Top things to do & see: Izmir, Turkey

The city of Izmir has a very long history, dating back to more than 5000 years. Due to a great fire that took place in 1922, there are not many historical places left to be visited. However, those sites that survived are enough to make a stay in the city of Izmir a good and pleasant experience. Many well documented museums are now available for tourists and the surrounding region abounds in ancient, Byzantine, medieval and Ottoman heritage sites.

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One of the best places to spend a few hours in Izmir is the Hisar mosque with the adjacent Kemeralti Bazaar and Kizlargasasi Han. The mosque is the largest in the city, constructed between 1592 and 1598, and represents one of the best examples of Ottoman architecture that can be found in Izmir. Next to the mosque is the main tourist attraction, the city's covered market. It is a place with typical Turkish atmosphere where anything is sold and bought. Kizlaragasi Han, built in 1744, is the heart of the Kemeralti Bazaar, one of the oldest buildings that remained after the great fire.

Right in the center of the historical part of Konak, there is the Konak Square that hosts Izmir's landmark Clock Tower. This is where locals and tourists alike mingle. The area is very popular during sunset. In front of the square is the Izmir ferry pier. The Bazaar is 5 minutes away and the Kordon, the city's promenade where most of the cafes and bars are located, is within walking distance.

 

The largest park of Izmir is the Kulturpark, a green area, popular with locals that come here for jogging and with tourists that want to take a break from the city noise. It is located in the Konak district. During the first days of September, the Izmir International Fair is held in the pavilions of the park. The fair draws artists and artisans from various regions of Turkey, as well as from other countries. 

The Archaeology Museum is the most appreciated in Izmir. Established in 1924, it gathered ancient Greek and Roman, as well as prehistoric artifacts from the neighboring areas of the Aegean region of Turkey. It is located in the Konak district on the Halit Rifat Pasa Caddesi and it is opened every day, except Mondays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., with a break between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. The entering price is $3.50 for adults and it includes all galleries.