İzmir is a magnificent geography where different civilizations have settled throughout history and where each civilization combines its own culture and traces with the city’s atmosphere of tolerance. Located at the westernmost point of the Anatolian lands, at the bottom of the Izmir Bay, the city is also known as Turkey ‘s gateway to the Western world.
It is possible to see the traces of societies that lived throughout history in İzmir, whose known historical past goes back 8,500 years from today, all over the city. Konak Square, known as the historical city center of Izmir, and the vicinity of the Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar are the regions where the historical buildings of Izmir are concentrated.
Izmir Historical Places
The historical city center of Izmir , where the remains of the city of Smyrna, founded by Alexander the Great in 300 BC, are located in Izmir, gained a multicultural appearance with the religious and civil structures of different civilizations that settled in the city in the following years. At that time, İzmir consisted of the acropolis in Kadifekale and the lower city stretching from the skirts of Kadifekale to the port.
Konak Square is at the heart of Izmir Historical City Center. The area between Cumhuriyet Square and Passport Pier in the northeast, Variant and Bahri Baba Park in the south, and the line extending to Kültürpark, Basmane Train Station and Kadifekale in the southeast is referred to as Old Izmir .
ⓘ Content List
Izmir Historical Places
- Konak Square
- Clock Tower
- Yali Mosque
- National Library and Alhambra Cinema
- Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar
- Kizlaragasi Inn
- Chestnut Bazaar Mosque
- Şadırvan Mosque
- Salepçioğlu Mosque
- Basmane Hotels Street
- Basmane Station
- Ayavukla Church
- Ethnographic Museum
- Archaeological Museum
- Konak Pier
- Passport Pier
- St. Polycarp Church
- Beth Israel Synagogue
1. Konak Square
Konak Square is the central point where the heart of Izmir beats. The square, which is officially named Atatürk Square and surrounded by public buildings, houses the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, the Government House, the Police Department, the Provincial Directorate of National Education, the Yalı Mosque and the Historical Clock Tower.
Konak Square takes its name from the Katipoğulları Family, one of the famous notable families of Izmir. The family, who lived in Izmir in the 18th century, was among the most influential names in the city administration. The empty space in the outer courtyard of the Katipoğulları Family’s mansion has now turned into Konak Square, the center where the city meets.
2. Clock Tower
İzmir Clock Tower is one of the symbolic structures of İzmir. The Clock Tower was built in 1901 in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamit’s accession to the throne. With its stonework reflecting the Ottoman style, geometric figures and small domes, the Clock Tower also adorns the logo of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality and Konak Municipality, the central district of the city.
The clock of the Clock Tower on the list of places to visit in Izmir , German Emperor II. Wilhelm’s gift. There are four fountains on all four sides of the tower. Kemeraltı Bazaar, which is frequently visited by the people of İzmir for shopping, is passed from Konak Square, where the Clock Tower is located. Many Izmir residents consider the Clock Tower a common point to meet their friends.
3. Yali Mosque
Yalı Mosque (Konak Mosque) was built between 1754-1755 by Mehmet Pasha’s daughter Ayşe Hanım. One of the oldest historical buildings of Konak Square, the mosque, which was a complex structure with the adjacent madrasah at the time it was built, took its final form with the demolition of the madrasah in the following years.
The mosque, which has an octagonal plan and a single dome, is decorated with Kütahya tiles. The mosque, which was restored by Tahsin Sermet before the War of Independence, is considered among the mosques with the smallest prayer area in our country. The mosque also hosts the funerals of important figures in Izmir politics and bureaucracy.
4. National Library and Alhambra Cinema
İzmir National Library has the title of the first library bearing its national name in Turkey. The library, which was built in 1912 with the initiative of the Committee of Union and Progress, was located on Beyler Street when it was first built. The current National Library building, built by Architect Tahsin Sermet Bey, is adjacent to the Alhambra Cinema. The neo-classical style building was completed in 1933.
In the national library, more than 670 thousand books, 4 thousand 800 magazines, 7 thousand 400 newspapers; There are approximately 4 thousand manuscripts in Arabic, Turkish and Persian languages. The first edition of Katip Çelebi’s work named Cihannüma, published by İbrahim Müteferrika, and Aristotle’s Gutenberg edition dated 1531, are among the 72 pieces of Quran collection. The Alhambra Cinema is used as the stage of the State Opera and Ballet today.
5. Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar
The historical Kemeraltı Bazaar is the heart of İzmir’s trade. Located at the western end of the Silk Road, İzmir has played the role of an important trade center throughout history. Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar, where European merchants’ shops and caravanserais were located, was a lively place where merchants who came to the city by camel caravans following the Silk Road unloaded their goods and rested.
Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar, which is the largest open-air bazaar in Turkey with its borders based on Konak, Çankaya and Basmane, is the oldest and most active shopping area of İzmir with its inns, baths, mosques, churches, synagogues, fountains and trade houses. The bazaar, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in April 2020, is planned to be transformed into a lively Old Town area like in European cities.
6. Kizlaragasi Inn
The Kızlarağası Inn is located in the historical Kemeraltı Bazaar, in the area known as Halim Ağa Bazaar. It was built by Kızağası Hacı Beşir Ağa in 1745, just behind the İzmir Port Castle. Contributing to the vibrant commercial life of İzmir, the building was used as a place where traders who came to İzmir with caravans stayed and unloaded their goods in those years.
There are many shops around a rectangular and wide courtyard inside the Kızlarağası Inn, which has a square form. The inn, which was restored in 1993, is a frequent destination for those who visit Kemeraltı today. Handicrafts, silver and gold jewellery, souvenirs and the famous dibek coffee are among the things you can find in Kızlarağası.
7. Chestnut Bazaar Mosque
Kestane Pazarı Mosque is located in the historical Kemeraltı Bazaar, in the area called Chestnut Market. The mosque is one of the oldest places of worship in İzmir with its cut stone architecture and large courtyard. The mosque, which was built by Eminzade Hacı Ahmet Ağa in 1663, was restored after the fire in the 19th century and took its current form.
Chestnut Bazaar There are shops selling religious books and handicrafts on the ground floor of the mosque and its surroundings. The mosque, which has a very large courtyard in its northern and western parts, is the mosque with the largest capacity in the Kemeraltı region. The mosque was last restored in 2010.
8. Şadırvan Mosque
Şadırvan Mosque is located at the corner of Anafartalar Street and 912 Street in the Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar. There are shops under the mosque, which is named after the fountains next to it and under it, and was built with cut stone material. It is known that the mosque, which is also mentioned in Evliya Çelebi’s Travel Book, was built by Bıyıkoğlu Mahmud in 1637-38.
After the mosque was repaired in 1815, it took its final form. The area around the Şadırvan Mosque is surrounded by the Kemeraltı shopkeepers who want to cool off on hot summer days, and the cafes where the people of İzmir who want to rest while touring the bazaar take a breath and have a drink.
9. Salepçioğlu Mosque
Salepçioğlu Mosque , built by Salepçizade Hacı Ahmet Efendi in 1896, is one of the mosques with the most original architecture in Turkey. Located behind the Salepçioğlu Bazaar, the mosque has a unique beauty with its baroque façade decorations.
The three onion domes covering the congregation area, the circular balconies and the symmetrical curvilinear staircase providing access to the courtyard reflect the baroque influences of the mosque. After the mosque was restored by the Izmir Chamber of Commerce, it became one of the most visited historical buildings of Kemeraltı Bazaar. In my Izmir Sacred Places blog post, I wrote about the important places of Izmir for every religion.
Agora is located in Namazgah district in Konak. Agora is one of the best preserved structures of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The three-storey building was destroyed by an earthquake in 178 and was rebuilt by Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
With the Agora excavation works carried out with the support of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality and Izmir Chamber of Commerce, the city was resurrected, while the slums around the Agora were demolished and made visible from Agora Eşrefpaşa Street and Kemeraltı.
In my blog post The Most Beautiful Ancient Cities of Izmir, I wrote about the ancient cities you can see in and around Izmir. If you’re curious about ancient cities, you can also check out my little-known Ancient Cities in Izmir blog post you’ve never heard of.
