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Izmir (Turkey)
Red pog.svg
View of the coastal area of ​​the Bayraklı district
Basic data
Province (il) : Izmir
Coordinates : 38 ° 25 '  N , 27 ° 9'  E Coordinates: 38 ° 25 '0 "  N , 27 ° 9' 0"  E
Height : 25  m
Residents : 4,367,251 (2019)
Telephone code : (+90)
Postal code : 35,000
License plate : 35
Structure and administration (as of 2019)
Büyükşehir Belediye Başkanı: Tunç Soyer ( CHP )
Template: Infobox Location in Turkey / Maintenance / District Without Inhabitants Or Area

Izmir , formerly known in Latin as Smyrna ( Turkish İzmir , Greek Σμύρνη Smýrni , ancient Greek Σμύρνα Smýrna), is the third largest city in Turkey and the capital of the province of the same name with around 4.3 million inhabitants . Located on the Aegean coast on the Gulf of Izmir , it is home to the country's second largest port after Istanbul . After a regional reform, Izmir is a large city commune ( Büyükşehir belediyesi ) and is therefore identical in area and population to the province.

The first settlements in the area of ​​today's Izmir date from around 6500-4000 BC. The area was conquered or settled by Luwians , Hittites , Phrygians and Greeks .


Outline map of Izmir

The origin of the name Smyrna is disputed:

  • Traditionally it was traced back to the Greek name for myrrh .
  • According to some ancient authors, the city was named after an Amazon of the same name.
  • According to recent excavations, the city was originally called Tismurna , with the Ti prefix presumably denoting a person. The city was mentioned by this name in Assyrian writings.

Today's Turkish name İzmir is derived from the ancient Greek εἰς Σμύρνα is Smyrna , German 'after Smyrna' , analogous to the name İstanbul, which in Greek εἰς τῆν πόλιν is tin pólin [ istimˈbɔlin ], German 'to the city' .


The ancient agora of Smyrna: view of the pillars of the western stoa


A pre-Greek settlement in the area of ​​today's district and the district of Bayraklı can be traced back to the 3rd millennium BC. Prove. End of the 9th century BC Aeolian Greeks established a fortified settlement here . In the 8th century BC This was taken over from Colophon by the Ionian Greeks and expanded into a polis. (Old) Smyrna, which is considered one of the places where the poet Homer worked , flourished for the first time in the 8th – 7th centuries. Century BC Chr.

The Lydian king Alyattes destroyed (Old) Smyrna around 600 BC. In the following three centuries there was only an insignificant settlement here. Only at the end of the 4th century BC A new establishment of Smyrna came about when Antigonus I. Monophthalmos built a new settlement (in the area of ​​today's city center of Izmir) 20 stadiums (3.5 km) southwest of the old city around the acropolis mountain Pagos (today's Kadifekale), which soon after regained the status of a polis. The port built by Antigonos laid the foundation for Smyrna's development into one of the richest trading cities in Asia. Smyrna was accepted as the 13th member of the Ionian League and was soon given the nickname "Ornament of Ionia". In the war against Antiochus III. Smyrna stood on the side of the victor, Rome, that of the city in 189 BC. Land allotted. During the Italian alliance war , the city provided a fleet contingent to support the Romans; even in the Mithridatic wars it behaved faithfully to the Romans.

In 43 BC The city was home to Gaius Trebonius , one of the murderers of Julius Caesar . The Roman consul Publius Cornelius Dolabella conquered Smyrna, had Trebonius killed and some districts destroyed. When the earthquakes in 178 and 180 AD had severely damaged the city, the Greek speaker Aelius Aristides managed to rebuild it from Emperor Marcus Aurelius and received numerous honors for it.

Cassius Dio was temporarily the Roman curator (overseer of the city administration) of Smyrna.

