizes to Alexander the importance of İzmir, saying that if you do not see it, you are missing something , the geographer Strabon described it as ‘the most beautiful of all cities’, A city where great writer Victor Hugo wrote poetry in its name and likened it to a ‘princess’ without ever seeing it.

In the west of Turkey and on the Aegean shores is İzmir, the pearl of the Aegean. This city contains all the beauties a city will have. Known for its history dating back to 3000 BC, it has always been the favorite of the kings, emperors and sultans for thousands of years. It became acquainted with various civilizations and became one of the elite cities of the Roman Empire. It became to be one of the important religious centers of the Byzantine Empire, equipped with privileges at the capital level. İt eventually met with the Turkish world and after the period of the Turkish principality, it became a coastal city of the Ottoman Empire. As a result of the conditions and geographical location of the time, a small town participated in the most important port cities of the Mediterranean world. The name of Izmir comes from an Amazon queen named ‘Smyrna’ according to the rumors, this city was conquered by the Turks and then started to be called in the form of “Ismir”. The name “Smyrna” was used throughout its long history turns into “İzmir” which we use today.

In the history of İzmir, Ephesus Antique City has very different characteristics. The Temple of Artemis, one of the world’s 7 wonders, is here. The works unearthed in the ancient city of Ephesus, where the traces of settled life extend back to 6000 BC, offer us a great opportunity of understanding the life of that period. Ephesus is visited by many tourists because of its closeness to Izmir city center and Kuşadası. When you visit Ephesus, you should definitely visit Şirince Village and Mother Mary’s house.

Also the ancient city of Bergama in the north of İzmir is also known as the city of Asklepios, the god of health in the Greek mythology. In the ancient city of Bergama, the Hellenistic period shops, the ruins of the ancient king Athalos, the city square, the sacred Athena area, the library, the theater and the temple of Dionysus are places to be seen. İzmir is a dynamic city in economic and social terms, because of its location, climate and hosting of different cultures and religions. The Persians, the Ancient Greeks, the Assyrians, the Romans, the Byzantines and the Ottomans are just a few of the dozens of different civilizations that the city has had throughout its long history.

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The people of İzmir live by accepting all the differences without interfering with each other’s lives. İzmir is a city that has absorbed freedom, liberation, modernism and peace soul. Not only in the human being, but also in the seagull, at the sea’s edge, at the coolness of the wind, feeling the sense of freedom that has been processed into them. Çeşme comes first in the holiday centers in Izmir. Especially Alaçatı is flocked to by people because of surfing, nightlife every summer. With its fine and white sands Ilıca Beach in Çeşme is world-famous. Dalyan attracts tourists with its natural beauty and live entertainment, and is also famous for its fish.

Old Foça is a place frequented by holidaymakers for its endangered Mediterranean Seals, Siren Rocks, Castle, historical monuments, magnificent nature, barbun fish and gilt-head bream. If you want to have a nice Turkish coffee after eating at the famous restaurants with old fish and meals in Old Foça or New Foça, then you should turn your route to Kozbeyli Village. The Kozbeyli is famous for its historical mosque, stone houses, pine and olive trees, sea view, a village with authentic dishes and most importantly dibek coffee.  Besides delicious fish, herbs and olive oil dishes are the musts of İzmir cuisine. Olive oil has been used in İzmir cuisine for almost 2500 years. The ancient city of Klazomenai Ion in Urla is the oldest example of olive oil factories in the world. Olive oil dishes are very popular in İzmir. It is not possible to say that İzmir is fully refined in its culinary culture. Because, besides the Ottoman cooking traditions in İzmir cuisine, Jewish, Armenian and Greek tastes are also seen. Also the Italian and French influences are pretty much too.

İzmir is the 3rd largest city of Turkey, with 8,500 years of history, has hosted 32 civilizations, which left unique dishes as inheritance. With favorable climatic conditions, waiting for you to discover every tone of the blue of the sea.

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Atahan Gokce

Categories: English, Reportage

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