The countryside around Izmir is lush and green - rolling hills sprout a profusion of olive trees. On pretty afternoons, families of all sizes can be seen picnicking beneath the trees. This scene is approaching the village of Sirince, not far from Selcuk.
Sirince offered surprising finds in handmade items such as tablecloths, clothing and leather goods. Narrow dirt streets wind throughout this delightful little village.
These ladies at Restaurant Ozlem are preparing gozleme, a flatbread filled with either cheese, potatoes, spinach or eggplant. I tried them all, of course, and they were excellent. This is a nice, light meal for lunch.
PLACES OUTSIDE IZMIR
Balcova, on the road to Cesme, is one of Turkey's largest thermal spas, with excellent
facilities for guests.
Camalti, 15 km west of Karsiyaka, is an area of coastal marshes and salt fields that is
preserved as an important bird sanctuary - the Izmir Bird Paradise. Enthusiasts can spot many
species, including flamingoes and pelicans The Yamanlar Camligi, a pine forest near the lovely
KaragoI Lake 40 km northeast of Karsiyaka, is a popular picnic spot that also provides
restaurants and a swimming pool.
A Hittite bas-relief is carved into the rock at Kemalpasa (20 km from Izmir) which lies in the
Karabel Pass. On the highest point above Izmir, Belkahve overlooks the Gulf of Izmir and is a relaxing spot to enjoy a cup of
Turkish coffee. A favourite haunt of Ataturk's, it is now the site of the largest statue in his honor.
The Seven Churches of the Apocalypse, mentioned by St. John in the Book of Revelations, formed
separate and distinct communities, and are all found in Turkey : Izmir (Smyrna), Efes (Ephesus),
Eskihisar (Laodicea), Alasehir (Philadelphia), Sart (Sardis), Akhisar (Thyatira), and Bergama
(Pergamum). Tours of one to four days can be arranged to see several or all of the churches.
The Cesme Peninsula, lapped by the waters of the Aegean Sea, lies west of Izmir. The name
'Cesme', meaning fountain, refers to the many springs found in the area during the 18th and 19th
centuries. It is one of Turkey's most beautiful stretches - surrounded by clear blue sea, with
landscapes of cultivated fields of aniseed, sesame and artichokes dotted with fig and gum trees. In
the unspoilt bays you can swim in absolute peace. Visitors will find excellent holiday
accommodation, restaurants and sports and entertainment facilities.
A 14th-century Genoese fortress, restored and enlarged by the Ottomans in the 16th century,
dominates the small port of Cesme, 80 km from Izmir. Today the town is a popular holiday resort
with excellent accommodation and restaurants. The 16th-century caravanserai near the fortress, built
by Suleyman the Magnificent, has been converted into a hotel, while the 19th-century Church of Hagios Haralambos has
been restored as the Emir Caka art gallery. Thermal baths offer a health-oriented escape from modern life. Excellent
shopping - the finest quality carpets, leather goods, as well as souvenir items - is available. At night a lively, fun atmosphere
pervades, especially in the restaurants, cafes, bars and discos along the promenade: Yachts can be hired to explore the
Peninsula's splendid coastline.Cesme hosts an annual International Song Contest in the summer. Also, weekly ferry lines run
from Cesme to Venice.
The very popular holiday centre of Ilica boasts an excellent white, sandy beach, and the outstanding facilities of the Altin
Yunus Marina and Holiday Complex, The bay here is ideal for water sports, especially windsurfing and sailing. The thermal
baths around Ilica are very popular; the best being located on Sifne Bay; Pasa Limani has a camp site which offers campers
comfortable facilities. In Ilica Bay, the colourful International Cakabey Optimist Yacht race is held every year in July.
Ildiri, a quiet seaside village 20 km northeast of Cesme, was ancient Erythrai, Those who climb up to the Acropolis at dusk
are rewarded with beautiful views as the sun sinks over the bay and islands. Nearby Gerence Gulf is a pristine inlet on the
northeast of the Cesme Peninsula which can be reached by yacht or car. The natural surroundings offer relaxation while the
bay is ideal for water sports. ln Dalyan, a fishing village built on a sheltered deep water inlet just north of Cesme, some of the
region's best fish restaurants border the quay of the lively marina.
Tourists are attracted by the variety of accommodation facilities, and by a long, sandy beach (Pirlanta Plaj), just outside of
town to the southwest. Camping facilities are available to the south, and nearby stretches one of the area's best beaches, the
Altinkum Plaj (Golden Beach).
Windmills, some of which have been converted into attractive restaurants, dot the hill above Alacati, a delightful and typical
Aegean town. Alacati lies to the south inland from Ilica and the coast; a couple of kilometers to the south is a good beach.
Many lovely bays, accessible only by yacht, are to be found along the coast southeast of the town and ensure peaceful and
relaxing anchorage in this popular sailing region.
