Izmir, the center of the Aegean
İzmir, as Turkey’s third biggest city, is a modern, well developed and productive trade center.
Atatürk emphasized İzmir’s importance by saying: “And all the World shall know, that İzmir is a holy land now, where no dirty feet can step onto!”. Historian Herodotus marked that “They established their city under the most supreme dome of sky and the best climate in the World,” and Arsitotle warned Alexander The Great: “You must see there!”; Victor Hugo praised İzmir by saying “İzmir is a princess”.
The city is located at the intersection point of western and eastern trade routes and it’s the 3rd biggest city of Turkey. Shining like a pearl, İzmir inherits a great historical and cultural wealth with its 8500 years history.
İzmir offers different types of tourism with its geographic location, cultural and historical wealth, European mindset, easy transportation as a passage point between different regions (transportation is convenient by means of sea, land and airways) and with its mild climate suitable for tourism. The city’s social and cultural atmosphere allows diverse cultural and artistic activities as well; it has a seashore length of 629 km and 101 km of this length consists of completely natural beaches.
İzmir is also a city of different nations and tolerence, where different cultures, life styles and religious beliefs (Muslims, Christians, Jews, Armenians, People with Greek roots) have been living together in peace for thousands of years.
İzmir is located on a land with the heritage of many civilizations lived in history, some of which still remain unearthed. These historic cities include Tepekule (Bayraklı), Symrna, Efes, Pergamon (Bergama), Teos (Sığacık), Lebedos (Ürkmez), Kyme (Aliağa), Allianoi (Yortanlı), Thyrea (Tire), Phokaia (Foça), Kolophon (Değirmendere), Erythrai (Çeşme), Klazomenai (Urla), Metropolis (Torbalı), Claros (Ahmetbeyli) and Myrina (Aliağa).
İzmir is also a center for medical and thermal tourism with a high potential, offering healthy lifestyle alternatives to its visitors. Escpecially prefered by Scandinavian countries in this respect, İzmir’s worldwide known cure centers have served since ancient times. Agamemnon, Asklepion, Allinoi, Karakoç and Çeşme-Şifne, Ilıca are some of these old and new centers.
İzmir is in Mediterranean Climate Zone, therefore its summers are hot and dry, whereas winters are mild and rainy. With mountains lying perpendicular to the sea and plains reaching Central Western Anatolia, effects of the sea are able to reach to the inner parts of the region. But in the city as a whole, differences of elevation and of geographical features such as the distance from sea, cause diversity in climate with regard to rain, temperature and sunshine. As july and august are the hottest months, january and february are the coolest ones. Snow is so rare. During hot summer months, a wind called “İmbat” is like a cool breeze. This wind, caused by the heat differences of land and sea by day and night, can be seen only in İzmir. In broiling hot days of summer, İmbat is a soft, cool breeze which keeps people fresh.
Broad, hard and needle-leaved trees and bushes, which are resistant to drought and which can grow in Mediterranean Climate Zone, constitute the main natural vegetation. Pinus brutia, pine, larch, cypress, maquis and olive trees are prevalent. Wineyards and orchards cover a large zone. Kozak Mountain is one of Turkey’s biggest pine nut production centers.
İzmir has a geography surrounded by Madra Mountains and Balıkesir provincial border in the north, Kuşadası Gulf and Aydın provincial border in the south, Çeşme Peninsula and İzmir Gulf in the west, and Manisa provincial border in the east. Within the borders of the city, there is the lower branch of Gediz river, which is one of the most important rivers in Aegean Region and also Little Maeander and Bakırçay are active rivers. The others are little rivers which depend on floods.
Gediz River has its source from the Mountain of Murat, which is in Central Western Anatolia. Its total length is 400 km. Kemalpaşa Stream, which has its source in the Yamanlar Mountain within İzmir provincial border, is one of the most important branches of Gediz River. Gediz arrives İzmir provincial border on the western edge of Manisa plain and completes its journey to the Aegean Sea in the south of Foça after passing through Menemen Channel which is located between Yamanlar Mountain and Dumanlı Mountain.
Little Maeander River has its source in Boz Mountains. Its length is 124 km. It waters a very fertile plain known with the same name and then arrives the Aegean Sea on the west of Selçuk district. Together with the alluvial deposit brought by Little Maeander, shore line continuously went farther in history and as a result, one of the most important port cities in history, Efes was left 5-6 km far from seacoast.
Bakırçay River consists of the branches coming from Ömerdağ Mountain in the east, Madra Mountain in the north, Yunt Mountain in the south and it has a length of 128 km. It is the most important river of Bakırçay Basin, which is a part of Aegean Basin and located in İzmir provincial borders for the most part of it. It arrives the Aegean Sea at Çandarlı Gulf.
Landforms of İzmir province is a result of geologic events of rather recent times. Subsidence plains and alluvial deposit plains located between range mountains lying on east-west line, form the main outlines of the landforms. On the farthest north of the province there is Madra Mountains. These mountains, having an altitude of more than 1250 m, form a significant height between Burhaniye-Havran Plains on their north and Bergama Plain on their south. Some parts of these mountains reach towards southwest to Altınova and Dikili and arrive to the seashore by descending to the plains. Southwestern edge of Madra Mountains is known as Geyiklidağ on the west side of Bergama district. Here its altitude reaches 1061 m.