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izmir

Izmir

The first City of Smyrna was founded 5000 years ago (3000 B.C.) in Tepekule, Bayraklı. This city had a smail sheltered harbor and the houses were built on the rocks. Flourishing rapidly, it became one of the cultural centers of Western Anatolia like the famous city of Troy in the north. The remains of the houses and various objects of historical value have been, discovered during recent excavations made in Bayraklı by Ankara University.

A change of culture and civilization, is noticed in the second historical period of the city between 2000 -1200 B.C. The vases found in Bayraklı belonging to this period were made In imitation of Hittite vases in central Anatolia. Moreover the Hittite reliefs in Kemalpaşa and Manisa near İzmir are evidences of cultural relations in this period between central Anatolia and the West and of the influence of the great Hittite Empire. The excavations In Bayraklı have revealed that the first Greek Aeolian settlement In Izmir started at the end çf the 11th Century B.C.

In this period Izmir developed closer relations with Greece whence the Aeollans orignated, and continued its relations with northwestern and central Asia Minor. This period lasted till the end of the 9th Century B.C. and was followed by the lonlon period which is the most glorious phase of the history of this ancient city. Herodotus mentions the conquest of Izmir by Colophonians in this period. According to legends Homer lived in Izmir. Pausanias discribes the splendours of this ancient city. The period ended in 600 B.C. when the city was conquered and destroyed by Afyattes, the king of Sardis. For some time the inhabitants of Izmir lived in small villages scattered around the area, but the city in Bayraklı soon regained its old strength and splendor during the 6th, 5th and 4th centuries B.C. ft is believed that in this period Izmir was ruled by tyrants like the neighboring cities. With the advent of Alexander the Great a new page was opened in the history of Izmir. Inspired by a dream he had in the forests of Mount Pagus (Kadifekale), this famous commander ordered Lyslma-chus, one of his generals, to build a new city for the people of Izmir on the wooded slopes of Mount Pagus. This city greatly flourished in the 3rd and 2nd Centuries B.C. and according to Strabo (1st Century B.C.) became the most beautiful Ionian city. It was under the Roman rule between 27 B.C.-234 A.D. that it attained its second period of prosperity, In the 2nd Century AD.  The «Golden Road» and «Soared Road ports of which are still extant, and the Temple of Zeus Akraios, of which no trace exists .now, but which is known to hove been standing at Karataş city, recall this era.

The Agora in Namazgah, the Commercial Agora in the harbor, the Stadium and the Theater in Kadifekale, belonged to that period. In 178 A.D. Izmir was devastated by a terrible earthquake, and restored by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius upon the request of the citizens ond especially of the orator Aristides. The Agora in Namazgâh, parts of which ore still standing, was built during the restoration. When the Romon Empire was divided, Izmir remained attached to Constantinople ond thus came under Byzantine rule in the 4th Century A.D. Before this period, during the early years of Christianity. Izmir figured as one of the Seven Churches mentioned in the Apocalypse and was exposed to various religious conflicts. The gradual decline ot Ephesus helped Izmir to become the leading city and also the scene of many wars of the Byzantine Empire. Moslem Arab armies which advanced os for as this area at the end of 7th Century A.D. failed to capture the citadel .fortified by the Byzantine Emperors. At the end of the 11th century (towards 1076) a Seljuk chief called Süleyman, son of Kutlamış conqueror of Anatolia, seized the city, which after his death (1086), was ruled by Çoka Bey.

He had a great fleet built in Izmir which he used as a base to raid the Aegean islands, but was killed by Kılıç Aslan I, a Seljuk Sultan; thus the city was annexed to the Seljuk empire in Anatolia, then recovered by the Byzantine Empire In 1097 during the first Crusades and captured by the Kingdom of Nicaea In the first half of the 13th century. Then followed a period of confusion. In the second half of the 13th century, the Genoese dominated the city of Izmir. The Turks of Western Anatolia attacked the city during the XlVth century, ond finally about 1330, the Sultan of the Aydın Dynasty captured Izmir. Thus a new era was opened in the history of Izmir, Gazi Umur Bey, of the Aydın Dynasty, used the city as a base to raid the Eastern Mediterranean coast. In 1344, the Crusaders encouraged by the Pope raised a large fleet to capture the city from Umur Bey. After a bitter struggle the lower castle fell (28 October 1344) ond the Knights of Rhodes were entrusted with its defence. Umur Bey who tried to recapture the castle with on inferior force, failed in his attempts and was killed in action. Early in 1403, Tamerlane conquered the town ofter a short siege. As he left Anatolia, he returned the city to the rule of the Aydin Dynasty but Cüneyt Bey, son of Ibrahim Subaşı who claimed to belong to this Dynasty, rebelled and took possession of the city, (1405-1406).

