Izmir - the birthplace of Homer - is the third biggest
city of Turkey in terms of population. Izmir is less
cosmopolite compared to Istanbul and Izmir because it
takes less domestic migration from other small cities
and the countryside. The natives of Izmir are generally
known to be more liberal and western-minded in Turkey.
The gay life in Izmir is getting more and more visible
each passing year. The LGBT exclusive bars and clubs
have been opened within the last 15 years in Izmir.
Ehli Keyf Cafe & Car (20:00-02:00)
Address : 850 Sokak, No: 43, Kemeralti, Konak / Izmir
Web: Facebook.com/ Ehli-Keyif
Ehli Keyf was opened in early April 2011 as a gay-exclusive cafe & bar and its has been one of the major meeting point for local gay men living in Izmir since then. It is located in traditional shopping district Kemeraltı, not far from Konak square and famous Izmir Clock tower. It is open from until 02:00 am everyday and the prices are reasonable; around 4-5 $ for local drinks. The venue is more popular among straight-acting gay men and the prices are very reasonable compared to other LGBT clubs in Izmir.. You can miss the entrance, as it is located in a very small, blind street the end of which connect to the car park across from Salepcioglu Mosque. If you enter into the street from the car park, you can see the sign-board on the left. It is also very close to cruisy Turkish bath called Istankoy Hamam (Tarihi Kemeralti Hamam), so you can consider them as a package.
Address: 1448 Cumbali Sok, No:5/B Alsancak, Izmir
Web: Facebook.com/ CixClub
In the year 2004 the venue was introduced by the owners as a bar & dance club welcoming a mixture of gays, straight acting bisexual boys/men, transvestites and transsexuals. It is located on a narrow street somewhere behind Ege Palace, close to the sea front of Alsancak, known as Kordon Boyu. It is on the same street with Gullum Cafe (see below).
"The manager is a transsexual and consequently there are more transvestites and transsexuals besides many rent-boys and some gay men who are interested in them. They play underground and techno music. Usually more busy than KA bar" (19/07/2008)
"I went to this club last night and I only found transvestites and rent boys. They were all looking for money. Not real gay club. (28/04/2009)
Rainbow Cafe & Bar (21:00-02:00)
Address: 1448 Sokak No:10, Kıbrıs Sehitleri Street, Alsancak, Izmir.
Former Gullum Cafe & Bar opened in early 2014 on a side street (1448) linking to pedestrianized Kibris Sehitleri Caddesi; the popular night life boulevard in Alsancak district, Izmir. It is open on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.. Wednesday and Friday nights are still not busy so try Saturday night if you want to visit this place Opening days and hours can be changed so it is advised to check their Facebook page, or re-visit it on a weekend day. The venue is fairly small and the staff is not very friendly. The prices are also over average; costing around 7-10 $ for local drinks and twice as much as many other bars on the same street.
Club KA (100.100)
Address: 1471 Sokak No:45/A, Alsancak - Izmir.
KA is a one of the oldest night clubs in Izmir catering to LGBT people. The clientele is regular transvestites, their admirers, sinister rent-boys and very few gay men. The owner and the staff can be is very rude and you can be scammed or overcharged here especially if you are a tourist. Briefly, this should be the last place to go in Izmir if you have no other choice. If you still want to go, it is comparatively close to Izmir cruise port in Alsancak. If you come from popular Kibris Sehitleri street, it is located at the end of the second street (1471 Sokak) after passing the military building. When you walk in from Kibris Sehitleri it is on your left towards the end of the 1471 sokak. It is also a short walking diastance from IZBAN Alsancak metro station. The club is open from 11:30 pm until 05:00 am in the morning, but not busy before midnight most of the times. The peak time is between 01:00-04:00 in these kind of night clubs. The music is loud and they play mostly European techno and DJ club hits.
Comments about this venue:
Saturday 19/4/2014. Entrance fee was 25TL including a drink (beer or alcohol, no matter). Do not accept the peanuts from the bartender, peanuts costs 10TL. And they took it back to the trash bin before we were even finished eating them. KA bar is a bar of 80-100 people capacity. People are aged from 18-25 mostly. There were 3 transsexual this night, passed in front of us all of the time. Very very annoying. We stayed only an hour at this bar and then left. Sorry guys, this is 2014, not the 80s. (Posted by Christos from Greece on April 20 2014)
"Our only bad experience in Turkey. Unfriendly staff tried to overcharge us for drinks" (Posted by William from UK on June 20th, 2011)
"Full of hustlers who ask money. Almost nobody speaks English so the communication is quite impossible..." (Posted by Dario from Italy on 11 May 2010)
Following venues closed down completely, which hade been listed on this website before
Papirus & Disco Bar - Kibris Sehitleri Caddesi. Alsancak, Izmir.