Late antiquity - Byzantium

Smyrna was an important center in the Christian world. A Christian community was established early on . This church is one of the seven churches of Revelation to John . The biblical author of the Revelation of John writes:

To the angel of the church in Smyrna, write: Thus says He, the first and the last, who were dead and came to life again: I know your affliction and your poverty; and yet you are rich. And I know that you will be reviled by those who pose as Jews; but they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. ( Rev 2 : 8-9) "

The church father Polycarp of Smyrna , author of a letter to the Philippians , was Bishop of Smyrna in the 2nd century . Also Ignatius of Antioch held in Smyrna and is there to four of the Ignatian letters are written. After the port of Ephesus silted up, the importance of Smyrna as a port city grew.

Smyrna belonged to the Byzantine Empire from 395 and was important as a trading center and naval base. In 654 AD the city was attacked by the Arabs , and in 672/673 it was temporarily occupied by them. In 1076 the Seljuks conquered the city under Sultan Suleiman ibn Kutalmiş . The pirate and subordinate of the Seljuks Çaka Bey then ruled Smyrna from 1081 and conquered other areas and islands from here. When he was killed by his son-in-law and successor of Suleiman, Sultan Kılıç Arslan I , in 1092 , the Byzantines under Emperor Alexios I brought back Smyrna. With the Agreement of Nymphaion , the Republic of Genoa received trade privileges in the city, among other things, because it had helped Byzantium to recapture Constantinople . So Smyrna came under the control of the Genoese trading family Zaccaria. The Italian traders from Genoa and Venice preferred to settle in the Franconian quarter of Smyrnas. In 1317 Mehmed, the bey of the Aydınoğulları , attacked Smyrna and was able to take the castle hill ( Pagos , the Hellenistic acropolis, today called Kadifekale ). The lower town with the port and the new fortress there initially remained in Genoese hands. Since then, the Turks have coined the term Gâvur İzmir (Unbelieving Izmir) for the port and the surrounding area .

Mehmed's son Umur finally conquered the port in 1329. Under Umur's rule, the Beylik Aydın quickly rose to become a sea power; Along with Ephesus -Panormos, Smyrna became the main base of the Turkish fleet. Ships flying the Aydın flag carried out piracy throughout the eastern Mediterranean and raided raids on the Morea and Negroponte . The Turks only attacked Latin (i.e. Catholic) possessions, as Umur had formed an alliance with the Byzantine regent Johannes Kantakuzenos in 1335 .

The rule of Aydın was not permanent, because - triggered by piracy - a crusade league under the leadership of the papacy attacked the city at the end of 1344 and conquered the port. The fighting dragged on until 1348 when Umur was killed. The upper castle, however, remained in the hands of the Turks. The Aydınoğulları had to submit to the Ottomans in 1390; while the port continued to be controlled by the Knights of the Order of St. John of Rhodes .

In 1402 the Ottomans under Sultan Bayezid I were defeated in the battle of Ankara by the Mongol-Turkish troops of Timur . The Timurids stood before Smyrna at the end of the year. The Christian garrison, about two hundred knights under the command of the Aragonese Hospitaller Íñigo de Alfaro , refused to surrender. The Timurids then attacked with siege engines, tunneled under the walls, blocked the harbor entrance and stormed the city after fifteen days of resistance. The residents were massacred and the city destroyed. According to the historian Dukas , Timur is said to have had the skulls of those killed inserted into the walls with mortar. The troubled times did not end until 1422 with the Ottoman Sultan Murad II . Smyrna was rebuilt, but occupied by the Venetians in 1472 and burned down again. From then on, the city remained under Ottoman ownership until the 20th century.

Ottoman Empire

German consulate in Izmir
Map of Izmir by Piri Reis

Smyrna was the most important trading center in Asia Minor during the Seljuks and the Ottoman Empire . In the 16th century the city had a predominantly Muslim population. That changed in the 17th century. In addition to the long-established Greeks and Jews who came from Spain after 1492, more and more Armenians came to Smyrna from 1605 onwards . The Armenians controlled the trade in goods and products from Iran . Iranian silk was sold to all of Europe via Izmir. The Armenians had trading colonies in cities like Marseilles , Livorno and Amsterdam , all of which were under Smyrna. Over time, Armenians from Tbilisi , Naxçıvan and Culfa also came to the city. The population groups lived in their own district according to their millet (nation). The Muslim Turks lived in the old city center of Kadifekale, the Jews in Güzelyalı and İkiçeşmelik, the Armenians in the Haynots district, the Greeks between İtfaiye and Alsancak (Mortakiya) and the remaining Europeans ( Franconians or Levantines ) in Bornova, Buca and Seydiköy.

