10 Interesting Facts about İzmir
Here are 10 facts about the beautiful İzmir which not many people are aware of.
1. The oldest clock tower in İzmir is not the one you think
The Clock Tower in Konak is the most important symbol of Izmir, but it is not the oldest one in the city. The oldest of the four clock towers you can find in the city is the Alsancak Railway Station Clock Tower. The tower, which was built by the British following the completion of the Aydın - İzmir railway, has the phrase "London 1890" on it. Konak’s Clock Tower, on the other hand, was built in 1901 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Abdülhamid II's accession to the throne.
2. One of the three quarantine islands in the world is in Urla
The 150-years-old Urla Klazomen Quarantine Station, also known as Quarantine Island, is one of the three registered quarantine islands in the world that have managed to survived until this day. The station was built in 1865 by the Frenchmen who were good at sterilization and it was actively used until 1950. The road leading to the island was built in 1950. However, the marble road built during the period of Alexander the Great (6th century BC) can also easily be seen under the sea.
3. Many famous philosophers lived in İzmir
Among the famous philosophers of the Ancient Age who lived in İzmir are Homer, the author of important epics, the first great works of Western literature such as Iliad and Odyssey; the famous philosopher and poet Xenophanes; Heraclitus, the owner of the famous saying, "No man ever steps in the same river twice”; important Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Anaxagoras, and Galen, the Father of the Physicians, who was also the founder of experimental physiology and the first sports physician in the world in addition to his philosopher identity.
4. One of the seven wonders of the world was in İzmir
The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus Ancient City was considered one of the seven wonders of its time. Built in 12o years by the Lydian King Croesus dedicated to the goddess Artemis, the building was designed by Greek architect Chersiphron. Unfortunately, the Temple of Artemis, an art monument with its magnificent appearance, decorated with bronze sculptures bearing the signatures of the greatest sculptors of the period such as Pheidias, Polycleitus, Kresilas, and Phradmon, has not survived.
5. The oldest olive oil factory in the world is in İzmir
Its history dates back to 6000 years. In digs made in Klozemenai, Anatolia’s oldest known olive factory was found, working 2600 years ago. The warehouses of this olive oil factory and two nearby water wells, which prove a high level of prosperity in the 6th century BC in the region, were unearthed in the excavations. The factory was rebuilt in 2005 and olive oil production started again. Here you can both breathe the antique-like atmosphere of the factory and buy some delicious olive oil. The replicas of amphoras produced for Klozemenai in the ancient period are also waiting for the visitors in the factory.
6. İzmir is a sacred pilgrimage destination for Christians
Christians believe that after Jesus' crucifixion, the Virgin Mary came to Selçuk with his apostle St. Jean and spent the last years of her life here. That is why the House of the Virgin Mary is considered one of the holy places of pilgrimage. Following the visions of a German nun, Catherina Emmerich, a group of Lazarist priests discovered the house in 1891. The house was restored in the 1950s and Vatican named it a sacred place of pilgrimage in 1952. Today, the building belongs to the Mother Mary Association. The house received visits from Pope Paul VI in 1967 and Pope John Paul II in 1979, which strengthened the belief that Virgin Mary lived and died in Ephesus. This site has become a frequent destination for pilgrims since the image of the Virgin Mary is venerated not only by Christians but also by Muslims. A special mass is held each 15 August and attracts numerous visitors.
7. The women of İzmir carried out the first all-female protests in history
According to what we learned from the documents in the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Ahmet Piriştina City Archive and Museum, women of İzmir carried out a protest on the price hike in 1828. While the hike decision was withdrawn after three days of action, this protest was recorded as the first protests performed by women.
8. Karşıyaka - Göztepe rivalry gave birth to a record
67 thousand 696 registered people watched the game played between İzmir's two long time rivals and eternal friends Karşıya and Göztepe at İzmir Atatürk Stadium on 16 May 1981. In those days, it was easy to enter the stadiums without tickets, and the newspapers wrote that there were more than 80 thousand spectators in the stands. This derby held the attendance record in Turkey for many years, and still holds the spectators' record for a 2nd league game.
9. Bademli is the first and only village in Turkey that has a theater
Bademler village of the Seferihisar district is the first and only village in Turkey that has a theater. In the theater building opened in 1969, where dozens of plays written and put on the stage by the villagers meet with the audience, many works that tell the relationship of the village with the theater are also exhibited.
10. İzmir has always been ‘beautiful’
Everybody in Turkey calls it ‘The Beautiful İzmir.’ and it’s not for nothing. İzmir has been a city that has fascinated people since ancient times. "They founded their city in the most beautiful sky and the best climate in the world." once said the historian Herodotus. On the other hand, while Aristotle explained İzmir to Alexander the Great, "If you don't see it, you won’t be complete!” he said.