What You Need To Know

İzmir is a metropolitan city in the western extremity of Anatolia and the third most populous city in Turkey, after Istanbul and Ankara. It is the second most populous city on the Aegean Sea after Athens, Greece. In 2014, the city of İzmir had a population of 2,847,691, while İzmir Province had a total population of 4,113,072 İzmir’s metropolitan area extends along the outlying waters of the Gulf of İzmir and inland to the north across the Gediz River delta; to the east along an alluvial plain created by several small streams; and to a slightly more rugged terrain in the south. In classical antiquity the city was known as Smyrna (Greek: Σμύρνη Smyrni [ˈzmirni]), a name which remained in use in English and other foreign languages until the Turkish Postal Service Law (Posta Hizmet Kanunu) of 28 March 1930, which made İzmirthe internationally recognized name. İzmir has almost 4,000 years of recorded urban history and even longer as an advanced human settlement. Lying on an advantageous location at the head of a gulf running down in a deep indentation, midway on the western Anatolian coast, it has been one of the principal mercantile cities of the Mediterranean Sea for much of its history. İzmir hosted the Mediterranean Games in 1971 and the World University Games (Universiade) in 2005. The city of İzmir is composed of several metropolitan districts. Of these, Konak district corresponds to historical İzmir, this district’s area having constituted the “İzmir Municipality” (Turkish: İzmir Belediyesi) area until 1984. With the constitution of the “Greater İzmir Metropolitan Municipality” (Turkish: İzmir Büyükşehir Belediyesi), the city of İzmir grouped together initially nine, and more recently eleven, metropolitan districts, namely Balçova, Bayraklı, Bornova, Buca, Çiğli, Gaziemir, Güzelbahçe, Karabağlar, Karşıyaka, Konak and Narlıdere. In an ongoing process, the Mayor of İzmir was also vested with authority over additional districts reaching from Bergama in the north to Selçuk in the south, bringing the number of districts considered as being part of İzmir to twenty-one, two of these having been only partially administratively included in İzmir.

 

Area: 7,340 km²

Population: Estimate 2.848 million

Currency

  • The Turkish Lira is the currency of Turkey.

Culture

İzmir prides itself with its busy schedule of trade fairs, exhibitions and congresses. The fair and the festival are held in the compound of İzmir’s vast inner city park named Kültürpark in the first days of September, and organized by İZFAŞ, a depending company of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality.

Cuisine

İzmir’s cuisine has largely been affected by its multicultural history, hence the large variety of food originating from the Aegean and Mediterranean regions. Population movement from Eastern and South East Anatolia regions has enriched the local cuisine. Another factor is the large and fertile area of land surrounding the region which grows a rich selection of vegetables. There is considerable culinary usage of green leaf vegetables and wild plants among’st the residents, especially those with insular heritage, such as the immigrants from Crete. Some of the common dishes found here are the tarhana soup (made from dried yoghurt and tomatoes), “İzmir” köfte, sulu köfte, keşkek (boiled wheat with meat), zerde (sweetened rice with saffron) and mücver (made from zucchine and eggs). A Sephardic contribution to the Turkish cuisine, boyoz and lokma are pastries associated with İzmir. Kumru is a special kind of sandwich that is associated particularly with the Çeşme district and features cheese and tomato in its basics, with sucuk also added sometimes.

 Economy

Trade through the city’s port had a determinant importance for the economy of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 19th century and the economic foundations of the early decades of Turkey’s Republican era were also laid here in İzmir Economic Congress. Presently, İzmir area’s economy is divided in value between various types of activity as follows: 30.5% for industry, 22.9% for trade and related services, 13.5% for transportation and communication and 7.8% for agriculture. In 2008, İzmir provided 10.5% of all tax revenues collected by Turkey and its exports corresponded to 6% and its imports 4% of Turkey’s foreign trade. The province as a whole is Turkey’s third largest exporter after Istanbul and Bursa, and the fifth largest importer. 85–90% of the region’s exports and approximately one fifth of all Turkish exports are made through the Port of Alsancak with an annual container loading capacity of close to a million.

