A Day Full of History

Watch Izmir from ''Asansör'' (the Historical Elevator)

One of the works of art of the recent period in the city center to be seen is the Historical Elevator. Giving its name to the district in which it is located, the Historical Elevator is the best structure to watch İzmir's view, thanks to its location. Built by a businessman in 1907, the elevator operates electrically today, whereas it used to operate with water power. The world-famous singer, Dario Moreno, once lived on the street where the Elevator is located. There is also a statue of the famous artist at the beginning of the street; there is also a cafe and a stylish restaurant where you can have a good time.


Don't forget to take a picture in front of the Clock Tower!

The Historical Clock Tower, one of the most well-known landmarks of Izmir, is at Konak Square. The Clock Tower was built in 1901 as a tribute to the 25th anniversary of the succession of the throne of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. On the tower, the four clocks on the external surfaces were donated by the German Emperor Wilhelm II. Having pigeons flying around all the time, the architect of the Historical Clock Tower, one of the city's landmarks wıth its elegant marble fountains, is M. Raymond Pere. One of the things that visitors of İzmir always do is to be photographed in front of the Clock Tower and to feed the birds flying around.



Greet the journalist Hasan Tahsin

The First Bullet Monument in Konak was built on behalf of the journalist Osman Nevres, also known as Hasan Tahsin. Osman Nevres was born in 1888 in Selanik; he graduated from the School of Polıtıcal Scıences in Paris. During the years of the War of Independence. he settled in Izmir and began to publish a newspaper. The Hasan Tahsin Monument was built on behalf of the fallen journalist Osman Nevres, who shot the first bullet to the troops invading Izmir on May 15, 1919. Izmir Fellowship of Journalists made the sculptor Turgut Pura buıld the monument, located in front of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, and opened it in 1974.



Visit the elegant Yalı Mosque

Yalı Mosque, a rare work of art located in the Konak Square, is also known as ''Konak Mosque'' among the people. The Mosque, which is a symbol of the square like the Clock Tower, was built in the 18th century inside a madrasa that was located in the same place. The Mosque remained at a lower level as the ground level was raised during the Konak Square arrangements. Therefore, you need to take three steps down to enter the building. There is a small courtyard surrounding the mosque. Around the Mosque, there is the Government House, Izmir Metropolitan Municipality building, and public institutions.

 

The building witnessing the city's history: the Government House

Today's Government House was built in place of the wooden Katipzade Mansion that was used as Izmir Governorship service building for many years, The region's name ''Konak'' is derived from this old mansion, which is called ''Hükumet Konağı'' in Turkish. Becoming ruined and inadequate over time, this building was demolished since Izmir's importance grew gradually and important government offices needed to be gathered under a single roof. At the same place, the new government building came into service in 1872. This building, which witnessed the most important historical developments in the city, such as the invasion of İzmir in 1919 and the war of independence in 1922, was destroyed completely due to a fire in 1970. In place of the destroyed building, today's building that is located at Konak Square was built, remaining true to the original one. However, today's multi-storey buildings were built in place of the buildings surrounding the Government House.

 

There are many institutions in service where The Government House, the administrative center of Izmir, is located today - some of which are Konak District Governorship, Izmir Police Headquarters, and Izmir Revenue Office.

 

The temple of researchers: The National Library Building

The National Library, one of the most important libraries in the country, was built in 1912. First, it went into service in a small portion reserved for men in Salepçioğlu Mansion at Beyler Street. Today's building came into service in 1933. The building that is located next to the library and used as the State Opera today was a movie theater, which was built in order to bring in income for the library. This movie theatre came into service in 1926, before the library. When the theatre was built, it was referred to as ''Alhambra Theatre''. The blueprints of the building were drawn up by Tahsin Sermet. Both the National Library and the movie theatre are among the most original structures in Izmir in terms of historical artifacts. These buildings were designed in accordance with the neo-classical Turkish architecture style. The National Library, which was put into service during the 10th anniversary celebrations of the foundation of the Turkish Republic, is managed by Izmir National Library Foundation. There are also manuscripts in the library. Students studying at least at undergraduate level and researchers can benefit from this library, which has been in service for more than 100 years. The building also gives the street its name.

