The Castle on the Pagos Mountain, which is one of the icons of İzmir, was built in the Hellenistic Era by Lysimachos, one of Alexander the Great’s generals. The castle and all area is one of the must-see places in İzmir.
According to the legend, two water fairies Alexander the Great saw in a vision told him to build a city atop the Pagos Mountain. Alexander got his vision interpreted and learned that the people of İzmir would be four times happier in the new city. By building this castle atop the Pagos Mountain, Alexander also ensured that the city would be protected from foreign tribes.
According to Evliya Celebi, the castle gets its name from Alexander the Great’s enemy, the legendary Queen Kaydafe.
Historical places to see in Kadifekale
In the castle, you can see ruins from Roman, Byzantian, and Ottoman eras.
The castle walls we see today are from the Medieval period. Inside the castle walls, which were made in the 3rd century B.C., there are cisterns and storehouses from the Byzantines. The castle's perimeter, which is over 6 thousand meters long, is surrounded by 24 bastions and towers.
Kadifekale, which is located on a 186-meter-high hill, is one of the most beautiful places in İzmir since it allows you to see a very wide area including the Gulf, Karşıyaka, Agora, Kemeraltı Bazaar, the docks, Kültürpark and Basmane, and even İnciraltı!
Inside the castle, which has always been in the hands of Turks since 1317 excluding the Greek occupation period, are handmade cloths from the local women and souvenir sales. There are small cafés in and around the castle where you can look at the view while you drink tea.
Agora Open Air Museum
When you are in Kadifekale, you must also see Agora Open Air Museum, which is located on the northern slope of the city. The structure was surrounded by important public buildings of the period, when it was founded in the 4th century B.C, therefore it was serving as the city's State Agora.
Most of the remains that survived in the Agora, which was originally established during the Hellenistic Period are not dated earlier than 178 A.C., the date Agora was rebuilt with the support of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius after the big earthquake.
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. 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.
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.
It is possible to see layers of the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantium, and the Ottoman traces 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.
How to get to Kadifekale?
In addition to your private car, you can also get to Kadifekale by minibusses and buses departing from Eşrefpaşa.
Address: Laleli, 35370 Buca/İzmir
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