In 1415, ofter 10 days’ siege fay Mehmet I Celebi, Izmir was finally annexed by the Ottomans. On September 13, 1472, the Venetian fleet commanded by Pietro Mocenigo fruitlessly bombarded the city. In subsequent centuries Izmir was attacked several times during the Ottoman – Venetian wars, but was never lost by the Turks. At the beginning of the 17th century, it suffered from the raids of insurgent chiefs such as Kara Sait and Kalenderoğlu, and was devastated by fearful earthquakes an June 10, 1688, and July, 3 – 5, 1778, However, in the 19th century it became one of the most prosperous cities fn Turkey. Izmir through many centuries, remained the center of export and storage for various products of Anatolia, Iran, and Central Asia which were in demand in European and Mediterranean countries and, as pointed out by Evliya Çelebi, its fame surpassed that of two hundred and sixty ports in the Ottoman Lands. The natural beauty of Izmir has drawn the admiration of all foreigners, in fact Tournefort, a French traveler, who visited Izmir early in the 18th century, described it as the loveliest Port of the Eastern Mediterranean, and the most outstanding city of the East. Izmir has not only retained its Importance during the time of the new Republic, but has also developed into a completely modern city of great natural beauty.

Kadifekale (Pagus): Despite hundreds of years during which quite a number of natural disasters damaged It, Kadlfekale still stands quite well preserved on a hill to the south of, and dominating the city of Izmir. According to what Strabo writes, one day, Alexander the Great fell asleep under an oak tree by the temple of Nemesis after hunting on the hill of Kadifekale. In his dream Nemesis comes and asks him to build a new city on that site for the people of the old İzmir to come and settle there, The oracle of Claros interpreted the dream as follows: People who are to live on the hill of «Pagus» across the stream of Meles will be three or four times happier than they used to be.And soon after, the people of Izmir who were living on the hill of Bayraklı came to live in the new Izmir built on the hill of Kadife-kale and at its foot in 330 B.C.

The acropolis on Kadifekale was built by Lysimachus who also built the city, In fact, the lower parts of many of the wails were built with the technique of construction used in the Hellenistic age. The upper parts which were either reconstructed or repaired in the Roman and Byzantine periods, are in the Roman or Byzantine styie.Since only a few portions of these walls survive, it is difficult to locate the extensions of the walls, and to tell which parts of the hill they covered. As the acropolis served as o protection against enemies, the walls must have surrounded the hill completely. The outside walls were built of big stones cut and laid on each other without using mortar. The thickness of the walls is not everywhere the same. There are three large entrances facing the west, the north, and the east Inside the castle there is a cistern, with □ ceiling supported by columns, to provide the water supply of the people during a siege, Besides this there are two smaller ones built later.It is very likely that the city waits surrounded a very large area extending, in one direction, as far as Basmahane, and in another, along the coast, the latter enclosing the Agora and turning towards De§irmentepe. The remmants of the walls are still to be found around Mezarlikba^i and the Basmahane Railway Station, Two large city gates used ta be openings for the maintenance of the relations of Izmir with the world outsjfde. One of these gates was the Gate of Ephesus at E$refpa$a. A road starting from this gate led to Colophon and Ephesus. The other gate used to stand on the south corner of the Basmahane Railway Station, with a road going to Sardis by way of the Kemer Bridge.