 

Listen to the arias in the State Opera and Ballet

As you wend your way on the National Library Street, you can listen to the arias of the artists rehearsing in the State Opera and Ballet building if you have a chance. This building, which is located right next to the National Library and used as the State Opera and Ballet building today, was known as the Alhambra Theatre for many years. It is also known as the ''Alhambra Cinema,'' the name given by its first operators, Ipekçi brothers. The facades and corridors of the building, whose project was designed by Galip and Tahsin Sermet, are decorated with Kütahya tiles. The four large frescos showing the world's famous theatrical plays -with light comedy being in the first place- on the walls of the theatre that was put into service in 1926 were made by the painter Naji Kalmukov (Kalmukoğlu). The theatre has been serving as the State Opera and Ballet building since 1982, and been the home of opera and ballet performances. It is operated by the National Library. In terms of its craftsmanship, the structure, just like the National Library, bears the traces of the 1st National Architecture Period.

 

Get lost in the streets of the Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar

The 500-year-old Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar, which starts at Konak Square, right next to the Government House, and contains Mezarlıkbaşı area and Anafartalar Street, is also known as the country's largest open-air market. Some of the historical inns on the bazaar, the most important center of trade in Izmir during the Republican Period, still exists as a proof to this hustle as well. With its inns, marble fountains, historical mosques, synagogues, shops offering crafts reflecting the soul of the city, restaurants serving flavors unique to Izmir and businesses providing you everything you need, Kemeraltı is the heart of the city.

 

Hosting thousands of people every day, the market occupies a 270-hectare area, and is home to about 15 thousand businesses. Taking an important place in every visitor's ''to-visit list,'' Kemeraltı is a market reflecting the city's colorfulness. When you go to Kemeraltı, don't come back before drinking Turkish Coffee at Kızlarağası Inn, eating dairy desserts and şambali and buying double-roasted Turkish delights and mortar coffee at Hisarönü, drinking pickle juice, eating ''tangle, blessed thistle or Izmir meatballs'' at small restaurants, checking out the fancy windows with dazzling jewelry at the jewelers’ market, and stopping by the spice-sellers.

 

Explore the antique shops in Kızlarağası Inn

Also known as the Halim Inn in Kemeraltı, the inn is one of the most visited, vibrant and magnificent inns in Izmir.

 

Reflecting the city's colorful soul, this two-storey inn that also has a yard was built by Haji Bashir Agha in 1744. It is home to two indoor markets known as ''Baize Bazaar'' (Çuha Bedesteni) and ''Jewelry Bazaar'' (Cevahir Bedesteni), and another indoor market known as ''Copper Bazaar'' (Bakır Bedesteni) located on the 902 Street right outside the inn. The inn, located right next to the Hisar Mosque, was extremely busy during the Ottoman period, the inn, where the traders with their caravans left their loads, consists of two floors: upper-floor where the caravans used to stop over, and the lower-floor, where the traders used to lodge. On the lower-floor of the inn, there are shops selling ceramic, wood, glass souvenirs, local handicrafts and fabric goods, evil-eye talismans, silver jewelry and precious stones. In the yard, there are cafes bustling every hour of the day, where you can sit down and relax until the late hours. On the upper-floor, there are antique shops, silver-sellers, silver jewelry repairers, musical instrument vendors, cafes and small shops selling handicrafts. At the Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar, which has an entrance right next to the Hisar Mosque, you can enjoy shopping, eating, and drinking tea or Turkish coffee brewed in a cup.

 

Meeting with local flavors at Abacıoğlu Inn

Abacıoğul Inn was built by Haji Mustapha Agha in the early 18th century, In the inn, there is a local restaurant serving Izmir and Bosnian dishes, a leather shop, and a souvenir shop, as well as businesses and cafes.



The Inn was deemed worthy of ''Respect for History Local Conservation Award'' of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality in 2007, as the result of the ''Urban Improvement Project.'' In the same year, it took place among the top 30 architectural works in ''Philippe Rotthier Europe Architecture Competition,'' one of the important worldwide architectural competitions.

 

Make an excursion in the Roman Agora

After going around Kemeraltı, you can visit the Agora in Izmir, which is the most important open-air museum in Izmir. Located in the city center, Agora Open Air Museum is a part of Izmir's multicultural and multi-layered history. When you look down from Kadifekale, you can see the excavation areas very clearly.

 

One of the large agoras located in the city center in the world, Agora is the only example with its three-layered structure. Agora, located at one of Izmir's oldest districts, Namazgah, was built as a multi-layered structure around a marbled courtyard, upon columns and arches, Agora, which literally means ''marketplace,'' was a state-owned area where political meetings and courts are held.

 

Among the most important works excavated in Agora, Poseidon and Demeter statues can be seen at the Museum of History and Art. Located on the West Gate arch of Agora, the embossed portrait of Emperor Marcus Aurelius' wife Faustina, who was very fond of Izmir, greets the visitors at the entrance to the ruins, The restoration of Agora as the Archeology and History Park still continues.