Mix Bar - Cumhuriyet Bulvari No:347/A. Alsancak - Izmir
Zilli Bar - Cumhuriyet Bulvari Alsancak/Izmir. Angle Bar - Kibris Sehitleri Caddesi.
Following venues are recommended by our website's
visitors and they are not publicly gay / gay-friendly
places. Your additional comments will be appreciated if
you happen to visit any of them.
Telvin Cafe Bar (12:00-24:00)
Address: Kıbrıs Şehitleri Cad, 1462 Sokak No: 6/B, Alsancak, Izmir
This venue is recommended by a website visitor as a gay-friendly place in July 2014. Located on 1462 Sokak (street) crossing main Kıbris Sehitleri Street somewhere close to Garanti Bank on it. Open between 12:00- 24:00.
Address: Dr. Mustafa Bey Caddesi No: 5/A Alsancak, Izmir
Starbucks in Alsancak seems to be the day time meeting place for some gay men living in Izmir.
"In Izmir, Alsancak Starbucks and also possibly Gloria Jeans cafe shops are the places you are most like to see the most gay men around in early hours, mostly straight acting and not very visible types though" (10/30/2007)
Address: Kibris Şehitleri Cad. 1452 (Can Yücel) Sokak No 15/B, Alsancak, Izmir, Turkey.
It is located on a small street next to Simit Sarayi (a popular Turkish coffee/tea-house franchiser) on Kibris Sehitleri street in Alsancak district. This cafe shop has been recommended by a website visitor as as a lesbian owned & gay-friendly cafe shop. Whereas we would like to remind people that there are controversial comments about the gay-friendliness of this venue on other internet resources and gay forums. (03/02/2009)
There is not any gay exclusive or explicitly
gay-friendly cinema in Izmir, but most heterosexual
erotic/porno cinemas are frequented by some gay men.
Because of Turkey's bisexual culture it's very possible
to meet interested-people in suchlike places. In a few
of them gays are really welcomed, but still better be a
little discrete, because they are open to straight men
as well, some of whom can be homophobic.
Address: Gaziler Caddesi, No: 113, Basmane, Konak, Izmir / Turkey.
Ipek Sinemasi is open as of November 2016 at this new address, in place of former Safak Sinemasi. It is a fairly small cinema and not as liberal as the previous blue movie theaters in Izmir. It is less than half a km away from Basmane train station / metro station, on the left had side of the Gaziler street, under the small Kent Hotel building. The movies are bad and entrance fee is fairly cheap. Remember that you need to pay 1-2 lira more tip in addition to the entrance fee in these kind of cinema
"The location on the website is a Hospital now. There is a new cinema Gaziler Caddesi 113" (posted by Ian from UK on June 26 2014)
"Ipek Sinemasi is closed, but there's another one near by. On the other side of the street in number 113." (posted by Fin Rover from Finland on July 10th, 2013)
Ferah Sinemasi - Esrefpasa, Izmir.
Saray Sinemasi - Kapilar, Izmir
Saray 2 Sinemasi-Ikicesmelik street, Cankaya, Izmir
The places listed under this category are not publicly
gay / gay-friend venues. In general, the owners of
action places such as cinemas, bath houses and saunas do
not like to be mentioned on gay websites or guide books
for fear of being raided by local authorities. To avoid
any misunderstanding, homosexuality is not and has never
been illegal in Turkey, but any sexual action (gay or
straight) in public venues is a reason to close the
venue for a period of time.
Address: 917 Sokak No:6, Kemeralti, Konak, Izmir - Turkey
Web: TurkishBathGuide.com/ Istankoy
The sign-board reads Kemeralti Tarihi Hamami (Historical bath of Kemeralti). The hamam is located somewhere behind the Salepcioglu Mosque. Kemeralti is historical part of Izmir's central district of Konak, a traditional shopping quarter with narrow streets housing cinemas, cafes, spice shops, souvenir shops and many others. Click here for more information and reviews about this hammam.