Stadium: On  the northern slope of the hill, there is a stadium called an amphitheatre by the Romans. It Is near the Halit Bey primary school which is on the road leading up to the western gate of the castle. In the northeast and south directions, there used to be residences rising behind one another around the stadium. The rows of seats in the southern and eastern parts of the stadium were built in keeping with the declivity of the hill. As there was no declivity In the north, they had to build an arched substructure, the remains of which can still be seen. The seats of honor on the eastern end overlooked the splendid view of the sea. Since the rows of stone seats were taken away to be used in other constructions ot a later time, today there Is nothing left of    the stadium    except    the bare ground on which It stood. During the    reign of    the Proconsol L Statius Ouadratus, [164-155 A.D.) St. Policarp was martyed jn this stadium. A little farther up the stadium, there    is still   portion of the St. Policarp’s Church    which is  o deserted   mosque    now. Very probably St. Policarp is  buried here. Though Aristides writes about several fine race courses which existed within and outside the city, we have no information as to thefr locations or characteristics.

The Theater: At the site called Kireçlikaya in the southeast of Kadifekale, stood the amphitheater of the city. It. is on the slope af a hill overlooking the gulf of Izmir. There is nothing left öf the amphitheater today but the stage wall. To the north .af the amphitheater, there was a covered group of columns called «stratonikeion». This was used as a place for audiences to take shelter from the rain, and al60 as a place for directing the choruses. The amphitheatre is likely to have been built In the age of Lysimachus. In the Hellenistic age there was only one theater In Izmir. We  read that after the  great earth quake  during the  reign  of    Claudius (A.D. 41 – 54), the theater was    built again.    After another earthquake which did great damage to Izmir in 178 A.D., the amphitheater was reconstructed. This amphitheater was similar to those of Ephesus and Aspendos, and could hold about 16,000 people. The materials used in the construction of this amphitheater, the walls of which were still in fairly good condition until 1638, were later used In some other constructions in the city. It has been concluded that the length and the depth of the stage building were respectively 54 and 9 meters.

The  Diana Baths: Some  of the materials  used in the  construction  of these baths, which  were built around    the sources    of the historic stream of Meles, can now be seen in the pools of the water supply at Halkapinar. Aristides, the famous mystic, left us long descriptions of the Diana Baths. It is a historical fact that Homer, the great poet, wrote his poetry on the banks of these waters.

The GoJden Way : In the Namık Kemal Park on the road between Jkiçeşmelik and Eşrefpaşa, there is a portion of the marble street which used to go through the town from the west to the east In the Roman period. In the same park there are also three portions of the city walls built in the Hellenistic age. Another way, similar to the Golden Way, was found under the ground where the Hotel Sadık Bey formerly stood.

Aqueducts: In the southeast of Izmir, over the stream of Kemer at Kızılçullu, there are two aqueducts built of stone and brick. They were built in the Roman period to carry the water from the other side of the stream to Izmir, and were also used for the same purpose in later times. Besides these aqueducts, there is another one called the Vezfr Bridge at Slnekli. In order to see these aqueducts one can go to Kızılçullu, either from Eşrefpaşa or by way of the Izmir -Buca highway.

The Acropolis : On a hill to the north of the Turan Railway Station, there ore some remnants of the acropolis of izmfr, which belongs to the first half of the    10th    century B.C.   Ruins of  a large building can be seen there today. This building Is    square in shape, and is divided into two equal parts by a high wail in the middle The western part contains several sections, the other Is a single block. Formerly each had a tower of its own. In the northern part of the building there Is o depression which is likely to have been a cistern. The buildings around the center of the acropolis used to be allocated to temporary services. The city walls of the acropolis were so built and the gates were so arranged that the enemy had no choice but attack through the right side which was left open. In the meantime the enemy was counterattacked from towers on both sides. Even if the outer walls were captured, the attack of the enemy had to be carried on in the same way in order to capture the other walls in their turn. it is possible to go up to  the  acropolis by climbing up the mountain.

The Altar: There is an artifical platform of rock in the southwest of the acropolis. A stairway of seven steps carved in the rocks leads to the altar from the north. Though the plpce might have been a place of observation or a grave, it is strongly believed that it was an altar.

The Tomb of Tantalus : At the foot of the acropolis there is a circular tomb with a conical top built of ‘Stones. In the center there is a square room. Pausanias mentions the place as the tomb of Tantalus who was the king of Izmir in the 12th century B.C.

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