Izmir's history goes back to roughly 3000 B.C. when the city was founded by the Trojans. Today, Izmir is one of Turkey's largest cities, and over 3.5 million people live there. It's also an important port on the Central Aegean coast as well as a major transport hub. The city itself is modern and well developed, surrounded by mountains and comprising a bustling commercial centre and a large bay. Visitors will enjoy strolling along the broad boulevards and around the sweeping harbour with its stylish waterfront restaurants and popular pier. There's plenty of shopping in the city, with modern shopping centres as well as a famous market which has been running since the 18th century. The city has many traditional mosques and churches, which are fascinating to visit and lovely to behold. Alongside its religious roots, it's a liberal and cultural place with a rich heritage reflecting its multicultural origins. Other must-see attractions include an impressive history and art museum, a castle and a wildlife park. Visitors can enjoy annual events such as the September International Fair, the June/July International Festival and the springtime European Jazz Festival.
Things to Do
In addition to sun, sea and sand, Izmir has great shopping and an iconic main square with a laid-back atmosphere, not to mention a lively nightlife.
Hang out in Konak Square
Konak Square is the main square in the city centre with a prominent clock tower dating back to 1901. The square is a relaxing a sociable place and nearby are the Konak Yali Mosque and Kemeraltı Bazaar.
Relax on the beach
Thanks to its coastline on the Aegean sea, the city has plenty of lovely beaches not too far away from the centre. With public transport available to most, the best beaches include Çeşme, Dikili, Foça, Seferihisar and Urla.
Views, shopping and partying in Karsiyaka
This district of the city affords wonderful views over Konak and Alsancak. There's also a buzzing nightlife and one of the city's major pedestrianised shopping areas. Located 4 miles from the city centre, it can be reached by ferry or Izban.
Calendar of Events
Izmir enjoys a full socio-cultural calendar with events, exhibitions and festivals all year round. Some of the best include the International Fair and European Jazz Festival, helping to make the city even more worthy of a visit.
The International Fair. Every September for more than 80 years, the annual International Fair has been hosting concerts, jazz nights, street artists and theatre and musical performances by local, national and international artists, bringing the city to life.
The International Festival. In June/July, the International Festival hosts many world-class performers, including solo musicians, orchestras, dance groups and rock and jazz groups who all perform at venues across the city.
The European Jazz Festival. The Izmir Foundation for Culture, Arts and Education organises the annual springtime European Jazz Festival, which aims to unite jazz musicians and fans and promotes love, friendship and peace against the backdrop of jazz.