Other Sauna or Bath Houses in Izmir:
Not necessarily in order to find a partner, a visit to a historical Turkish bath is at the top of the must-do list for gay tourists visiting Turkey. The following ones are recommended bath houses in Izmir listed for people who would not want to miss this exotic experience.
Attention: None of these venues are not publicly gay / gay-friendly
Cankaya Mah.841 Sokak, No 3, Izmir, Turkey
Web: Trip Advisor & Google Map
A small, budget hamam located on a back-alley in Konak.
Kestelli Cad. No: 93, Konak, Izmir - Google Map
This Turkish bath built in 16th century has very peculiar characteristics of Ottoman hamam architecture. It is said to have the highest dome among all other Turkish baths in Izmir.
Address: Anafartalar Caddesi, No:501, Konak, Izmir - Turkey
Located not far from "Agora open air museum" This old Turkish bath is also not a gay venue intentionally, but it is very likely to meet bi-curious men occasionally.
Address: Anafartalar Cad. 890 Basmane, Izmir - Turkey
Telephone: (0 90 232) 483 02 74
A good sample of historical Turkish baths in Izmir, a 17th century Ottoman structure. Open between 06:00 - 23:00 catering to men only.
Address: Anafartalar Cad. (street) No:660 Kececiler (quarter) Izmir - Turkey
Telephone: (0 90 232) 483 02 74
Also called Kadi Hamami, this hamam is estimated to be built in the 16th century. It is a twin hamam structure with separate men-women sections. Men section is open everyday until 22:00. It is a well-groomed hamam with an impressive octagonal dome in the main area.
Adres: 1671 Sokak, No:88, Karsiyaka, Izmir - Google Map
A historical tourist hamam located in Karsiyaka, not far from the ferry terminal, Karsiyaka Vapur Iskelesi
In general, the cruising areas - especially parks and
secluded beaches are where gay men should be more
selective with the people they encounter. Especially, be
careful at night time and do not carry very valuable
things and a lot of money on you, just in case.
Izmir Fuari Park
Fairground area; officially named Kultur Park (Culture Park), also called shortly "fuar", is a huge city park in downtown Izmir where the annual International Izmir Fair Izmir International Fair is being organized. The vicinity of Parachute Tower, not far on your left when you enter from Basmane gate is also well-known cruising section in the evenings. In this section of the park you can see mostly mature men and men with mustache sitting on the benches alone, who are most likely interested in meeting other men.
The famous promenade area, waterfront by the boulevard in Alsancak. Random cruising can happen in the evenings, mostly at the less busy sections on both side of Alsancak ferry quay. Izmir's Kordon is well know all over Turkey, and has become inspiration to many classic and popular Turkish songs.
The park near the clock tower (Saat Kulesi) and the neighborhood of the clock tower in Konak, which is the district regarded as the down town of Izmir. Cruisy mainly after dark. The clock tower in Konak is the symbol of Izmir city.
Karsiyaka Alaybey Park
The park in Alaybey quarter of Karsiyaka district of Izmir (official name is Muammer Aksoy Park) is recommended by a local person as a cruising place in April 2011, especially between 22:00-02:00.
There are no beaches in Izmir with visible gay scene
except a far and secluded part of Altinkum beach in
Cesme, which is about 1 hour drive away from Izmir city
center. In recent years In fact there are no clean beaches left at Izmir
city center, just like in similar metropolitan cities.
The following beaches can be recommended to gay men
visiting Izmir mainly for swimming and water sports. It
is more likely to see gay men in Pamucak beach and some
beaches in Cesme, which are all in considerable
Beaches in Cesme
Cesme is a prominent center of international tourism in Turkey and is famous for its night life, fish restaurants and many beaches. It is one of Turkey's well-known touristy areas with landscapes of cultivated fields of aniseed, sesame and artichokes dotted with fig and gum trees. Cesme is a more popular summer destination among Turkish tourists in comparison to similar summer resorts such as Fethiye, Bodrum and Marmaris. You can reach to Cesme from Izmir's main Bus Terminal (Otogar) or from the secondary bus terminal in Uckuyular district. The buses are more frequent from Uckuyular terminal and they are available until very late hours in summer season. It is also easy to reach to Uckuyular terminal by Izmir metro. If you get on to train from metro stations in central Izmir such as Basmane or Konak, you can easily reach to the bus terminal is very close to terminal station, named Fahrettin Altay.