The trade and the different peoples gave the city a special flair, which Mark Twain , who came through here in 1867, was also impressed with. Smyrna was a center of the carpet trade, see Smyrnateppich . In 1828 Konstantin Fotinow opened the first secular Bulgarian school here. In 1860, the Ottoman Railway Company opened the first railway line in the Asian part of the Ottoman Empire from Izmir . In 1863 a railway line to Afyonkarahisar was started; it was finished in 1890.

Smyrna was the seat of the Governor General of the Vilayet Aydın , a metropolitan and a Catholic, Greek and Armenian archbishop. Its cosmopolitan character was also evident at the beginning of the 20th century in the presence of 35 book publishers, 30 casinos, 57 hotels, 150 schools, 81 pharmacies, 15 hospitals and 269 pubs (Meyhane). A total of 11 newspapers (3 Turkish, 3 Greek, 4 French, 1 Spanish) and two magazines (Greek, Armenian) appeared.

Ottoman policy towards Smyrna changed in 1909 with the takeover of power by the Young Turks and the Committee for Unity and Progress . These strove, among other things, to turkify the Aegean Sea and trade, and over the years, using different methods and measures, expelled several hundred thousand Greeks. These either emigrated to Greece or were deported to the interior of Anatolia. Part of the Armenian population was deported and killed in the course of the 1915 genocide .

Massacres in 1919 and 1922

Greek troops in Smyrna, May 2, 1919

Shortly before the outbreak of war, the city of Smyrna was inhabited half by Muslims and 40% by Greeks. The Levantines and Armenians formed smaller groups with 6% and 4% respectively.

On May 15, 1919, after the Ottoman defeat in World War I , Greek troops occupied the city and advanced from here to Anatolia. The proportion of the Greek population rose rapidly. Immediately after the invasion began, Turkish and other Muslim civilians in the region were killed by Greek troops. About 1,000 civilians were killed on the first day of the invasion alone. At the urging of the Ottoman government, a commission of inquiry from the Paris negotiating delegations arrived, which later found Greece guilty. The following year, the city was awarded in the Treaty of Sèvres Greece , but in the course of the Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War ("Asia Minor Catastrophe") on September 9, 1922, it was recaptured by the Turks . On September 13, 1922, a fire broke out in the Armenian quarter ( fire of Izmir ), which quickly spread to the quarters of Greeks and foreigners ("Franks") and destroyed a large part of the city. In the associated clashes, at least 25,000 mostly Greek and Armenian civilians were killed and around 200,000 were displaced (compare, for example, the eyewitness reports by the Armenian doctor Garabed Hatscherian, the American diplomat George Horton or the French René Puaux). Part of the majority of the Greek population was evacuated from the city by the English, most of the remaining civilians, including the Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos Kalafatis , fell victim to subsequent acts of violence. Many of the Greeks emigrated to Athens , where the Nea Smyrni (“New Smyrna”) district still reminds of their origins. The Evangelical School of Smyrna , founded in 1733, burned down. The St. Stepanos Church was also destroyed.

In the Treaty of Lausanne in 1922, Smyrna and the entire west coast of Asia Minor were awarded to Turkey.

Modern Izmir

Izmir coast
Saat Kulesi (clock tower), Izmir landmark in the late Moorish style
Alsancak's pedestrian zone

The culture park with the exhibition grounds (with a floor area of ​​420,000 m²) was built on part of the destroyed city districts .

