Agora Open Air Museum

In the center of the city there is the Agora Open Air Museum, a piece of the historical texture of Izmir, which is a city contains many cultures and many layers. When you look from Kadifekale, you can see the open-air museum and the dig sites very clearly.

 

The Agora, which is one of the big agoras located in a city center with its three floor design, is one of a kind. The Agora, located in Namazgah (one of Izmir’s older districts) is a multistorey structure built on arches and pillars in the Roman Era around a large quad with marble tiling. The word Agora means “marketplace”. It was also a government place used for political meetings and people’s courts. The Agora underwent a major restoration after an earthquake in 178 A.D.

 

A statue group of Poseidon and Demeter, one of the most notable artifacts from the Agora, can be found in the History and Arts Museum.

 

The graceful embossed portrait of Faustina, the wife of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who loved Izmir very much, is on the arch of the West Gate of the Agora and warmly welcomes the visitors.

 

The Agora is undergoing changes in order to turn it into an Archeology and History Park.

 

The large cisterns and varying sewage parts inside the Agora show that it is in an area of ample water supply. It is thought that the spring in the entrance of the Basilica has been flowing since the first age.

 

Another of Agora’s exciting finds is the graffiti in the stores from the Roman Era. The graffiti is said to be the world’s largest Greek graffiti collection and carries profiles of Hellenistic and Roman daily life. The graffiti, which is under protection is said to have been made between the 2nd and 4th centuries A.D. On the walls there are around 1500 graffiti, which have been preserved for two thousand years, and have been made with paint or engraved. These graffiti depict thoughts on Izmir, words of love and drawings of boats.

 

It is possible to see layers of the Hellenistic Era, Roman Era, Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire in the Agora expeditions. The Roman Bathhouse that was recently unearthed in the latest Agora expedition attracts the attention of visitors passing by Faustina road, which goes through the Northwestern gate to the docks.

 

Since the Agora ruins were used as a cemetery in the Namazgah district long ago, it is home to many artisan-crafted gravestones. Although the graves were transported to a different location, the Ottoman gravestones may still be viewed at the site.

 

The pieces extracted from the Agora are today in the Izmir Archeology Museum and the History and Arts Museum.

 

After visiting the ruins near the Historical Kemeralti Bazaar, you may keep going until you reach the historical streets of Basmane. On the road you can pass the Ancient Roman Theater, which is still undergoing excavation work, of which only the stage walls and entrance have been unearthed, and carry on to Kadifekale.