⏰ Agora visiting hours are 10.00-19.00 during the summer period (1 April – 1 October); winter period (1 October – 1 April) 08.30-17.30. The ruins are open to visitors 7 days a week. 🔐 Agora entrance fee is 18TL. Museum Card is valid.
Kadifekale , located on a hill overlooking Izmir Bay and the city center, is one of the historical regions of Izmir with the most beautiful atmosphere with its magnificent view. Kadifekale, which was the acropolis of the city during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, is a sheltered structure surrounded by walls.
The surviving part of the original 6 km long castle, 5 towers 20-25 meters high and the fortification walls in the south. There is a large water cistern in the ruined state of the castle and the remains of a chapel in the center. Pagos Producer Market, which was established by Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, is being established in Kadifekale.
12. Basmane Hotels Street
Basmane Hotels Street is right next to the train station, which is the lifeblood of transportation, which is located between the Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar and Basmane Train Station, where the connection between İzmir city center and the countryside is provided. Due to the historical hotels located on 1296 Street, formerly Dibek Street, this street has started to be called Hotels Street over the years.
The architectural appearance of historical hotels with bay windows and cut stones on the street, where historical buildings with two or one-storey basements and new buildings built later on, symbolize the intercultural interaction of İzmir. In my blog post, 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Izmir , I wrote about lesser-known aspects of Izmir.
13. Basmane Station
Basmane Station is one of the two train stations located in the city center. Turkey’s first railway line was built between İzmir and Aydın in 1856 in order to easily transport agricultural products in and around Aydın to İzmir Port. Basmane Station is one of the most important parts of the railway investment that the Europeans signed in this period to facilitate the trade in the region.
Basmane Station, the last station of the Izmir-Turgutlu Railway connection, reflects the French architectural style because the French company that held the line at that time built it. The train station, which was built in the 19th century, connects İzmir to centers such as Turgutlu, Manisa, Soma, Alaşehir and Uşak.
14. Ayavukla Church
Ayavukla Church is one of the churches of great importance for Christians whose name is mentioned in the Bible. Located in Basmane district, the building, which was built as a Greek church in 1886, started to serve as Izmir’s first archeology museum in 1926, by the order of Atatürk, after the War of Independence.
The church, which was also used as the warehouse of the state opera and ballet for a period, was transformed into its original form with the restoration work of the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality. Every year, Greeks hold rituals in the church, which is located in the same courtyard as the Izmir Journalists’ Association Press Museum . The church is a lively venue that hosts cultural and artistic events throughout the year. It is currently used by both Protestant and Catholic American congregations.
⏰ Ayavukla Church and Izmir Journalists Association Press Museum visiting hours are 08.30-17.30. The museum and church are open to visitors 6 days a week, except Mondays. 🔐 Ayavukla Church and İzmir Journalists Association Press Museum entrance fee is not charged.
Kulturpark is the place that hosts the world-famous Izmir International Fair. Located in the heart of the city center, Kültürpark has more than 200 tree and plant species, most of which are brought from abroad. The largest green area in the city center, where İzmir breathes, is located within the borders of Kültürpark.
Half of Kültürpark, which is established on an area of 421 thousand square meters, is covered with green space. Kulturpark, which is also considered as the lung of Izmir, has walking paths, swimming pool, indoor sports hall, amphitheater, wedding hall, funfair and exhibition halls.
16. Ethnographic Museum
İzmir Ethnography Museum is located in Konak Variant, within Bahri Baba Park. The museum was built for the plague in 1831. Located in the Rock Hospital building. The museum building, which bears traces of the ornamental features of Byzantine architecture, is one of the symbolic structures that reflect the multicultural structure of İzmir.
Two floors of the three-floor İzmir Ethnography Museum are used as museums. In the museum, examples of traditional handicrafts such as pottery, eye beadwork, tin making, woodblock printing and carpet weaving, symbolizing the social life of Izmir and its surroundings in the 19th century, are exhibited.
Just across the Ethnography Museum and on the other side of the road is the Gynecological Maternity Center , which was established in 1851 as Izmir’s first Muslim Hospital . There are many historical buildings around the road called Variant . When you walk to Variant, you see the panorama of the city with the unique view of Izmir Bay.