There are many Blue-flag bays around Cesme peninsula. Although there is only a small public beach nearby, it is wise to stay in hotels at the center of Cesme from where there are frequent transportation to all public beaches and other places all around the peninsula, such as Altinkum (see below), public and private beaches in Ciftlik (on the way to Altinkum) and beaches in Ilica (near Alacati). Alacati is a windy area in all seasons and so it is a famous windsurf palace. Alacati is also famous for its architecture, vineyards and windmills built over 150 years ago.
In recent years secluded beach in Delikli Koy has also become popular which is at roughly 10 km South of upscale summer destination Alacati. After the night clubs of Alacati close many people drives here to see sunrise and more. Delikli Koy is difficult to reach with public transportation. You can come as far as Alacati Port from where you need to walk another 3-4 km or try hitchhiking
Gay Beach in Altinkum Cesme, Turkey
Altinkum is probably the best beach location within the province of Izmir, located a few kilometers from the center of Ceshme. To go to Altinkum beach from downtown Cesme you first need to take the public minibuses departing from a point near the Police station by the coast, near the old castle. You will be in Altinkum in less than half an hour. You need to get off at the final stop which is right next to the beginning of public beach area. Walking to your left when you face the sea, you will see many privately-run beaches side by side which are providing sun beds, umbrellas, variety of food and drinks. You can also use the beach activities here for free in empty parts without necessarily renting sun-beds or umbrellas. The gay beach, also known as Ciplaklar kampi (Nudist beach) by some local people starts roughly 1 mile after these public beaches comes to an end. You will first reach to a short rocky area, after which there is one more private beach. After passing by this last private beach a few hundred meters, you will see a secluded sandy beach far from the eyes of curious people. (Click here for Google map) Not surprisingly, most of people hanging around this farthest and desolate part of the beach are gay men. There are usually no hustlers around, but it is still wise to make some observation first. Especially if you go alone, do not to carry very valuable things on you, because it is very far from security forces if needed. It is sometimes heard that some guys are hiding behind the bushes to steal the belongings of the people when they swim. You can come from Izmir to to Cesme in one hour by buses departing frequently from the bus terminal in Uckuyular district. It is easy to reach to Uckuyular terminal by Izmir metro. If you get on from metro stations in central Izmir such as Basmane or Konak, you need to get off at Fahrettin Altay terminal station.
"Gay beach at Altinkum /Cesme. Very quiet beach, go past all the huts and beach chairs. Frequented by some Turks who like to nude sunbathe and by some gay Turks. Some religious people my ask you to leave at a certain time because the women want to swim- I was told by locals to refuse and point out that it is a public beach, and that they should buy a private beach!! Be careful of your belongings- some bad people will hide in the dunes and wait for you to swim or walk away. I did have such a problem, but some local men and soldiers caught the man and the police were very helpful." (Posted by Rich from UK on January 3rd 2012).
"Actually the "ciplaklar plaji" is not 200 meters after the "Fun Club". If you come by dolmus, get out at the last stop, go on the beach and with the sea in front of you walk on your left side passing all the beach clubs. After you pass Ramo café, there is another small beach clubs and a place where cars and some campers are parked. You still need to walk ahead till you will reach a low promontory Pass across the top following the easy path and you will find in a hidden beach where people use sunbathe naked. I was there in weekdays and started to get busier after 5:00pm. Very cute locals and some tourist. I have been told that this place gets crowded on weekends" (Posted by Alberto from Italy on September 01 2011).
"When you get out of Cesme drive into the earth road which goes to Fun Club on Altinkum beach (7 km from Cesme). You will need to park your car when you reach to Fun Club, and walk about 200 meters to the left hand side of the beach. You can meet nice guys on Sundays especially. Some people swims naked in this part of the beach which is referred as "nude beach" (ciplaklar plaji) by some local people."
Foca (Focha) is a lovely small town some 70 kilometers north of Izmir located on the Aegean Sea, It's local populations is around 40 thousand people but in the summer time it goes up to 70 thousand with mostly Turkish and some foreign holiday makers who prefer this area for its natural beauties, crystal clear waters.. Some of Foca's bays are rewarded with the Blue Flag, securing the clean waters of an area in the Mediterranean. Most of these coves are along Mersinaki region and run by hotels in the vicinity. The beaches are named after these hotels. The most popular ones Phokaia Hotel & Beach, Hanedan Hotel & Beach, Pollen Hotel & Beach, Leon Hotel, Voodoo Melis Cafe Beach, Karakum Public Beach
Pamucak beach is in Selcuk town, just at the border of Izmir province and Kusadasi, 5 km from world-wide famous ruins of Ephesus ancient city, and also called as "Ephesus beach" by some people. Pamucak Beach, is about 11 kms in length. The beach, is sandy and has a clear water. It is very suitable place for water-sports and camping. Ephesus Princess, Aqua Fantasia, Surmeli Ephesus, Richmond Ephesus, are de luxe, club and resort hotels, which lie on the beach. The Pamucak region has also a camping area, aqua park, forest rest area covered with red pine woods 10 km from Selcuk – Kusadasi highway. Horse or Jeep safaris are the exotic activities that can be participated.
