İzmir in 3 Hours

"If one loves a city with a child's heart, he always loves... If he looks into a city with a child's eyes he always looks with goodness."


If you have three hours to see İzmir, you should start from Kadifekale, Pagos with its ancient name, where the city is re-founded by Alexander the Great. The name Kadifekale derives from the legendary Saba Princess "Kayfada" who is believed to have lived here. Alexander the Great, in 334 BC during the beginning of his campaign towards Persia, defeated the Persian army in Anatolia and headed towards Ephesus. The legend has it that, when he arrived in İzmir, he received a message from the heavens that he should re-establish the city of Smyrna right there at the skirts of Kadifekale. The Nereids in his dream also told him to gather the descendants of the people of old Smyrna together and settle them in the new city so that the people of İzmir would be even happier. In response, Alexander ordered his commanders to re-establish the city and the new Izmir was built on the skirts of Kadifekale.

The Roman Theater

From the ancient acropolis, Kadifekale, to the ancient Roman theatre with archaeological excavations still underway, you can follow the following route: 998/2 street, 977 street where you can have a tea break at Çınar Kahvesi (Tea-coffee house) and Kireçlikaya Mosque. Just next to the mosque stands the Roman theatre that once hosted 15 thousand people for art events or civil meetings. You can also see the eastern city walls stretching down to Basmane quarter.

An outlook on Agora

Follow 806 street and you will reach Namazgah quarter and İzmir’s Agora. Since you have a limited time, you can have an outlook on Agora which was the World’s largest civil agora during ancient times, but do not miss the smiling face on the arch. It is the face of "Faustina the Younger" the beloved wife of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who loved Izmirians and was loved by them.

Havra Street (Synagogues’ Street)

When you turn towards the sea at Agora, you’ll get to Havra Street. Lively all day, this street is the best way to access Kemeraltı which is the World’s oldest marketplace.

Bikkur Hullim Synagogue

It is an interesting example of the six synagogues around Havra Sokağı. Located at 40, İkiçeşmelik Street, this synagogue is one of the most beautiful ones in İzmir. It was built in 1772 by Salamon de Claves, an İzmirian Jew of Dutch origin. Burned down during 1772 fire, it was rebuilt in 1800 by Manuel de Claves of the same family.

Kestanepazarı Mosque

At the end of Havra Street, you’ll see a striking piece of art, Kestanepazarı Mosque which has overtones of Aydınoğulları era. It was built in 1663 by Hacı Ahmet Ağa son of Emin from Aydınoğlu dynasty. The prayer space is square in shape and covered with a squinched dome. In 19th century, some pieces brought from İsa Bey Mosque of Selçuk was attached to the topside of its mihrab (altar).

A sherbet break

Since very old times İzmir has been famous for its sherbets (sweetened fruit juice). You must have a break for sherbet. Leave Kemeraltı by following 913 Street, walk across Fevzipaşa Boulevard and proceed on 931 Street again. You can have an outlook on Kuzuoğlu Market. The buildings on Mimar Kemalettin Street are good examples of the First National Architecture Movement. Walk across Gazi Boulevard and get to Halit Ziya Boulevard.

Saint Mary’s Church

With its very interesting interior decorative figures which will remind you of "seafarers", Saint Mary’s Church will give you the opportunity to see a work of the renowned architect Gustave Eiffell in İzmir. The roof of this Franciscan Catholic church was reconstructed by Gustave Eiffel, and the organ in it which was one of the most imposing instruments of its time is still in service. You’re always welcome for another tour in Izmir…


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