It is a typical Ottoman building in Kemeralti neighborhood. It was built by Kizlaragasi Haci Besir Aga in the 18th century as a caravanserai. The Bedesten (Inn) is a square-shaped and two-level building. Kizlaragasi Han, being also close to the port, was an important trades point in Izmir until the developing of transportation technologies and opening of new trade routes, at certain times it even served as a local stock exchange. After 19th century the Inn was mainly used for storage of the goods instead of caravans' stop.
Kizlaragasi Han was restored in 1993 as a tourist spot, despite it's off-tourist route, and converted into a handicrafts sales center. There is a small cafeteria in the open-air courtyard where you can relax and have a Turkish tea or coffee.
You can also buy some "mesir macunu" if you come across a guy in traditional Ottoman clothes selling it. Be careful when eating though: As it is quite spicy, it may cause coughing if eaten too fast!
I remember my mum coming home happily after her sewing class to give me the big news: That we were going to Birgi on Sunday. We were surprised and pissed off. Never heard of the village and we both had more interesting things to do on Sunday, including sleeping all day long. I remember my mum getting mad and eventually we rose and shone on an early Sunday morning. This was in late 1990s.
Birgi is a town (similar to a giant museum) situated on the slopes of Mount Bozdag. The Sariyer River divides the town in two. It is a quite small town (of some thousands) and located in the district of Odemis.
If you want to see old Ottoman mansions, bazaars, baths, coffeehouses and crafts, Birgi is the place to go for a different taste. The details are on my Birgi pages.
Known as Kirkince by the Greek inhabitants, Sirince is a little village you'd come across if you are on the way to Ephesus from Izmir. It was a pure Greek village in 1800s. In the 1930s, right after the Turkish War of Independence, a population exchange agreement was signed between Greece and Turkey so that Turkish people living in Greece can swap houses and fields with Greek people living in Turkey. However, this was a voluntary exchange. Most of the Greek population living in the village chose to go to the Nea Ephesos village of Katerini in Greece.
There are still some Greek inhabitants in the village who rent out their rooms for guests as B&B. There are two old Greek churches to be seen and also the "Sirince Altin Yaprak Konagi".
It's also a good stop-by to buy some different kinds of wine.
It originates from the courts of Sultans. Same dessert is called "Izmir Lokmasi' in Izmir. It is very much favored in this part of the country and Izmir people proud of this dessert. "Lokma" means "bite". Prepare syrup and set aside. Dissolve yeast and sugar in a bowl with warm water. Add 1/4 cup of flour. Mix until smooth. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Add rest of flour, egg and salt blending well. Beat for 7-8 minutes forming a thick sticky batter. Cover and let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes or until doubled. Heat oil in a frying kettle or deep fat fryer. Dip teaspoon into oil. Using oiled teaspoon drop 1 teaspoonful of thick batter into beated oil. Drop as many at a time as they can be turned easily while frying. Stir and turn lokmas constantly as they rise to surface. Brown until golden. Use a slotted spoon to remove as many at a time as possible; drain. Drop into cold syrup immediately. Let stand until lokmas absorb syrup. Remove from syrup and serve.
Tire, a pretty town 80 km. from Izmir center is the place where Apollo, the god of music and poetry faced the shepherd Marsyas. He asked Marsyas for a music competition. If you feel like learning the results, then you should visit my Tire pages:)
Of course Tire is not only mythology. It is one of the distinct towns of Izmir because of its very own cuisine, country-famous Tuesday market, the game of karambol, its dying arts like rope making, and many more. If you have time to go and feel like learning about the details of what I have just mentioned, here is the link to my Tire pages.
Alsancak district, called Punto in old times, is one of the centers of Izmir. The neighborhood starts from the waterfront, called Kordon which is lined up with nice bars and fine restaurants, to the inner land.
If you get away from the seaside and take any narrow street towards the inner land, you will come across restored Ottoman houses, which are worth watching. These houses have survived the great fire that raged through the city during the Turkish War of Independence. Many houses have been restored, and some converted to public uses such as cafes, restaurants and boutiques.
Spare an hour for the streets of Alsancak!
Kula is a small town in the province of Manisa and 150 km. from Izmir city center. In that sense, it is truly off the beaten path for Izmir (It requires 300 km of driving assuming you don't want to sleep over). If you have time, believe me it is worth the effort.
I wanted to put Kula in my Izmir pages anyway with pure marketing idea in mind: Izmir pages are more popular than those of Manisa so the probability of clicking on Kula link via Izmir is quite high. When I was surfing VT for the name Kula, I also saw and was quite surprised to discover that there are a lot of places in the world with the name Kula. Another advantage for my little town as some might click on it anyway assuming that they are clicking Kula in Pakistan or Afghanistan or Bosnia:)
Enough of my Kula-marketing efforts, you can find more on my Kula pages:). It is a monument town with its interesting architecture (You can see both Byzantine and Ottoman houses), its dead volcanoes, its very own fairy chimneys (similar to those in Cappadocia), its fossile footprints, its very own mineral water, its very own rugs & carpets, and many many more. It is under UNESCO protection now and is proud to be the first geothermal park of Turkey. Wanna learn more: Go to my Kula pages:)
In Izmir food culture vegetables are very important. They cook with olive oil. Therefore olive oil is a must. I like stuffed artichoke. sometimes I cook it in Istanbul too but Im afraid artichokes are different here in Istanbul :( Thats why it's delicious when I eat stuffed artichoke in Izmir. Anyway if you see or someone offer you stuffed artichoke in Izmir don't miss this chance :)
Doors of old Izmir houses. If you like houses fron 19th century. Izmir is a good place for you. Looks like a puzzle to find those houses on the map. Just feel free and walk on the streets and let the luck make you face to face with old Izmir houses. It's suprising actually. Door knockers, doors and facade architecture will make you satistifed...
The Balcova Thermal resort in Izmir is located in a forest and the hotel has a great thermal pool and thermal baths ,There is a teleferic line also and it climbes when the weather conditions allright to the top of the hills of Balchova forests...
40 minutes outside Izmir there is a small resort, Kazan village. People form Kazakstan live there. There is a wonderful farm there, with horses and a small museum house, decorated by a traditional way of living of Kazakstans' .
this is a round home, with painted walls by a colourful technique with geometrical forms. Nice carpets with the same techique decorate the floors, and nice traditional household things decorate the room.
Visiting Birgi Cakiraga Mansion, Kýzlaraðasý Han, and Asansör,
Stepping into the past in Izmir Archaeology Museum, Ataturk Museum, Kordonboyu and Kemeralti Bazaar.
Tasting Izmir’s famous meatballs in the Asansor Restaurant.
Buying tasty local dried figs and sultanas
Shopping for Ödemis Silk (Pembizar), hand-painted handkerchiefs and Görece blue beads,
Visiting the International Izmir Festival.
Most people visit Izmir and Ephesus at Selcuk, it is really worth the extra hour or so of driving, past Aydin, to see the impressive old town of Aphrodisias, reknown for its brothels in antiquity, now with an excellent stadium, a theater, and the temple of Aphrodite. The photo is taken from a turkish feast at a nearby location
The ancient ruins of Selcuk stand majestically intact. At one time, the Basilica of St. John occupied most of the nearby hillside and was ranked with Hagia Sophia as one of the largest Byzantine churches of its time. According to tradition, the grave of St. John the Divine is under the remains of the church which was destroyed by an earthquake. Restoration efforts are under way today here.