Another seaside town out of Izmir city. Karaburun region is comparatively much less visited than Cesme although it provides an anticlimax to its southern neighbor and the associated attractions especially for those who want to escape the trails of mass tourism. The district's administrative zone is bordered by the districts of Cesme and Urla in its south and faces the Greek island of Chios.
Cesmealti, a part of Urla district of Izmir is about 36 km. away from Konak; which is a lively and natural tourism center. The long beaches which stretches from Cesmealti to Içmeler cause the regions population to expand by two or three times during the summer months. The Urla Camp Municipality Beach, the natural beaches and swimming pools of some holiday villages located in Cesmealti serve tourists all season long.
Siyah Pembe Ucken
Literally meaning Black & Pink Triangle Siyah Pembe Ucgen is Gay and Lesbian Solidarity NGO Organization based in Izmir, Turkey.
Gays and Lesbians in Izmir who had been pioneers of Turkish gay movement with disorganized small groups such as Biz GL, Otekizmir (the other Izmir), Pembe Uçgen (Pink Triangle) united their powers to continue together with the experiences which they inherited from these groups, in September 2006. The group gathering as an initiative previously, enunciated that they denominated themselves as Siyah Pembe Izmir in January, and rented their own office in June of 2007. Thus, meetings which were being organized in some cafes with many difficulties and limited opportunities, are now being organized in their own offices.
Siyah Pembe Izmir aims to support firstly gays and lesbians living in Izmir and the existence of all lesbians, gays bisexuals and transgendered people in society with their own sexual identities; works for their cultural, social, legal benefits; tries to prevent discrimination and struggles against homophobia everywhere.
History of gay movement in Izmir.
The first gay group that we know in Izmir, was a group called “Biz GL” who made meetings in Iskenderiye Library at the end of the 90’s. Although Biz GL which was pioneered by a group of gay and lesbian who organized around Arkadas Café, managed to make meetings with around 60 people, unfortunately it disbanded because of deficiency of awareness about being organized and lack of gay-lesbian movement experience.
In October, 2001, Oteki Izmir, was established by lesbians and gays regularly made meetings till September 2001, especially took a part in some activities like International Antimilitarism Meeting with antimilitarist movement in İzmir. But, being organized which based on antimilitarism that was not enough to produce solutions for primary problems for gay society, caused disbandment in short time.
Up until now, most longevous group was PUI (Pembe Ucgen Izmir- Pink Triangle Izmir) which was established by gays and lesbians who first gathered on internet platform formed in June 2002 . In regular meetings every week, lots of cases which concern gay and lesbian society like family, coming out, sexual health, militarism, gender politics etc.., was discussed. Although conflicts and problems with the cafés which meetings were made in, caused to make changes with the place of meeting every time, PUI managed to continue for two years. In time, disagreements and serious conflicts that came up in group caused disbandment and after two years, members annihilated PUI by themselves.
Click here for more information about Turkish gay life and LGBT solidarity movement in Turkey
VIDEO - Izmir LGBT Pride March 2013
The meeting point of Turkish & none- Turkish gay men living / visiting Turkey. You can follow activities all over Turkey, including Izmir.
Yahoo Group for Turkish Gays
A Yahoo Group to meet Turkish gay men from all over Turkey. You can leave a message to meet Turkish gays and gay tourists living in or visiting Izmir in this group.
Yahoo Group For Turkish Lesbians
A Yahoo Group to meet Turkish Lesbians from all over Turkey. You can leave a message to meet Turkish lesbians and lesbian tourists living in or visiting Izmir in this group.
