Izmir’s lined avenues, sweeping promenades, mild climate, and great hotels make Izmir not just a great holiday destination but also a fabulous base from which to explore Turkey’s stunning Aegean region.
Izmir was one of the most important of the cities that were part of the Ionian federation in the first millennium B.C. Izmir was ruled variously by the Central Anatolian Hittites, the Lydians, the Persians, the Romans, the Byzantines, and the Seljuk Turks until it became part if the Ottoman Empire in 1415, under Sultan Mehmet Celebi.
Famous for once being the hometown of Homer, present day Izmir is a vibrant cosmopolitan town which still retains its old-world charm and character. The symbol of Izmir is Saat Kulesi (Clock Tower) which stands in the heart of the city, at Konak Square, in all its ornate Ottoman-style glory. For a glimpse of Izmir’s glorious past, visit its ancient Agora which was originally built for Alexander the Great; the Saint Polycarp Church which was reconstructed in 1620 and is the oldest church in Izmir; the Kizlaragast Han, a superb example of 18th century Ottoman architecture; the Hisar Mosque, the oldest and the largest in Izmir; and the old Asansor quarter with its historical elevator.
Izmir has some wonderful museums whether it is history you want to delve into or local traditions. The Izmir Archaeological Museum has a fascinating collection of Roman artefacts including a frieze of the funeral games at Belevi and the head of a massive statue of Domitian from Ephesus. Housed in a beautiful old four-storeyed stone building, the Izmir Ethnography Museum has a superb collection of Bergama and Gordes carpets and traditional costumes, and vibrant displays depicting local arts and crafts. Other interesting museums include the Ataturk Museum, the Fine Arts Museum, the Selcuk Yasar Arts Museum, and the Museum of History and Art.
Over the years, Izmir has built up an enviable reputation as one of Turkey’s cultural hubs-treat yourself to a musical concert, ballet or opera at the Izmir Cultural Centre, or take in a performance of the Aegean Philharmonic Orchestra which calls Izmir home. This vibrant city also hosts the Izmir International Festival which attracts a variety of local and international artistes every year.
Browse through the many lanes of the Kemeralti Market area for great antiques, jewellery, clothes, the famous Turkish ‘evil eye’ and Izmir’s famous dried figs and raisins. For some more exclusive shopping, head to Alsancak, Kursiyaka, Cumhuriyet Avenue and Pasaport. Indulge in some fresh seafood at one of the many wonderful fish restaurants in Kemeralti – try the local specialties tranca and cipura which are two delicious varieties of sea bream. On an evening out, head to one of the atmospheric bars and cafes around Kordonboyu, Pasaport Pier and Karsiyaka. Alsancak, with its beautiful-restored old houses, has been converted into a promenade with great restaurant and bars. For the best views in town, watch the stunning sunset from the top of Kadifekale (Mount Pagus) with its ancient ruined castle, built during the reign of Alexander the Great to overlook the Gulf of Izmir.
Above all Izmir is a jumping off point for the magnificent Aegean region which is dotted with pristine beaches, olive groves, pine woods, idyllic villages, quaint fishing harbours, and the remains of ancient civilizations. From Izmir, venture further afield along the Aegean coast and explore fascinating Ephesus, Pergamum, Troy and Assos. Car hire Izmir is the best way to explore these places at your own pace.
World-famous for its stunning ruins, Ephesus is just 44 miles away from Izmir which can be easily visited by car rental in Turkey. One of the most majestic and well –preserved buildings of Ephesus is the Great Theatre, the largest in Asia Minor, with a capacity of over 24000 people. Other monuments worth seeing include the beautifully-restored Library of Celsus, the Trade Agora, and the Temple of Serapes. The writings of Homer and Virgil are synonymous with Helen of Troy, Paris, Achilles and Alexander the Great. The ancient city of Troy, located near Canakkale, has a wealth of archaeological sites which transport visitors back to the legendary past of this long-lost kingdom.
A famous historical teaching centre, Assos is the place where Aristotle lived and taught for three years. Watch the sunset over the Aegean from the spectacular ruins of the Temple of Athena on the Acropolis of Assos . One of Turkey’s most spectacular natural wonders, Pamukkale or ‘Cotton Castle’ is a stunning, surreal landscape with its dazzling white calcareous ‘castles’ formed by limestone-laden thermal springs. The thermal spring waters are believed to be highly curative so you may either want to take a dip here in one of the many fine hotels, or explore the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis. Car hire Izmir is a launching spot to visit all these highlights of any visit to Turkey.
MySelf Kathy Green and traveling is my passion, I like to travel in different destinations all over the world and I mostly prefer to book my car by car rental Turkey service. Car hire in Izmir service in Turkey made my last trip succesful and enjoyed a lot.