Known as ‘beautiful İzmir’, the city of İzmir lies at the head of a long and narrow gulf frequented by ships and yachts. It has a mild climate with constant and refreshing sea breezes tempering the heat during summertime. Behind the palm-lined promenades and avenues which line the shoreline, the city gently ascends the slopes of the surrounding mountains with horizontal terraces.
İzmir is the ancient city of Smyrna, or ‘the country of the sacred mother’, which existed even before the arrival of the Hittites and was ruled by Ionians, Persians, Romans and Ottomans. The original city was established in the third millennium BC (at present day Bayraklı) and had the most advanced culture, alongside Troy, in Western Anatolia. Excavations at Bayraklı have unearthed a temple dedicated to Athena and the wall of the Ionian city which had flourished there between the seventh and fifth centuries BC. Pottery dating back to the third millennium BC has also been uncovered. By 1500BC, it had fallen under the influence of the Central Anatolian Hittite Empire.