Gay Friendly Hotels in Izmir
Although there is not any officially gay or lesbian hotels in Bursa, some of them can still be recommended to gay people for various reasons such as their location, quality, price and liberal atmosphere. You can contact gay-owned Turkish Travel Agency which has more than 10 year experience in gay tourism in Turkey. Click Here for Turkey Inquiry
The prominent information, districts and other attractions in and around Izmir are listed below in alphabetical order:
AGORA: Revealed in central Izmir during excavations carried out in 1932-1941 in the district of Namazgah. eovering an area of 120 x 80 m, the agora throws invaluable light on Roman period Izmir. it was not only a market place, but the location of public institutions and the Temple of Zeus. The agora is open to the public between 9.00 -12.00 and 13.00 -18.00. The statues found here are on exhibit in Izmir Archaeological Museum.
ALSANCAK: A select neighborhood with a unique character in modern Izmir. Stretching from the waterfront esplanade inland most of the area has been transformed into a pedestrian precinct, so there is no traffic to disturb shoppers and strollers. The streets lined by modern buildings and attractive shops lead onto the square where Alsancak station stands. Dating from 1858 the colonial architecture of the station distinguishes it in style from the rest of the city. Trains to Buca, Aydin and Denizli depart from here.
ANGLICAN CHURCH : This church was built in 1835 by Levantines of English extraction living in Buca. The church is famous for its wood carving, beautiful stained glass windows and huge organ.
ASANSOR: The city's famous public elevator, and a symbol of Izmir. This elevator links Mithatpasa street below with Halil Rifat Pasa street at the summit of the precipitous hill. It was built in 1907 and restored by the municipality in 1993. The upper terrace has a breathtaking view over the city and the bay. Here there is an Open-air cafe, a restaurant and a Genoese tavern.
BALCOVA: This spa is on the outskirts of Izmir on the road to Urla and Çesme. Turn left at Inciralti crossroads to reach Balçova thermal springs one kilometer down the road. Known as the Agamemnon Springs in antiquity, this may have been the first hydrotherapy center of the ancient world. Today there are modern facilities for visitors to the hot springs and luxury hotels. The temperature of the water is 63 degrees C.
BARLAR SOKAGI: Street of Bars. Some of the attractive old houses under conservation order in Alsancak now house bars and restaurants.
BASMANE: In this district are Izmir's old fashioned shopping streets, the park where the famous Izmir Fair is held each summer, and Basmane station. The trains to Manisa, and suburban rail buses to ßornova and other destinations leave from this station.
BORNOVA: A suburb of Izmir, Bornova was the hub of the Levantine community in the late l9th and 20th centuries. Today it houses the campus of Ege University. The Izmir-Manisa road passes through Bornova, which is linked to the city center by a 7 km railway line.
BUCA: Once Izmir's summer resort, Buca is today part of the city. With a population of 200000 in 1990, Buca is today a commercial and university district. The British Levantine merchants who ran businesses in Izmir from the late l8th century onward s built imposing mansions here. Not until the 1950s did Buca undergo radical change as various institutions moved into the mansions, whose extensive gardens are under conservation.
CLIMATE: Typical Mediterranean climate, with hot dry summers and warm wet winters. The average temperature is 18 degrees C. Snowfall is extremely rare, and approximately 148 days of the year are clear and sunny
CLOCK TOWER: Another symbol of the city, this picturesque clock tower in Konak Meydan was built in 1901 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Abduhamit II's accession to the throne. The clock itself was a gift of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. The 25 m high tower is currently being restored.
CESME: This popular and attractive resort west of Izmir is famous for its modern hotels, sparkling clean sea and wonderful sandy beaches.
EPHESUS: An ancient city three km from the town of Selcuk south of Izmir. During both the Hellenistic and Roman periods Ephesus was the most important port and cultural center of the eastern world. The remains of the city are still spellbinding today. The magnificent temples, public buildings, villas and streets of Ephesus have been excavated and restored by the Austrian Archaeological Institute, and it requires little effort to imagine the city as it was in its heyday.
FOCA: A picturesque fishing town 50 km north of Izmir. A magnet for holiday makers during summer today, Foca was an important Ionian town in antiquity. The Phokaians were famed for their commercial prowess, courage and seamanship. They established trading colonies at distant ports, and were the founders of the French port of Marseilles (the ancient Massalia).
HISAR MOSQUE: The city's most magnificent mosque in the district of Hisar next to Kemeralti office complex. The mosque was built by Yakup Bey in 1592. It is roofed by a large dome resting on eight piers, and noted for the decoration on the altar niche and pulpit.