The city center with the municipal administration (Belediye) and the seat of the provincial governor (Valilik) is located in Konak . The business and shopping center is located in neighboring Alsancak, while Karşıyaka , Bornova , Hatay , Buca and Göztepe are the largest residential areas.

The province is home to 4.6% of the nation's agriculture and 9% of all industry. The economy is based on 30.5% industry, 22.9% trade, 13.5% transportation and telecommunications, and 7.8% agriculture. The city's main exports are petroleum products and chemicals, metals, textiles, automobiles, groceries (figs, grapes, olives, and olive oil), Efes and Tuborg branded beer , tobacco, and wool.

Most of the entertainment and shopping complexes are in Konak, Karşıyaka and Bornova, with industry concentrated in Bornova, Çiğli and Gaziemir . In the north-eastern part of Izmir, the 46-hectare cultural park with a zoological garden, open-air theater and exhibition center extends.

The majority of Bulgarian Turks (Bulgaristan Türkleri) have lived in Izmir since the late 1980s and early 1990s .

Today there are four universities and one technical college / university in the city.

The city's landmarks are the Saat Kulesi (Clock Tower) on Konak Square and the Ataturk Monument on Republic Square ( Cumhuriyet Square ).

The city is popularly known as "Gâvur İzmir", which means "Unbelieving Izmir". The expression goes back to the 15th century. Nowadays the expression is used partly ironically, partly pejoratively against the secular, cosmopolitan population of Izmir, which dominates there - in contrast to the conservative Inner Anatolia. With increasingly restrictive, religious-conservative politics, Izmir has recently seen a strong influx of liberal Turks, so that the character of the city as a stronghold and retreat for liberalism is solidifying.


Car of the S-Bahn Izmir (İZBAN) at Adnan Menderes Airport (series E22000 from the Spanish manufacturer CAF)

Road traffic

The new partial ring motorway Otoyol 30 (O30) relieves the urban roads, but it has not been able to compensate for the constantly increasing traffic volume in recent years.


Even the Izmir Metro does not offer an alternative for many commuters, as its currently only line only serves a few urban areas.


On August 30, 2010, an S-Bahn system consisting of two lines under the name İzban was put into operation. One of the routes also connects to the airport. Both lines run from Alsancak main station in the city center to the surrounding area. There are also regional trains from / to Ödemiş , Tire , Söke , Aydın , Nazilli , Manisa and Denizli .


The city's tram network currently consists of two lines:

  1. The 12.6 km long Konak Line was scheduled to go into operation in 2017, but the first test drives did not begin until February 2018. Here, 21 trams will serve 19 stops.
  2. The 8.8 km long Karşıyaka line with 14 stops was opened in April 2017. The route is used by 17 tram trains.

Five-part low-floor multiple units are used on these two lines. They are supplied by Eurotem, a joint venture between Hyundai Rotem and Tüvasaş .

A third route is being planned. It should lead from Şirinyer to the University of September 9th (Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi).

Long-distance rail transport

In long-distance traffic there are connections via the Izmir – Afyonkarahisar railway line with the modern Konya Mavi night express train to Konya, as well as day connections to Bandırma , where a high-speed ferry connects to Istanbul. The connection of Izmir to the network of high-speed lines of the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) in the direction of Ankara is planned. At the end of November 2018, it was announced that the 624 km long Ankara-Izmir high-speed line would go into operation by the first half of 2021.


Izmir has the second largest port in Turkey. Numerous car and passenger ferries operate from there. The port also served at the time of the Cold War as the largest NATO - Naval Base in Turkey. The headquarters of the Turkish Navy is located in Izmir .


The Adnan Menderes Airport is located 18 kilometers outside the city. In 2006 a new international terminal was completed. In the same year, IzAir , a private airline, began operations. Izmir Airport is their home airport.