 

One of the most important findings at Agora is the graffitis in the section where Roman shops are located. Defined as the world's richest Greek graffiti collection, these graffitis include sections depicting daily life in the Hellenistic and Roman period.

 

In Agora, once used as a graveyard, engravings on the grave stones that are displayed today are remarkable.

 

Explore the Old Izmir in Basmane Streets

Basmane is one of the oldest districts that still preserves its history. The neighborhood takes its name from a printing factory that was founded here in the first half of the 18th century. Today, the historical Basmane Railway Station is located on the factory area. In the neighborhood, you can see the Police Memory House that is turned into a museum, Izmir's oldest bay houses, historical mosques, prayer rooms, Altınpark excavation area, Agora Open Air Museum, Döbertaş Sebil, and Ayavukla Church.

 

In this historical district, you can shop from places making semolina halva, and bakeries making warm bread, pide and gevrek on Anafartalar Street, and stop by at Altınordu Coffeehouse and enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee.

 

See the graffitis at Agora Open Air Museum

Located in the city center, Agora Open Air Museum is a part of Izmir's multicultural and multi-layered history. One of the large agoras located in the city center in the world, Agora is the only example with its three-layered structure. Agora, located at one of Izmir's oldest districts, Namazgah, was built as a multi-layered structure around a marbled courtyard, upon columns and arches. Agora, which literally means ''marketplace,'' was a state-owned area where political meetings and courts are held. Among the most important works excavated in Agora, Poseidon and Demeter statues can be seen at the Museum of History and Art. Located on the West Gate arch of Agora, the embossed portrait of Emperor Marcus Aurelius' wife Faustina, who was very fond of Izmir, is appealing.

 

The restoration of Agora as the Archeology and History Park still continues. One of the most important findings at Agora is the graffitis in the section where Roman shops are located. Defined as the world's richest Greek graffiti collection, these graffitis include sections depicting daily life in the Hellenistic and Roman period. It is envisaged that these graffitis, which are under protection, were made between 2nd and 4th century AD. It is also known that there are about 1500 graffitis that have been existed on the walls for two thousand years, and these drawings have been made by either painting or scraping methods. These graffitis consist of depictions of the city of Izmir, words of affection, and drawings of ships.

 

Since Agora ruins were once used as a cemetery in Namazgah for a long time, it is the home of tombstones that were engraved elegantly in skillful hands. The tombstones from Ottoman period can be seen in this graveyard, which has been moved due to the Agora excavations.

 

The spring water at the entrance of the Agora Basilica is believed to be flowing since the first age. However, it is recommended not to drink the water.

 

Today, the artifacts excavated in Agora are exhibited at Izmir Archeology Museum and the Museum of Art and History.

 

Spin the Dönertaş Fountain

Dönertaş Fountain, one of the important fountains in İzmir, is famous for its rotary marble columns. There are elegant engravings on the four sections of the fountain, on these sections, there is a view of the city within fortress walls, a mosque, and two-storey houses depicting the city of Izmir around the mosque. The Dönertaş takes its name from the rotary round marble column in the corner of the fountain. It is known that the congregation coming to Hatuniye Mosque for praying used to rotate this column, and spinning the stone with right hand considered as good luck. The stone is still rotary today.

 

Go on a nostalgic trip to Basmane Railway Station


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The railway station building in the historical district of Basmane was built as the starting point of the railway line Izmir - Kasaba (Turgutlu). For railway enthusiasts, it is a structure that must be seen like Alsancak Railway Station. Having a very steep rooftop, the structure is very remarkable with its 19th-century ironwork forming its large cantilever. Planned to be opened to transfer the exported goods to the harbor and customs, Fevzi Paşa Boulevard gives the structure a monumental image and depth. The structure seems quite spectacular, especially with the lighting at night.

 

Retaining its identity as a major stop in the city, Basmane Railway Station includes a subway station today, With a short trip from the historical Basmane Railway Station, you can travel to neighboring districts like Tire, Ödemiş, Nazilli, Söke, where you can find an extremely rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and local flavors.

 

Watch the city from Kadifekale

Kadifekale, which explorers traveled Izmir for centuries always talked about, is one of the most beautiful spots where you can watch Izmir, It was repaired during the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Republican periods. An important portion of the fortress walls seen today belongs to the Middle Ages. Within the castle walls constructed in the 3rd century BC, there are Byzantine cisterns and depots.   In this magnificent area, there was an amphitheater on the northern slope facing the gulf, and a stadium on the west-facing hillside. Although stones are removed from these structures to be used in other structures in time, there are efforts ongoing to reveal the theatre recently, with the contributions of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality.