Known in ancient times as Clazomenae, Urla Iskelesi offers a marina as well as plentiful accommodation in all price ranges.
Restaurants on the top of Guvendik hill afford a marvellous view of the bay and its islands.
The prosperous little fishing village of Cesmealti is notable for its simple yet excellent fish restaurants As you drive along the
panoramic Karaburun Reninsula coast road you pass several peaceful bays and quaint fishing villages : Balikliova, Mordogan
and Karaburun. At Karaburun, pleasant hotels, tea gardens and fish restaurants sit between the beautiful mountain back drop
and the clear, clean water. From Manastir Mountain, you can enjoy an unforgettable view of the Karaburun coast, the Foca
coastline opposite, and the entrance to the Gulf of Izmir.
On the southern side of the Cesme Peninsula, near the town of Seferihisar, is the small picturesque marina of Sigacik. This
important yachting centre is surrounded by fortifications dating from the Genoese period and is a good point from which to
visit the Temple of Dionysus at the antique site of Tees as well as the lovely Akkum beach.
Gumuldur has excellent tourist facilities - beautiful beaches , restaurants and hotels. Near Ahmetbeyli (Claros) to the east,
stands the Apollo Temple and the remains of the colossal statue of Apollo; here you can also enjoy a good fish meal or a
swim at the town's wide beach. A winding panoramic coastal road leads from Ahmetbeyli south to Pamucak beach.
The fruits are everywhere and so fresh. Great Olives! The tangerines in the hills taste like a dream. Walk thru the old section of the city and see life as it has been for centuries. People stare but I think they are just interested in seeing how others dress!
Village of Kaynaklar, about 15 km east of Izmir--this is true Turkish village life, away from the madness of the city. There's a simple cafe, a good wood-fired bread baker, a famous water spring ('Kaynaklar' means 'springs') and usually a few farmers selling produce. The picture shows boys playing in a 1000-year old Cinar tree in Kaynaklar.
I was invited by a friend in a small cafe in a side street of the big shopping street in Alsancak, it was a small nice really Turkish style café where we drunk Turkish coffee and played backgammon. Nice people, most younger aged. The nicest café I stayed in Izmir. Check it out.
I stayed a week in Izmir, Turkey, with some friends in their apartment in karsiyaker.
Izmir is quite a busy yet relaxing place, a beach city, pretty with plenty to see. We went to the main shopping centre outdoors, lots of European shops and some well known brands. There was a lovely tree lined walk called lovers lane with people selling jewellery and performing some magic trick that involved the cutest baby bunnies. There were plenty of cafes and bars and a lovely outdoor market gorgeous to drive past at sunset with all the terracotta pottery on display ,really can`t forget this and would love to go back and explore.
We went to an international exhibition with stalls from everywhere selling technology to icecream.
There were beaches to go to with a castle nearby we bought a chicken and bread from a supermarket and had a barbecue on a nice quiet beach, with only a few people on the beach, a nice Turkish man gave us fresh figs to eat at no cost, just lovely Turkish hospitality.
Got some lovely compliments from people but in Turkish which were quickly translated and conveyed to me by my hosts.
We would often see Turkish gypsies in their flambuoyant clothes walking along, interesting sight.
Sometimes in the evening we would venture out for walks and return with chicken skewers which we`d grill and eat on the balcony, One could enjoy a good quality of life out there.
A very pleasant, unforgettable week that somehow felt longer in the nicest possible way.
Sart, or Sardis, is east of Izmir, just a little past Turgutlu on the road to Usak and Ankara.
It was once the capital of the kingdom of Lydia, first country to mint coins, but not much remains. Only a tiny portion of the Lydian city remains, including some ramparts and the nearby tumuli (tombs) of the kings. The rest is pretty much Roman and part of it is heavily reconstructed or pretty much covered in dirt. There are some neat things to see, though, some mosaics, a lavatory, synagogue, and some Roman Christian remains. The reconstructed basilica is heavily rebuilt but is interesting for the fact that it offers someone a good feel for a Roman monument. There are also some fairly rare capital designs on some columns.
One of my favourite aspects of the site was seeing first hand the location and setting of the Lydian capital. Otherwise, it is kind of neat to see but for Greek and Roman remains it is very minor compared to sites like Ephesos, Aphrodisias, Priene, etc.
I miss old historical house architecture of Izmir when I'm far from Izmir. Esp. photographing those houses always attracts me...
Restaurant Ozlem located on the hillside of Sirince is open-air and offers a pictoresque view of the village below.
Not far from Izmir is the quaint little town of Selcuk. Here in the center of town you will find numerous restaurants, hotels and cay gardens.
****FOCA**** by the sea town.Northen of Izmir 45'drive.Nice seaside and atmoshere, old traditional flea market-bazaar, and fish taverns where you can taste fresh fish and sea products.
This small mosque is located near the Basmane Railway Station in the city centre and is said to have been built in 1747.