Universities, colleges


City council

Party / list Election 2019
Share of votes Seats
Alliance of the Nation (CHP-IYI) 54.5%
115 7th 47 7th 

People's Alliance 54

  • AKP 47
  • MHP 7
  • Alliance of the Nation 122

  • CHP 115
  • İYİ 7
  • People's Alliance (AKP-MHP) 38.2%
    Halkların Demokratik Partisi (HDP) 2.5%
    Saadet Partisi (SAADET) 1.4%
    Democracy Sol Parti (DSP) 1.3%


    Spring and autumn are pleasantly tempered and therefore the best times to pay a visit to the city. Relatively high temperatures determine the summer months.

    Izmir, Konak (29 m)
    Climate diagram
    J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
    Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
    Source: State Meteorological Office of the Turkish Republic, normal period 1981–2010 ; wetterkontor.de (water temperature, humidity)
    Average monthly temperatures and precipitation for Izmir, Konak (29 m)
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 12.8 13.4 16.6 21.2 26.3 31.1 33.5 33.2 29.3 24.4 18.3 14.1 O 22.9
    Min. Temperature (° C) 6.0 5.9 7.9 11.6 15.7 20.4 23.0 22.9 19.0 15.0 10.5 7.7 O 13.8
    Temperature (° C) 9.0 9.2 11.8 16.1 21.0 26.0 28.3 28.0 23.9 19.1 13.8 10.5 O 18.1
    Precipitation ( mm ) 112.2 99.7 82.9 46.4 25.4 7.5 2.1 1.7 19.9 43.2 109.7 137.9 Σ 688.6
    Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 4.0 4.7 6.1 6.9 9.1 11.0 11.3 10.8 9.2 7.1 5.0 3.6 O 7.4
    Rainy days ( d ) 10.3 10.4 8.4 7.6 4.8 1.5 0.4 0.4 2.1 5.2 8.9 12.4 Σ 72.4
    Water temperature (° C) 15th 13 14th 15th 18th 21st 23 23 22nd 20th 17th 16 O 18.1
    Humidity ( % ) 72 69 65 63 60 52 49 49 55 64 70 72 O 61.6
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


    Like all of Turkey, Izmir and the region are prone to earthquakes. The East Smyrna earthquake in 1653 claimed 2,500 lives and the 1688 earthquake claimed 16,000 deaths. Since 1900 there have been three earthquakes, which reached the Richter scale magnitude 7.0. Most recently, on October 17, 2005, various earthquakes with strengths from 5.6 to 5.9 occurred, in which at least 30 people were injured and property damage occurred.



    The most popular sport in Izmir is football. The most successful teams are: Altay , Göztepe , Karşıyaka , İzmirspor , Altınordu and Bucaspor .

    The football clubs of Izmir are known in the ultra scene beyond the borders of Turkey. Not for their sporting success, but because of the city derbies between Karşıyaka SK and Göztepe GK, which, often accompanied by violent clashes, are part of a long rivalry between the clubs.

    Sports facilities
    • İzmir Alsancak Stadı
    • İzmir Ataturk Spor Salonu
    • Ataturk Stadium
    • Bostanlı Spor Tesisleri
    • Buca Hasanağa Bahçesi
    • Evka-4 Spor Tesisleri
    • İnciraltı Spor Tesisleri
    • İzmir Büyükşehir Belediyesi Celal Atik Spor Salonu
    • İzmir Olimpik Buz Pateni
    International sport events


    In addition to the numerous historical sites, Izmir has the famous seaside resorts of Çeşme and Kuşadası in the vicinity , which can now be easily reached by motorway. There is also the possibility of short trips to Greek islands such as Samos and Chios . Turkish citizens do not need an EU visa for this, the Greek authorities issue tourist visas for short-term stays.

    In the “ Kemeraltı ” bazaar , tourists will not only find oriental curiosities, but also lots of gold jewelry.


