DISTRICTS: Bornova, Buca, Cigli, Karsiyaka, Konak, Menderes, Aliaga, Beydag, Bayindir, Bergama, Cesme, Dikili, Foca, Karaburun, KemalPasha, Kinik, Kira, Menemen, Odemis, Seferihisar, Selcuk, Tire, Torbali, Urla, Guzelbahce, Balcova, Cigli, Narlidere, Gaziemir.
Izmir is located in the western Aegean region and is Turkey’s third largest city with over 3.5 million population and second most important port after Istanbul. The original name of Izmir is Smyrna, which comes from the Goddess Myrina, a deity worshipped before the Aeolians built their first settlement in the 10th c B.C. This name also refers to the Myrrha Commifera plant, which produces an aromatic resin. The city is set around a circular bay and is beautiful with its palm-lined promenades, avenues and green parks. Izmir is also an important commercial, industrial, business and congress center and has many good hotels.
Izmir is one of the oldest cities in the region and was originally thought to be established in northernmost corner of the gulf in present day Bayrakli and Karsiyaka, but the recent discovery of two mounds very close to each other in Yesilova and Yassitepe in the plain of Bornova and the new excavations carried out by a team of archaeologists from Izmir’s Ege University under the direction of Associate Professor Zafer Derin, set the starting date of the city’s history between 6500 and 4000 BC.
By 1500 BC, the area was under the influence of the Hittite Empire. The Hittites possessed a written language and mentioned several localities in the area in their records. Invasions from the Balkans in the 1200s BC, destroyed Troy VII and Hattusas, the capital of the Anatolian Hittite Empire. Anatolia (Turkey) fell back into a dark age that lasted till the emergence of the Phrygian civilization in the 8th century BC. The oldest house that has been unearthed is dated from this period. The walls of this well-preserved one-roomed house were made of sun-dried bricks and the roof of the house was made of reeds. Around that time, people started to protect the city with thick ramparts made of sun-dried bricks. From then on Smyrna achieved an identity of city-state. People generally made their living on agriculture and fishing.
The legendary Greek poet Homer, who is credited with writing the Iliad and the Odyssey was said to have been born in Izmir and according to the Greek historian Herodotus, the city was first established by the Aeolians, but shortly thereafter seized by the Ionians who developed it into one of the world’s largest cultural and commercial centers of that period. The seizure of the city occurred in the following manner: Colophonians fleeing internal strife within their Ionian city had taken refuge in old Smyrna and took advantage of an opportunity that presented itself when Aeolian Smyrniots had gone outside the city ramparts for a festival in honor of Dionysus, taking possession of the city. Smyrna was added to the twelve Ionian cities, reaching a peak period between 650-545 B.C. This period was considered to be the most powerful period of the whole Ionian civilization. Under the leadership of the city of Miletus, Ionian colonies were established in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, the Marmara region, the Black Sea and in Greece. The colonies competed amongst themselves and were a match for Greece proper in many areas. Smyrna by this point was no longer a small town, but an urban center that took part in the Mediterranean trade.