Ancient İzmir

 
Ancient İzmir.
 
Ancient İzmir
The oldest İzmir: Yeşilova The Yeşilova Mound is the oldest settlement in Izmir. Before it was discovered in 2003 Izmir was thought to date back 5 thousand years but after the excavations and findings at the Mound, it came out to be one of the oldest human settlements in Anatolia. Yeşilova Mound Visitor Centre is open and free of charge to visit on weekdays. Visits to the Mound are led by expert guides from the excavation team. The tour at Yeşilova Mound Visitor centre and Yassıtepe takes around 90 minutes. The tour consists of visits to the excavation fields of Yeşilova Mound, Visitors Centre, Neolithic Village and Yassıtepe, respectively. Visitors must make an appointment before the visit. Phone 232 999-2929/5400-5405 Second İzmir: İpekli Kuyu If we had a time machine and could travel five or six thousand years back in time to the place where Bornova Anatolian High School now stands, we would most probably see the people living there, doing agriculture on the fields east of the school and having commercial and demographic relations with the neighbouring people of Bayraklı and Tepekule settlements. This settlement today is the piny hill in the yard of Bornova Anatolian High School on which the old Headmaster’s House, or ‘Giraud’s Mansion’ with its older name, stands. Archaeological research revealed that, this mound which is 25 meters above sea level and is also known as Bornova Anatolian High School Mound or İpeklikuyu Mound in archaeological literature, has been a human settlement since as early as the Early Bronze Age. Third İzmir: Bayraklı Tepekule Mound The first settlement with the name Smyrna was located in Tepekule, northeast of Izmir Bay. In Tepekule where the remains of the Tomb of King Tantalus were found, excavation works are still in progress. Archaeological research has revealed that the site had a grid street plan where the streets intersect with right angles. Significant findings of archaeological works in Tepekule include two temples, city walls, civil architectural constructions, streets and fountains. The foundation and founders of Ancient İzmir The first myth on Ancient İzmir’s date of foundation and founders refers to the Amazons. Another one highlights the legendary King Tantalus of Phrygia as the founder. And a third one says it’s the Leleges who founded İzmir. Researches show that Izmir is an Aiol city. It is known that Izmir, although it fell under Hittite dominance for some time, kept its Aiol character up until it was conquered by Ionians. The twelve Ionian cities increased their power on Aegean coasts thanks to the cooperation and trade network they built among themselves. With an eye to expand their influence up to the deepest point of Izmir Bay, Ionians conquered this neighbouring Aiol city. The Ionian city that conquered İzmir is presumed to be Kolophon or Ephessus. Mythology highlights rather Kolophonians with regard to the conquest of Izmir. Around 700 BC the people of Kolophon split into two groups due to political conflict. One of these groups in Kolophon who were forced to exile takes refuge in Izmir. But later these refugees in Izmir take the power and exile the local Izmirians. People of Izmir who lost their city to Ionians are forced to compromise. The deal is that they can take their belongings but the city shall be left to the invaders. Herodotus says that this agreement was abided and Izmir became an Ionian city from then on. That’s how Izmir turned from Aiol to Ionian. The capture of Izmir by Ionians who had a well operating trade network thanks to their offshore colonies, led to a fast transformation in the city’s history. The development and wealth of the city whetted the neighbouring Lydian’s appetite and they attacked Izmir. Around 610- 600 BC Lydian armies captured and destroyed the city, however Izmirians later succeeded to rebuild it. The fall of Ancient Izmir was due to the Persian invasion of Anatolia. The Persian Emperor after capturing Sardis, the centre of Lydia, attacked Izmir as well as other coastal cities. In 545 BC, Izmir was once again destroyed, this time by the Persians. This was the end of the settlement in Bayraklı as a city. Fourth İzmir Izmir was re-established this time in a different but not distant place, on the skirts of the hill where Kadifekale stands. It saw several civilisations and was regarded as one of the prominent cities of Roman Empire. The reestablishment of Izmir is attributed to Alexandros of Macedonia, also widely known as Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great, in 334 BC during the beginning of his Persian Campaign, moved with his army towards Ephesus. During this campaign, when he arrived in İzmir, the legend has it that, he received a message from the heavens that he should re-establish the city of Smyrna right there at the skirts of Kadifekale. He was also told to gather the descendants of the people of old Smyrna together and settle them in the new city. In response, Alexander ordered his commanders to re-establish the city. It is accepted that two leading commanders of Alexander built the city, and Kadifekale as a reminder of those times crowns the city. The city was mainly dependent on the harbour which would also shape its future. The eastern city walls reached from Kadifekale down to today’s Basmane and from there to where Hisar Mosque stands today. And the eastern walls, also beginning from Kadifekale reached Today’s Bayramyeri and from there to the sea near today’s Town Hall. On both eastern and western city walls were the gates of the city. In early 3rd century BC, Izmir was accepted, upon the proposal by Ephesus, to the union of Ionian cities and succeeded to maintain its “Free City” status during the wars of Hellenistic era. However, as a result of these wars Ionian coastal cities had to bow the knee before the Kingdom of Pergamum. İzmir remained dependent on Pergamum Kingdom until 133 BC when King Attalos III of Pergamum died. Due to the King’s will, Pergamum Kingdom adhered to Roman Empire which made Izmir, as well as other Ionian cities, a part of the Empire. İzmir during Roman Era (133 BC-395 AC) During its early years under Roman rule, İzmir was affected from the disruption caused by an uprising. The upri-sing, in fact, was a movement against the adhesion of Pergamum Kingdom to Roman Empire due to the last will of King Attalos III of Pergamum. The uprising was led by Aristonikos who claimed to be the son of the previous King of Pergamum before Attalos. Aristonikos promised to name his new kingdom as “Land of Sun” and to emancipate the slaves who would help him fight against the Romans. Even though in the beginning of the uprising Aristonikos’ forces succeeded to win some battles, Roman forces finally defeated the uprising and seized control in 130 BC, and Aristonikos was executed in Rome in 129 BC. Izmir did not support the rebels during this turmoil, and for that reason granted “Free City” status by Romans.


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