    The following important ruins and natural beauties can be found in the wider area:


    The following well-known people were born in Izmir and Smyrna in chronological order:

    Town twinning


    to ancient and Byzantine Smyrna

    to the Ottoman-Turkish Izmir

    • Garabed Hatscherian: Smyrna 1922. The diary of the doctor Garabed Hatscherian . Ed. U. Translated from Armenian by Dora Sakayan. With an introduction by Tessa Hofmann . KITAB, Klagenfurt 2006, ISBN 3-902005-87-4 .
    • René Puaux: Les derniers jours de Smyrne. Soc. Gene. d'Impr., Paris 1923.
    • Jürgen W. Schmidt: Reich Chancellor Prince Bismarck and a sailors fight in Smyrna in 1877. The successful defuse of an impending Franco-German conflict. In: Deutsches Schiffahrtsarchiv - Wissenschaftliches Jahrbuch des Deutschen Schiffahrtsmuseum, Vol. 33 (2010), Wiefelstede 2011, pp. 323–348.

    Web links

    Commons : Izmir  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
    Wikivoyage: Izmir  - Travel Guide

    Individual evidence

    1. nufusu.com , accessed February 13, 2020
    2. ^ Official website of the Yeşilova burial mound
    3. cf. including Strabo , Geography 11,5,4; Tacitus , Annales 4.56; Stephen of Byzantium sv Smyrna .
    4. Ekrem Akurgal : Old Smyrna's 1st Settlement Layer and the Artemis Sanctuary . Turkish Historical Society, 1983 (English).
    5. Mike Carr, Nikolaos G. Chrissis (Ed.): Contact and Conflict in Frankish Greece and the Aegean, 1204-1453: Crusade, Religion and Trade between Latins, Greeks and Turks , Ashgate Publishing, 2014, p. 131
    6. Kenneth Meyer Setton (ed.), Anthony Luttrell: A History of the Crusades: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries , American Philosophical Society, 1976, p. 308
    7. Kenneth Meyer Setton: The Papacy and the Levant, 1204-1571: The Fifteenth Century , American Philosophical Society, 1978, p. 317
    8. ^ Benno Bickel, Karl-Wilhelm Koch, Florian Schmidt: Steam under the half moon. The last few years of steam operation in Turkey . Verlag Röhr, Krefeld 1987, ISBN 3-88490-183-4 , p. 10
    9. ^ Paul C. Helmreich: From Paris to Sèvres. The Partition of the Ottoman Empire at the Peace Conference of 1919–1920 , Ohio 1974, p. 169 ff.
    10. Cemil Bilsel: Lozan , Vol I, pp 261-272.
    11. Taner Akcam Armenia and the Genocide , Hamburg 2004, p. 108
    12. ^ Smyrna 1922. The diary of the doctor Garabed Hatscherian. Ed. U. Translated from Armenian by Dora Sakayan. With an introduction by Tessa Hofmann . KITAB, Klagenfurt 2006, ISBN 3-902005-87-4 (diary of an Armenian doctor and resident of Izmir about the massacre of the local Armenian population during the Turkish-Greek war). See also: Wilhelm Baum:  HATSCHERIAN, Garabed. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 27, Bautz, Nordhausen 2007, ISBN 978-3-88309-393-2 , Sp. 623-624.
    13. ^ George Horton: The Blight of Asia , 1926 ( online ).
    14. ^ René Puaux: Les derniers jours de Smyrne , 1923.
    15. Murat Bardakci: Gâvur İzmir 'nereden gelir , Habertürk, March 31, 2013
    16. https://www.phoenix.de/content/phoenix/die_sendung/ereignisse/thema:_welttour_tuerkei_2017/2528670?daten=2018-01-04
    17. metro-report.com of February 17, 2018 (English), accessed on February 19, 2018
    18. ^ First Izmir Tram Nearing Completion . In: Ha Rakevet 111 (December 2015), 111: 09 A (v), p. 12.
    19. Marmaray corridor to open in Q1 2019, minister says on railwaygazette.com (English), accessed on December 16, 2018
    20. Yeni Şafak: İzmir Büyükşehir Belediye Meclisi Seçim Sonuçları - Yerel Seçim 2019. May 29, 2019, accessed on May 29, 2019 (tr-TR).
    21. footballderbies.com
    22. karsiyakausa.com (Turkish)
    23. Yali.org (Turkish)