The beautiful marble Clock Tower or Saat Kulesi in Turkish is a landmark of Izmir. It stands out at the center of theKonak square and has 25 meters high. It was designed by the Levantine French architect Raymond Charles Père and its ornate was made in late-Ottoman design.
The tower was built in honor of Sultan Abdulhamid in 1901 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his accession to the throne. The clock itself was sent as a gift from Kaiser Wilhelm II.
The tower features four fountains which are placed around the base in a circular pattern, and the columns are inspired by North African themes.
This is me and my grandma's favourite monthly activity: Going to Kemeralti (to buy sth - you can find anything you need), bargaining for whatever you like and shopping...
Kemeralti is Izmir's historic bazaar district. It was originally formed around the street surrounding the inner bay of the city, which was filled in during the 17th century, enabling the bazaar to be extended to a wider area.
It is 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 jewellers, drapers, shoemaker, and shops specialising in all kinds of goods from leather to fish and olives and cheese. The atmosphere of an earlier century is still aorund the bulidings here, with their distinctive 19th century doorways and roof tiles.
The district covers a vast area extending from the level of the Agora of Smyrna (the quarters of Namazgah, Mezarlikbasi and Ikicesmelik), to the seashore along the Konak Square. It remains one of the liveliest parts of Izmir.
The city on the Pagos hills overlooking the gulf today stands at the location between Kadifekale and inner harbor of Izmir.
According to a legend, while Alexander The Great was hunting at the woods of Pagos hills he fell asleep under a tree at the Nemesis holly area. In his dream he saw two Nemesis telling him to found a new city at this location and that its citizens would have a very prosperous and happy life. After waking up, Alexander refers his dream to Apollonian oracle priest and they comment him to build his city on the hillside of Pagos and his general Lysimachos makes this dream come true in 302 BC.
Kadifekale was abandoned until 18th century and many stones from ancient buildings were used as construction material. After 18th century people started to settle again and in the last 50 years invaded by irregular housing.
The castle at 186 meters above sea level is one of the highest points of the city which offers a bird-eye view of Izmir.
The historical Asansor built in 1907 on Mithatpasa Street, and Dario Moreno street running to the Asansor, are interesting places to visit in Izmir. Before its construction, a stairway with 155 steps was used to climb to the Halil Rifat Pasa district 50 meters above. This elevator tower has joined the two districts with the aid of two elevators. Besides its breathtaking panorama of the city on the Aegean Sea especially at sunset or at night, a restaurant today is serving to its customers.
Near the Asansor, there are Usakizade Latife Hanim House and Beth Israel Synagogue worth a visit.
Konak Pier is reported to have been designed by Gustave Eiffel's architecture office in 1890. It is located near the city's historic center Konak Square.
It was originally built as warehouse together with the French customs house on the nearby Pasaport Quay during the renewal of Izmir's infrastructures. Konak Ferry Bridge is also located just opposite the Konak Square.
Izmir is the country's largest port after Istanbul which is located along the outlying waters of the Gulf of Izmir, by the Aegean Sea. It was formerly known as the Gulf of Smyrna, now in Turkish it is Izmir Korfezi. It is 32 km in length by 16 km in breadth.
The city of Izmir surrounds the end of this gulf. It's inlet between the peninsula of Karaburun and the mainland area of Foca.
The small single-domed Konak Yali Mosque is located a neighbor to the Clock Tower. It was built by Mehmet Paa's daughter Ayse Hanim in the 18th century.
It is remarked by its octagonal plan.
It is built in classical Ottoman architecture style and embroidered by famous Kutahya ceramic tiles. The windows are also surrounded by ceramic tiles. The minaret has a circular body. During the years of the First World War it has gone through a serious restoration and it was again restored in 1964.
The strange building that hold the museum built in 1831 as the St. Rock Hospital and had patients that suffered from black death! It is situated right next to the Archaeological Museum but I like it more because it shows many things about the local daily life. You can see many samples of traditional Turkish folkloric artifacts, a collection of Bergama and Gordes carpets, traditional costumes etc I visited the museum with Emek, my local friend in Izmir so we had some nice conversions about some common local customs the two counties share through the years.
The museum is open every day except Monday between 08:30-12:00 and 13:00-17:00) and the cost is only 2YTL (1.2euro!).
Konak Square or Konak Meydani with its 40.000 square meters of space at the water's edge is considered as the heart of the city. The Gouvernor’s Administration Building, City Hall, District building, and many of the banks, Clock Tower, Konak Mosque and the First Bullet Monument of Hasan Tahsin are situated in Konak Square.
The square is the busiest part of the city, as Konak is the main place of Izmir.
NATO's Southern Command headquarters is located nearby.
The Statue of Hasan Tahsin who is a national hero in Turkey is located at the Konak Square just opposite the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Building. He was the journalist who fired the first bullet of resistance in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) of independence.
He was the first to open fire on the Greek soldiers that landed in Izmir. As such, his name came to symbolize the date of 15 May 1919 in Turkey. His opening fire on Greek troops led to rioting which killed over 300 people.
The Clock Tower (Saat Kulesi) is the symbol of Izmir. It is situated in the heart of the city at Konak Square and it’s really a beautiful marble tower, standing 25 meters in height, designed by the Levantine French architect Raymond Charles Pere in 1901 for the 25th anniversary of the ascension of Abdülhamid II. There are also 4 fountains around the base in a circular pattern. The clock in the tower was a gift by German Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Kordon is a bright idea. Ideal for walking, joking, cycling etc There are some people that suggest that will be nice to create an avenue here! That will be the end of Izmir! I think it’s the only place that people can walk near the sea, relaxing away from the cars etc The long palm-fringed promenade, Birinci Kordon (First Kordon) is truly very long, you can see some nice statues, stop at some cafes, or just walk until Alsancak ferry terminal. Alsancak is a nice district anyway because the old greek houses transformed into pubs so your afternoon will be nice too
There is a second Kordon, parallel to the first, just behind the buildings and it’s full of pubs, cafes, and small restaurants.
The synagogue was built in 1905 by Nisim Levi in the Karatas district where an important Jewish community lived at the time. At the entrance of the synagogue, there is the opening date of 5668 according to the Jewish calendar, and on the upper-left corner there is Shaday (God) name inscripted.
The interiors of the synagogue are beautiful and the wood works are very impressive. Lower floor is reserved for men and has a capacity of up to 600 people, and upper floor is reserved for ladies.
Beth Israel is the biggest synagogue iz Izmir and one of the two most frequently used synagogues today for important ceremonies in Izmir. Many other synagogues are rarely used.
Alsancak district, called Punto in old times, is one of the centers of Izmir and an elegant and exquisite residential area. The neighborhood is stretching from the waterfront, called Kordon which is lined up with nice bars and fine restaurants, to the inner land. Along the waterfront there is a nice pedestrian promenade where one can enjoy fine shops and fine dining without the traffic noise, looking at the Aegean Sea.
Karsiyaka district is in the north shore of the Izmir Gulf and is one of the residential centers of the city. The name literally means "Opposite Shore" in Turkish, as location-wise it is. The residents of this fine district are so proud of living here that they even consider themselves as living in another town; they don't say that they live in Izmir, but in Karsiyaka. Also, the national traffic code is 35 but the residents of Karsiyaka claim that theirs is 35,5.
The district has many old houses and mansions with large gardens, but lately many fancy apartments have been built along the waterfront.