Izmir

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Izmir

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GPS N38.417014°,E27.12945°
Izmir is the city in Turkey in the province with the same name. It lies by the Aegean Sea in the Gulf of Izmir. It is the third most populous city in Turkey and the second largest port (after Istanbul). Izmir is widely regarded as one of the most liberal Turkish cities in terms of values, ideology, lifestyle, dynamism and gender roles. It is a stronghold of the Republican People's Party. Modern Izmir also incorporates the nearby ancient cities of Ephesus, Pergamon, Sardis and Klazomenai, and centers of international tourism such as Kuşadası, Çeşme and Foça. In the past, until the early twentieth century, the city was known as Smyrna and has been called Izmir since. It is nicknamed "Occidental Izmir" or "The Pearl of the Aegean".

The city is one of the oldest settlements of the Mediterranean basin. In the 8th century BC the place became Old Smyrna (Greek city-state of the classical era). The city was added to the twelve Ionian cities and it was really powerful. It was destroyed in 545 BC after the Persian invasion. Alexander the Great re-founded the city in about 300 BC. In 133 BC Smyrna became a Roman territory and enjoyed a golden period for the second time. However, in 178 AD the city was devastated by an earthquake and it had to be rebuilt. Turks first captured Smyrna in 1076, but then it was recaptured by Byzantine Empire again. It was recaptured by the Turks again just in early 14th century. In the 15th century it became part of the Ottoman Empire. The city faced a 1676 plague, an earthquake in 1688 and a great fire in 1743, but continued to grow. The port was built in the 19th century. After the World War I, Izmir was occupied by Greek Army until the end of Greco-Turkish War (1922). The city was, once again, gradually rebuilt after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

The population of the city is more than 3,000,000 inhabitants. It is also home to Turkey's second largest Jewish community after Istanbul.

There are many activities connected with Izmir. It hosts an international arts festival in June and July, Izmir International Fair (beginning of September) and many other fairs and exhibitions. It was the setting of Mediterranean Games in 1971 and World University Games (Universiade) in 2005.

To the most famous monuments and sights in Izmir belong the tomb of Tantalus (an example of the tholos type monumental tombs), the Clock Tower (a beautiful marble tower that rests in the middle of the Konak district, standing 25 meters in height), the Agora Open Air Museum of Izmir, the Kemeraltı bazaar zone set up by the Ottomans or the Izmir Birds Paradise in Çiğli (a bird sanctuary near Karşıyaka that contains 205 species of birds). There are three castles and nine synagogues in Izmir.

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