Izmir – Turkey’s Enchanting Hangout Destination
The third most populous city in Turkey, Izmir is located on the Aegean Coast and also serves as a port city. Sprawling on an area of 7,340.00 km2 of land, it is at an elevation of 2 meters above sea level and is home to more than 4,113,072 residents that live in the Izmir province. Izmir is among the most historical cities in the country and was known as Smyrna during the ancient times. The name was changed to Izmir on 28th March 1930 when the Turkish Postal Service Law was passed. A historical city, Izmir is believed to have been among the oldest settlements of the Mediterranean basin. It served an important port city during the rule of Alexander the Great around 340 BC. Izmir was also ruled by the Roman and Ottoman Empire during some point in history. It became an international port city only in the 16th century when the English, French and Dutch came here for trade of cotton and other products. The city’s turbulent political history led to major destruction during the Greco-Turkish War and it was practically rebuilt in 1923 when it came under the control of the Turkish Republic.
Adnan Menderes International Airport is the major international airport and all flights coming to Izmir land at this airport. Located at a distance of 18 km from the city, the airport is directly connected to numerous domestic as well as international destinations. The city experiences Mediterranean type of climate and features long dry summer to cool and damp winters. While the city records an average temperature of 30 and 36 °C, temperatures during winters range from 10 and 16 °C. The months from November to March receive the highest amount of rainfall and snowfall is uncommon. While this is an all the year round destination, the peak tourist season lasts from April to October. Annual International İzmir Festival from Mid-June till Mid-July, İzmir European Jazz Festival, International İzmir Short Film Festival and İzmir International Fair are among the major tourist festivals celebrated in the city.
A historical city famed for its innumerable heritage attractions, there are so many other things to see and do in Izmir. Tomb of Tantalus located on the Mount Yamanlar is a landmark attraction known for its historical traces. The Izmir Clock tower is another major attraction in the city. Standing at a height of 25 meters, it is a beautiful marble structure designed by Levantine French architect Raymond Charles Père. Another major spot, Asansör, is illustrious for its elevator which was earlier operated by water driven mechanism. Built by a Jewish businessman in 1907, tourists can enjoy the beautiful views of the city from atop.
The Kemeraltı bazaar has been operational since the Ottoman times and is a must visit place for shopping as well as history aficionados. İzmir Bird Paradise is a famous bird sanctuary in in Çiğli and here tourists can sight more than 205 species of birds that live in this 80 square kilometers protected area for water birds and for their breeding. Basmane Train Station, Karsiyaka, Forum Bornova Shopping Center, Kadifekale, İzmir Commodity exchange Building, Beaches, Konak Quay, Museum of Ethnography and Konak Square are the prime tourist attractions in Izmir.
Eating and Shopping
The cuisine of Izmir is largely influenced by the multi-cultural antiquity that has prevailed here. Inspired by the Aegean and Mediterranean regions, the local cuisine also includes reflections of from Eastern and South East Anatolia regions. Fresh vegetables and sea food are the staple food of the locals along with variety of meat and cheeses. Some of the local delicacies which you should not miss here are - Turkish Kebab, Doner Kebab, Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza), Yaprak Sarma, Dolma, Turkish Rice And Chicken, Karnıyarık, Mercimek, Yogurt Soup, Tarhana Soup, Baklava, , Kadayıf, Künefe, Lokma, Sütlaç, Ayran Şalgam Juice and Boza. The city is as famous for its food cart and street food as it is for having some of the fine dining restaurants and luxury hotels. Wandering around the city and local markets on foot is the best way to enjoy authentic local fare of Izmir. The city is also popular for its nightlife and Kıbrıs Şehitleri Caddesi in Alsancak and Gazi Kadinlar Street are the spots where most of the pubs are located.
While the city is flooded with high end stores, glamorous boutiques and large malls, but when in Izmir you should enjoy shopping at the open air markets and local bazar which have an unequivocal charm. Kemeraltı is the major local bazaar from where you can buy plenty of local stuff, souvenir and traditional items. Like other parts of turkey, Izmir too is famous for its carpets, rugs, ceramics, kilims, Antiques, Brass & Copper utensils, Turkish evil eye beads, jewellery, leather items, silk and hand crafted wooden items.
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