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16 Interesting Facts About Izmir, Turkey

Raksha Kulkarni

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Izmir, located in western Turkey, is the third largest city in the country. It is often called as the pearl of the Aegean shores. Apart from the abundant history related to different civilizations, the city is also known as a religious and economic center.
Izmir City Facts
The city was initially known as ‘Smyrna’, in the early years of 1800 – 3000 BC. The name came from an ancient Anatolian root dialect. The name Izmir started from the Turkish era.
The city has had a recorded history of over 3000 years and up to 8500 years of history as a human settlement.
More than 5% of Turkey’s population resides in this city. In addition, 1.8 million tourists visit here, which contributes to 6% of Turkey’s employment.
The Alsancak Station Clock Tower is the oldest of the four clock towers in the city. It was built in 1858.
The Clock Tower in Konak holds the most importance as it was built to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Abdulhamid II’s rising to the throne in 1901.
The Alsancak railway station is the second-oldest railway station in Turkey. It is also one of the two main terminals in the city.
Karantina Island, located in the Gulf of Izmir, is one of the three registered quarantine islands in the world. The facilities on the island were started by the French in 1865. The island is connected to the mainland by a road built in 1950.
In ancient times, the Temple of Artemis in the ancient city of Ephesus was considered as one of the seven wonders.
The magnificent temple had bronze sculptures and was built by Lydian King Croesus. Unfortunately, it didn’t survive.
Izmir is home to one of the oldest olive oil factories in the world, dating back to 600 BC. An excavation near Klazomenai declared this. A similar workshop was again carried out in 2004 – 2005 and the factory was restarted.
A women’s protest happened in 1828 which is said to be one of the first in the world. They protested for 3 days against the decision of raising prices of bread. The decision was withdrawn after the protest.
A football match played in the Izmir Atatürk Stadium in 1981 between Karsiya Football Club and Göztepe Club which attracted the largest crowd of 67,696 people with tickets.
But, the number rose more than 80,000 as people had entered without tickets.
Virgin Mary spent her last days in this city.
House of the Virgin Mary in Seluk near Ephesus, the ancient city, is regarded as a sacred place for pilgrimage since 1952. A special mass is held here annually on 15th August.

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The very first coins were minted at Sardis, which was the capital of Lycia Kingdom. It was first done in the late 7th Century BC.
The city has 9 synagogues, which are Jewish house of worship. These are located mostly in the traditional Jewish area of Karataş or in Havra Sokak in Kemeralti.
The city boasts of huge events like the annual International Izmir Festival (since 1987), Izmir European Jazz Festival (since 1994), and International Izmir Short Film Festival (since 1999).
One fifth of the Turkish exports go through the Port of Alsancak, which has a yearly container loading capacity of a million.
Famous people like Xenophobes, Anaxagoras, and Homer have been born or lived in Izmir.