⏰ İzmir Ethnography Museum hours are 08.00-17.30 in summer (1 April – 1 October); winter period (1 October – 1 April) 08.30-17.30. The museum is open to visitors 6 days a week, except Mondays. 🔐 İzmir Ethnography Museum entrance fee is 14TL. Museum Card is valid.
17. Archaeological Museum
Izmir Archeology Museum is located in the same garden as the Ethnography Museum. The museum was opened in 1984 in a closed area of 5 thousand square meters. The three-floor museum building has exhibition halls, a library, a conference hall, a photography room, a warehouse and open space exhibition sections.
Archaeological artifacts from the ancient cities of Çandarlı, Bergama and Bayraklı, Roman period marble statues, glassware, coins, bronze Demeter statue, Western Anatolian vases, masks, gold and silver ornaments can be seen in the museum where the finds obtained from the archaeological excavations in Izmir and its surroundings are exhibited.
⏰ İzmir Archaeological Museum hours are 08.00-17.30 in summer (1 April – 1 October); winter period (1 October – 1 April) 08.30-17.30. The museum is open to visitors 6 days a week, except Mondays. 🔐 İzmir Archeology Museum entrance fee is 14TL. Museum Card is valid.
18. Konak Pier
Konak Pier (Old Customs House) is a building built by the French in the 19th century, on the shore of Izmir Bay, between Konak and Passport. At the time it was built, it was used as a bonded goods storage area. The customs building, which took its final form with the additions made in 1854, 1865 and 1905, was used with this function until 1954.
Konak Pier, which was transformed into a fish market by the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality in 1955-1960, was opened for use as a shopping center under the name Konak Pier after serving as a parking lot for a short time. Konak Pier, which includes movie theaters, restaurants and cafes and many shops, is a shopping center with a pleasant atmosphere on the seaside.
19. Passport Pier
Passport Pier is located in Konak Cumhuriyet Square, in the Passport district. The dock and port unit, which was built in the last quarter of the 1800s, was a center where passengers and goods coming to the city by sea were met and checked.
Passport Pier, on which the lighthouse, customs building, passport control office and port office are located, was severely damaged in the 1922 Izmir Fire. The building, which was rebuilt in 1926, was moved to Alsancak Port in 1952, as the pier became insufficient. Passport Pier is used as a passenger pier for sea transportation in İzmir today.
The 1 kilometer long Breakwater opposite the Passport Pier was built between 1867-1876 as part of the New Dock Project by the Dussaud Brothers. There are lighthouses on the south and north ends of the Dalgakıran, which was repaired in 1982.
Cumhuriyet Square , which was designed after the 1922 fire but finished in 1932, and the Atatürk Monument in the square have an important place among the historical places in İzmir.
20. St. Polycarp Church
st. Polycarp Church , one of the oldest religious buildings in Izmir. The church was built by the Bishop of Izmir, St. It is named after Polycarp. The building, which was built in 1630 with the special permission of Suleiman the Magnificent, was restored in the 1700s after it was badly damaged in the fire in 1680.
French Artist, Painter and Architect Raymond C. Pére living in Izmir, St. The church, which is decorated with frescoes presenting sections from the life of Polycarp, can be entered with special permission. The church is located directly opposite the Hilton Hotel in the Çankaya district of Konak district.
21. Beth Israel Synagogue
Beth Israel Synagogue , Izmir’s largest synagogue. In Konak Karataş, the Ottoman Sultan Sultan II. The synagogue, which was built with the edict of Abdulhamit and located on Mithatpaşa Street, is an important part of the historical texture of the city with its original architecture.
The construction of the Beth Israel Synagogue, where the religious wedding ceremonies of the Jewish community was held, began in 1905, and the building was put into service in 1907. When you climb uphill for 5 minutes from the Synagogue, you reach the Historical Elevator , which is among the historical places to visit in Izmir.
You can reach İzmir by air, land and railway. You can choose your private car for road transportation or you can reach Izmir bus station by bus. While rail transportation is provided from certain cities of our country and districts of Izmir, you need to fly to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport for air transportation. You can choose Enuygun.com for the most suitable flight ticket prices.