 

When you go to Kadifekale, you can visit the water fountains, climb up to the castle's bastion through the narrow stairs, and watch the Roman Antique Theatre and Agora Ruins in Mezarlikbaşı, which is believed to be the home to sixteen thousand people, as you enjoy a glass of tea in nearby cafes. You can buy products handcrafted by the women in that area as you get around the castle.

 

Yeşilova Mound, where Izmir was first founded

In Izmir, which has a history dating back about 8 thousand 500 years, you can visit Yeşilova Mound in Bornova, where the civilization began for the first time. Yeşilova Mound in Bornova, where the first permanent settlements in Izmir took place, can be visited free of charge for five days a week. At the mound, you can make a 30-minute trip under the guidance of the experts in the excavation team. (Let us remind you that you need to make an appointment by calling the visitor center +90 232 999 29 29/5402 for this trip) In your visit to the oldest settlements in Izmir, you get to see Yeşilova Mound excavation area that carries the traces of Neolithic and Roman Period, the Visitor Center, and Neolithic Village and Yassıtepe Mound, where you can see the life style of the period. 

 

Explore the Smyrna - Tepekule Ruins

Smyrna-Tepekule Mound, where Izmir was founded after Yeşilova Mound, is within the district of Bayraklı, At the mound located in Bayraklı, you can see the oldest house of the Western Anatolia, the Oval House, whose exact plan and history is known.

 

Attend the lawn concerts at the Historical Gas Plant

The Gas Plan, which was built by the company Laidloux and Sons located in Glasgow in 1862, started production in 1867. The structure, which is an important value of the city in terms of the industrial heritage, was restored by the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality in 2007. Today, the restaurant and cafe in the building welcomes guests in a calm and peaceful environment. The outdoor movie screening and lawn concerts held in the building in the evenings draw great interest.

 

Watch the sunset at Pasaport Pier

Pasaport, which can be defined as the starting point of Kordon, is one of the spots where you can enjoy watching the sunset in Izmir.

 

Located on the landfills extending to the sea and constructed in 1889, the structure was built to execute the passport checks, which carried out in an irregular manner due to the ships anchoring in the open seas, by administrative activities via "Piers Management and Passport Control" buildings. This area has made its place in the city's memory by the name of Pasaport. 

 

Pasaport Pier is one of the six piers within a break water at the beginning of the 20th century. The passenger hall, which was built in 1926 and bears the traces of the First National Architecture Movement, constitutes the main structure of today's Pasaport Pier. Still used as part of the transportation line in the bay, the pier is the oldest one compared to the others. The scaffolding and passenger hall was renovated in 2003 by Izmir Metropolitan Municipality.

 

On the other hand, the quarantine area forming a part of the dock is located at the other end of the pier. The most distinct architectural element of this rectangular structure with a saddleback roof is the onion-domed tower intercepting the eaves of the roof as it rises.

 

Get information at the Provincial Culture and Tourism Directorate Building

Located on Kordon in Konak, this historical building is a typical example of the masonry architecture of the late 19th-early 20th century in Izmir. The building was used as the Stock Exchange building between 1891 - 1919, and as package post office in Republican period. After the restoration in 1996, Izmir Provincial Directorate of Tourism came into service in the building. Especially, the structure's wrought iron fences, railings and the door canopy hood is in Art Nouveau style.

 

City visitors can stop by the directorate and get information and documents regarding Izmir.

 

Walk from the Veterans Statue to Kordon

The monument located in the Cumhuriyet Square is one of the symbols of Izmir. It was erected to appreciate Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the great savior of the people of Izmir. The architect of the sculpture is the famous Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica. Atatürk's famous quotation “Armies, your first target is the Mediterranean Sea. Forward!” is inscribed in front of the base marble. Opened with the participation of the Prime Minister İnönü in 1932, the monument is on a mount made of dark red Afyon marble. The mount, designed by the architect Asım Kömürcü, consists of bronze embossments themed "The War of Independence and Victory" on three facades.

 

Enjoy shopping at the historical Konak Pier

Built in 1888 and used as a fish market and parking lot in the Republican Period, this building is located in Gümrük district and is one of the most elegant shopping centers in the city. Inside Konak Pier, which was transformed into a shopping center in 2002, there are book stores, home decoration stores, jewelers and watchmakers, shoe and clothing shops, restaurants, a small art gallery and movie theaters,