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İzmir is the cradle of our today's civilization with its historical and cultural identity. It has been a universal city since it was founded. It is a world of culture that contains everything that is beautiful, magnificent, impressive, surprising, confusing and rational, both real and surreal since the birth of humanity.
The worth preserving cultural, historical and natural assets make Izmir one of a sight to behold cities. There are two magnificent ancient cities in İzmir that meet the criteria determined by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO: Bergama (pergamo) and Efes (ephesus). The works has been carried on including the Gediz Delta, Historical Izmir and Birgi regions, which have been entered the UNESCO temporary list, to the permanent list.
Izmir presents its visitors the views of a unique civilization and a rich past with roots dating back thousands of years; the most wonderful monumental works of art and architectural history; tells the story of a sophisticated culture that has preserved its originality. It brings the world together in its bays and coasts, ancient cities, towns and villages, the last shelter of quiet life, and mountains and valleys where natural life blooms. İzmir calls on those who dream of getting to know the most glamorous cities of history, walking along the colonnaded roads of those cities, and falling under the ancient times' spell; promises the most beautiful holiday opportunities in the world and opportunities for a lifetime of unforgettable adventure.
Ephesus UNESCO World Heritage
In the UNESCO World Heritage List, Ephesus Ancient City, which located four component including Ephesus Ruins, The House of The Virgin Mary, Ayasuluk Hill and St. Jean Basilica, Cukurici Mound and has title of Turkey's biggest open-air museum, is visited by nearly two million people every year. Ephesus, which has an extraordinary historical richness, includes the Great Theater, the largest open-air theater in the ancient world, the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and another architectural value, Celsus Library.
Ephesus, in the Selçuk district of Izmir, was one of the twelve cities of Ionia. The first settlement here is dated to the Neolithic Age. In the excavation works carried out in Çukuriçi Mound in recent years, it was determined that the settlement date goes back to the 6th millennium B.C.E; that there was human settlement in the region during the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods. The name of the city on Ayasuluk Hill was Apasas and it was the center of a state called Arzawa, a contemporary and contiguous of the Hittites, which included a part of Ionia.
As Ephesus has changed places many times throughout history, its ruins are spread over a large area of 8 square kilometers. Ephesus was the port city where people immigrated from the Greek mainland started to live in 1050 BC; took its place around the Temple of Artemis in 560 BC. The current city of Ephesus, which can be visited today, was established by Lysimakhos, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, in 300 BC. Ephesus lived its golden age during the Hellenistic and Roman periods and became one of the most populous cities of its age as the capital of the Asian state and the largest port city. Ephesus made history as a pioneering city in the fields of civilization, philosophy, science, culture and art.
Pergamon Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape Area
Pergamon is another cultural heritage site in Izmir that entered the UNESCO World Heritage List. Pergamon Acropolis was an important education center in the ancient world with its library building and the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon. Besides, the acropolis hosts the steepest ancient theater in Anatolia and the first psychiatric hospital, Asklepion Health Center and Sanctuary.
Bergama, established on the ancient city of Pergamon, is one of the oldest settlement areas in the history of civilization with its archaeological remains dating back to the 7th century BC. Bergama (pergamon) is Turkey's thirteenth UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its historical and cultural values. Acropolis, which is the administrative center of Ancient Pergamon built on a hill overlooking the Bergama Plain, presents a unique view. The Temple of Athena, the Temple of Trajan, the Altar of Zeus, the theater for ten thousand people, the Temple of Bacchus, the Bergama Library in Bergama (pergamon) await visitors with all their magnificence.
The snake figure, which is the symbol of medicine and pharmacy, emerged from Bergama, where many firsts were experienced. The Asklepion, known to have been built in the 4th century BC and which have been written “death cannot enter” on its door, is famous for its healing waters, is located here. The Asklepion Health Center and Sanctuary, dating back its history to ancient times and dedicated to Asclepius, the god of health in mythology, has been an important therapy center for centuries. Here, the patients were treated by the sound of water and suggestion by walking the 650 meters long sacred road. It was recommended to drink the healing water and bathe in addition to this treatment. Galen, grown after Hippocrates of Kos, known as the father of medicine and the most important physician and pharmacist of the ancient world, is from Bergama and had his first medical education here. Galen, the palace physician of the Roman Empire, continued this duty between 161-166 CE.
Historical Port City
İzmir is one of the most important port cities of the Mediterranean throughout history. It is the center where products, ideas and cultures meet and spread to the world by taking on a new meanings and contents. As a commercial and port city, it has been so since its establishment and has never lost this feature. It is the cradle of civilization that brings three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa together. It is the nodal point of the maritime trade routes connecting to the old world the Silk Road and Mediterranean, which has also carried culture and ideas as well as goods and wealth for thousands of years, and World's two oldest trade routes.
Kemeraltı, Kadifekale and Basmane regions, which are known as historical Izmir today, have a unique location where the city has gained the qualification of being a port city. This route starting from Konak Pier, which was built as an entrance gate to this historical port city in the 19th century and extending to Kadifekale, was included in the UNESCO Temporary Heritage List with its historical and architectural values. This area, where the Konak Square and the Historical Clock Tower and the prominent symbols of Izmir are located, have also the characteristic of being the oldest and largest open-air shopping center in the world with the Kemeraltı Bazaar, which expands over time with the filling of the inland port. As long as you walk along Anafartalar Street, the multicultural character of this historical port city where East and West meet is evident at every step. This historical city center, at the same time, Havra Street and its surroundings, which is the settlement area of Sephardic Jews who started immigrating to Izmir starting from the 16th century, hosts nine synagogues, four of which are back to back.
The Smyrna Agora, located right next to the Kemeraltı Bazaar, has starting excavation works today, contains one of the richest written and visual graffiti collections in the world, shedding light on the daily life of the Roman period. Excavation works continue in the Ancient Smyrna Theater, which the large part of it is underground, located on the foothills of Kadifekale. The theater, which will come to light with the works to be completed in the upcoming years, is estimated to be one of the largest amphitheaters in Anatolia. This route and Kemeralti, which ended with the castle built by Alexander the Great on Pagos Hill, continued to exist as a city center in the Republic period, and also continues to be the heart of Izmir today with the sounds, smells and stories it contains.
Birgi, from Izmir province, Odemis district, which is on the UNESCO Temporary Heritage List, travels its visitors through time. Birgi is like a paradise garden in a lush geography that preserves its traditional architectural texture with its high stone houses and wooden windows. Its history goes back 5 thousand years. The magnificent stone mansions, each of which is the product of a magnificent mastery and a striking aesthetic understanding, with their structures that please the eyes and human greatly; Birgi is the last view of simplicity, respect, a culture of living together and a life sophistication thanks to its tombs, mosques and Turkish baths.
Gediz Delta, located right next to Izmir, is the best indicator that can be live in a modern city without detaching from nature. Izmir as a great metropolis, which hosts hundreds of birds and species, has Gediz Delta of Turkey's largest coastal wetlands. Delta supplies approximately one third of salt production in Turkey, also that is the production of farmers and fishermen from Izmir. Gediz Delta is one of the rare wetlands with international importance that provide a living space to thousands of species thanks to the different habitats it hosts. An official candidature application was made by the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality in recent months for the Gediz Delta, which is an Important Nature Area and Important Bird Area across the world, to be added to the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List.