From Academic Kids

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Shows the Location of the Province İzmir
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Izmir from space, June 1996

Izmir (Turkish spelling İzmir, contraction of its original Greek name Smyrna, Σμυρνη), the second-largest port (after İstanbul) and the third most populous city (2,409,000 in 2000) of Turkey is located on the Aegean Sea near the Gulf of Izmir. It is the capital of the Izmir Province.



(More complete history at Smyrna.)

The 5000 year-old city, is one of the oldest cities of the Mediterranean basin. The original city was established in the third millennium BC (at present day Bayraklı,Karsiyaka), at which time it shared with Troy the most advanced culture in Anatolia. By 1500 BC it had fallen under the influence of Central Anatolian Hittite Empire. Greek settlement is attested by the presence of pottery dating from about 1000 BC. According to the famous Greek historian Herodotus (from Halicarnassus, modern-day Bodrum) the city was first established by the Aeolians, but shortly thereafter seized by the Ionians who developed it into one of the world's largest cultural and commercial centers of that period. In the first millennium BC 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 BC, brought this period to an end. Smyrna remained little more than a village throughout the Lydian and subsequent sixth century BC Persian rule. In the fourth century BC a new city was built on the slopes of Mt. Pagos (Kadifekale) during the reign of Alexander the Great. Smyrna's Roman period, beginning in the first century BC, was its second great era. Smyrna, one of the first seats of Christianity, later became known as one of the Seven Churches of Asia, to which the Book of Revelation was sent by John the Apostle. Byzantine rule followed in the fourth century and lasted until the Seljuk conquest in 11th century. In 1415, under Sultan Mehmed elebi, Smyrna became part of the Ottoman Empire.

The city earned its fame as one of the most important port-cities of the world during the 17th-19th centuries, when the majority of its population were Greek while merchants from a variety of origins (especially Greek, French, Italian, Dutch, Armenian, Sephardi and Jewish,) transformed the city into a cosmopolitan portal of trade. During this period, the city was famous for its own brand of music (Smyrneika) as well as its wide range of products it exported to Europe (Smyrna/Sultana raisins, dried figs, carpets, etc.).

After World War I, when Greece had sided with the entente powers against Turkey and the other Central Powers, the Great Powers awarded parts of Asia Minor, including the city of Smyrna to Greece. At that time, however, the Turkish nationalists, led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, overthrew the Ottoman government, declared the creation of the Republic of Turkey, while organising the Turkish War of Independence ending with Greek defeat. Many quarters of the city of Smyrna/Izmir was set ablaze. Hundreds of Greeks were forced to leave Smyrna. Then, after the Treaty of Lausanne, Greeks of Turkey left for mainland Greece in an exchange with Turks living in mainland Greece. George Horton, the Consul-General of the United States in the Near East, in Smyrna in 1922, wrote The Blight of Asia, an eyewitness account of these events and the politics that surrounded them.

From 1961 to 1963, iğli Air Base near Izmir, hosted fifteen mobile U.S. Jupiter IRBM nuclear armed missiles. The fifteen missiles were spread among five launch sites in the mountains near Izmir, Turkey. The Turkish Air Force ultimately controlled the missiles, but U.S. Air Force personnel had control of the arming of the nuclear warheads. The deployment of these missiles in Turkey prompted the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962. As part of the settlement of the crisis, they were removed in April 1963. The exact locations of the five sites with three missiles each, is still secret more than 40 years later.

Modern Izmir

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The clock tower in Izmir's Konak Square

Today, Izmir is Turkey's third largest city and is nicknamed "Occidental Izmir" or "The pearl of Aegean". It is widely regarded as the most Westernized city of Turkey in terms of values, ideology, lifestyle, and gender roles. It is a stronghold of CHP.

The city hosts an international arts festival during June/July, and an international fair during August/September every year.

Modern Izmir also incorporates world-famous ancient cities like Ephesus, Pergamon, and Sardis. Turkish Internet phenomenon Mahir Cagri is a resident.

Izmir will host the Summer Universiade in 2005.


  • "İzmir and the Aegean Region", a brochure prepared by Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Tourism, 2002, İstanbul.

Media mentioning Izmir

The novel/play Slow Train to Izmir by Mark Angus(?).

The book "Smyrna 1922 - The Destruction of a City" by Marjorie Housepian Dobkin.

The book "Scotch and Holy Water" by Graham Hancock.

The novel "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides (2002).

External links

el:Σμύρνη es:İzmir fr:İzmir it:Smirne nl:Izmir ja:イズミル pl:Izmir pt:Esmirna sv:Izmir tr:İzmir (il)


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