The city of Izmir and Surroundings:
Izmir is the third biggest city in Turkey with a population of around 2.5 million, the second biggest port after Istanbul, and a good transport hub. Formerly the ancient city of Smyrna, it is now a modern, well-developed, and busy commercial center, set around a huge bay and surrounded by mountains and was?. The broad boulevards, glass-fronted buildings and modern shopping centers are interspersed with traditional red-tiled roofs, the 18th century market, and old mosques and churches, (although) and in fact? The city has an atmosphere more of Mediterranean Europe than traditional Turkey.
The claim that the most scenic vistas in Anatolia can be found on the coasts of the Aegean, is hardly an exaggeration.. In the words of Herodotus, the Aegean coasts “have the most beautiful sky and the best climate in the world.” The bays and peninsulas, coves and golden beaches stretch the length of these beautiful shores. In this region, which is the scene of countless events of mythology, at almost every turn, you will encounter the theaters, temples and agoras of ancient cities, including Bodrum, Fethiye, Marmaris, Kusadasi, Selcuk, Foca, Cesme, Pamukkale.
The climate in Izmir is comfortable, with a relatively mild summer due to the refreshing breeze from the Aegean. The long attractive palm-fringed promenade, Birinci Kordon, which stretches the entire length of the city up to the Alsancak Ferry Terminal, is a popular spot for evening walks, and there are many cafes along the waterfront. Izmir has a wide selection of culture and entertainment, ranging from the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museums, to the Izmir State Opera and Ballet, and State Symphony Orchestra, to the many bars and clubs. The cosmopolitan and lively city gets even busier during the International Izmir Festival (mid-June to mid-July) with music and dance, with performances also in nearby Cesme and Ephesus.
This enclosure for archaeological remains at Ephesus elegantly reconciles historic conservation with accessibility for visitors. The site of a succession of great ancient civilizations, Ephesus, on the south-west coast of modern Turkey, embodied a peculiarly fertile synthesis of architecture and culture. In 356BC the Greeks built the Artemesium (a colossal Ionic temple dedicated to Artemis the fertility goddess) which was one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. During the 2nd century BC, Ephesus was the fourth largest city in the eastern Roman Empire, famous for its Artemesium, the Library of Celsus and its medical school.
Quoted from Catherine Slessor's Housing History.
Ephesus; Ancient Greek city of Asia Minor, near the mouth of the Menderes River, in what is today West Turkey, South of Smyrna (now Izmir). One of the greatest of the Ionian cities, it became the leading seaport of the region. Its wealth was proverbial. The Greek city was near an old center of worship of a native nature goddess, who was equated with the Greek Artemis, and c.550 B.C. a large temple was built. To this Croesus, who captured the city, contributed.
When Lydians attacked their cities, Ephesians defended themselves by tying a rope from The Temple of Artemis. But it was not a good way to defend a city. Croesus of Lydia captured it easily however he did not destroy. The city reached the "Golden Age" and became a good model to the Antic World in culture and art, as well. Building of the Artemission was going on.Croesus had a great respect to Artemis and he donated 36 columns with sculptures in relief. Some parts of these sculptures are in the British Museum today.
From Lydian control Ephesus passed to the Persian Empire. The temple was burned down in the 4th cent. B.C., but rebuilding was begun before Alexander the Great took Ephesus in 334. The city continued to thrive during the wars of his successors, and after it passed (133) to the Romans it kept its hegemony and was the leading city of the province of Asia. The great temple of Artemis, or Artemis, called by the Romans the temple of Diana, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. From c.100 B.C. to c. A.D. 100 Ephesus was the world capital of the slave trade.
The city was sacked by the Goths in A.D. 262, and the temple was destroyed. The seat of a church council in 431, Ephesus was abandoned after the harbor silted up. Excavations (1869-74) of the ruins of the temple brought to light many artifacts. Later excavations uncovered important Roman and Byzantine remains.
Quoted from The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.
In a Christian version of a widespread story, martyrs immured in a cave near Ephesus during the persecutions by Decius (c.250). Long afterward, in the 5th cent., they awoke (as from sleep) and were taken before Theodosius II, Roman emperor of the east. Their story reassured the emperor, who had been wavering in his faith. The youths returned to their cave, to sleep again until Judgment. The story, thought to be of Syrian origin, was popularized by Gregory of Tours. Feast: July 27.
Quoted from The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.
House of Virgin Mary
Located on the top of the "Bulbul" mountain 9 km ahead of Ephesus, the shrine of Virgin Mary enjoys a marvelous atmosphere hidden in the green. It is the place where Mary may have spent her last days. Indeed, she may have come in the area together with Saint John, who spent several years in the area to spread Christianity. Mary preferred this remote place rather than living in crowded place.
The house of Virgin Mary is a typical Roman architectural example, entirely made of stones. In the 4th century AD, a church, combining her house and grave, has been built. The original two-stored house, which consisted of an anteroom (where today candles are proposed), bedroom and praying room (Christian church area) and a room with fireplace (chapel for Muslims). A front kitchen fell into ruins and has been restored in 1940's. Today, only the central part and a room on the right of the altar are open to visitors. From there one can understand that this building looks more like a church than a house. Another interesting place is the "Water of Mary", a source to be found at the exit of the church area and where a rather salt water, with curative properties, can be drunk by all.
Paul VI was the first pope to visit this place in the 1960's. Later, in the 1980's, during his visit, Pope John-Paul II declared the Shrine of Virgin Mary has a pilgrimage place for Christians. It is also visited by Muslims who recognize Mary as the mother of one of their prophets. Every year, on August 15th a ceremony is organized to commemorate Mary's Assumption.
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Last updated: 29/06/2010