HOUSE OF THE VIRGIN MARY: This holy Christian shrine on Mt.Bulbul between Selcuk and Ephesus was sanctified by Pope Paul VI in 1967, after the Vatican confirmed that the Virgin Mary had spent the last years of her life here. Numerous travel agencies in Izmir organize day tours to the House of the Virgin Mary and Ephesus.
IZMIR FAIR: Since I932 this international trade fair has been the highlight of the summer season in Izmir. From late August to early September the fair doubles as a popular festival of music and stage events in the Culture Park.
KADIFEKALE: Velvet Castle, to be literal. This 4th century BC castle commands a bird's eye view of Izmir and is th perfect place to watch the sun set over the city.
KARSIYAKA: The name of this district of Izmir on the north shore off Izmir Bay means "opposite shore", as indeed it is. The inhabitants of this pleasant residential area with its Own esplanade claim an identity distinct from the rest of the city. In their view, Karsiyaka is a town in its own right with an individual culture and history.
KEMERALTI: The old fashioned shopping district of Izmir, consisting of narrow streets winding their way from Konak towards central Izmir around Anafartalar Caddesi. Here you can find jewelers, drapers, shoemaker, and shops specializing in all kind s of goods from leather to olives and cheese. The atmosphere of an earlier century still pervades the buildings here, with their distinctive 19th century doorways and roof tiles.
KORDON: The famous esplanade between Konak Meydan and Alsancak is packed with promenades on weekends and fine evenings. As families and young lovers hand in hand stroll along the waterfront, horse-drawn phaetons with colourful ponpons swinging from the harnesses es trot past, and cars cruise by.
PASAPORT: (Not a printing error, but the Turkish for "passport). The name for the dock and pier between Konak and Cumhuriyet Meydan. Pasasaport Dock was built in 1876. The dock building is in the Turkish revival style inspired by Ottoman and Selcuk architecture which was popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Until not so long ago the area was full of old fashioned coffee houses which served waterpipes as well as tea and coffee, but today pubs have supplanted most of them.
PERGAMUM: The remains of this magnificent ancient city are situated north of Imir. Founded in the early 3rd century BC, Pergamum was the most powerful and extensive kingdom of Western Anatolia throughout the Hellenistic period. Parchment is thought to have been invented here. On the hill which rises steeply in the center of Pergamum is the Acropolis and the world's steepest amphitheatre with seating for 16,000 people. The remains of temples Of Athena and Dionysus. The splendid altar of Zeus at the entrance of the Acropolis was taken to Berlin Museum by Carl Humann in 1871. A fligth of 20 steps leads up to this remarkable structure, which dwarfs the room at Berlin Museum, as it awaits expectantly the day when it will be released from confinement and return to its hilltop site in Pergamum. The ruins of the Asclepion on the plain below reveal almost all the original features as a result of the excavations. Named after the god of medicine Asclepios, this complex was one of the foremost health centers of the ancient world.
SELCUK: A town in the foothills of the Aydin mountains 94 km south of Izmir. SeIcuk is the site of Ephesus Museum, a magnificent castle and the 6th century Basilica of St.John. The road to the resorts of Marmaris and Bodrum passes through Selcuk, w hile Kusadasi, port of call for many yachts and cruise liners, is just a twenty minute drive to the north.
SMYRNA: The ancient name for Izmir and the heroic Amazon who founded the city according to Herodotus and Strabon.
TEOS: The ruins of Teos are set amidst olive groves at one end of Sigacik harbor near Seferihisar, famous for its beaches and thermal springs. Thales relates that Teos was selected as capital of the league of twelve Ionian cities in the 7th century BC. The largest temple of Dionysus ever built in Teos.
TEPEKULE: Excavations at Tepekule in the district of Bayrakli have thrown light on Izmir's early history. Izmir was originally a settlement of the Aeolians, who were contemporaries of the first Trojans, and dates back to the third milenium BC. The c ity was subsequently occupied by the Ionians, and the Lydian King Alyattes conquered the region in 600 BC, razing Izmir's temples and houses. Today the ruins of the Temple of Athena and houses can be seen at Tepekule.
URLA: Urla is a resort 42 km from Izmir on the road to Cesme. Izmirians spend their summers and weekends here, the site of the ancient Ionian city of Klazomenai. This city was the birthplace of the illustrious philosopher Anaxogoras, and is latterly also famous for a local pastry dish "katmer" and for its meat and fish restaurants.