 

Festivals

The annual International İzmir Festival, which begins in mid-June and continues until mid-July, has been organized since 1987. During the festival, many world-class performers such as soloists and virtuosi, orchestras, dance companies, rock and jazz groups have given recitals and performances at various venues in the city and its surrounding areas; including the ancient theatres at Ephesus (near Selçuk) and Metropolis (an ancient Ionian city situated near the town of Torbalı.) The festival is a member of the European Festivals Association since 2003. The İzmir European Jazz Festival is among the numerous events organized every year by the İKSEV (İzmir Foundation for Culture, Arts and Education) since 1994. The festival aims to bring together masters and lovers of jazz with the aim to generate feelings of love, friendship and peace. The International İzmir Short Film Festival is organized since 1999 and is a member of the European Coordination of Film Festivals. İzmir Metropolitan Municipality has built the Ahmet Adnan Saygun Art Center on a 21,000 m2 land plot in the Güzelyalı district, in order to contribute to the city’s culture and art life. The acoustics of the center have been prepared by ARUP which is a world-famous company in this field.

 

Language

Turkish language. Turkish belongs to the Altay branch of the Ural-Altaic linguistic family, same as Finnish and Hungarian. It is the westernmost of the Turkic languages spoken across Central Asia and is generally classified as a member of the South-West group, also known as the Oguz group.

Main features

İzmir has almost 4,000 years of recorded urban history and possibly even longer as an advanced human settlement. Set in an advantageous location at the head of a gulf in a deep indentation midway along the western Anatolian coast, the city has been one of the principal mercantile cities of the Mediterranean Sea for much of its history. Its port is Turkey’s primary port for exports in terms of the freight handled and its free zone, a Turkish-U.S. joint-venture established in 1990, is the leader among the twenty in Turkey. The workforce, and particularly its rising class of young professionals, is concentrated either in the city or in its immediate vicinity (such as in Manisa and Turgutlu), and as either larger companies or SMEs, affirm their names with an increasingly wider global scale and intensity. Politically, İzmir is considered a stronghold of the Republican People’s Party. İzmir hosted the Mediterranean Games in 1971 and more recently the World University Games (Universiade) in 2005. A bid submitted to the BIE to host the Universal Expo 2015, in March 2008, lost to Milan. Modern İzmir also incorporates the nearby ancient cities of Ephesus, Pergamon, Sardis and Klazomenai, and centers of international tourism such as Kuşadası, Çeşme, Mordoğan and Foça. When the Ottomans took over İzmir in the 15th century, they did not inherit compelling historical memories, unlike the two other key points of the trade network, namely Istanbul and Aleppo. The emergence of İzmir as a major international port by the 17th century was largely a result of the attraction it exercised over foreigners, and the city’s European orientation.

Health

  • Turkey has universal health care under its Universal Health Insurance (Genel Sağlık Sigortası) system. Under this system, all residents registered with the Social Security Institution (SGK) can receive medical treatment free of charge in hospitals contracted to the SGK.

Transport

İzmir is served by national and international flights through the Adnan Menderes International Airport and there is a modern rapid transit line running from the southwest to the northeast. The city is trying to attract investors through its strategic location and its relatively new and highly developed technological infrastructure in transportation, telecommunications and energy.

Air

The Adnan Menderes International Airport (ADB) is well served with connections to Turkish and international destinations. It is located in the Gaziemir district of İzmir.

Bus

A recently built large bus terminal, the Otogar in the Pınarbaşı suburb on the outskirts of the city, has intercity buses to destinations across Turkey. It is quite easy to reach the bus terminal, since bus companies’ shuttle services pick up customers from each of their branch offices scattered across the city at regular intervals, free of charge.

Rail

İzmir has two historical rail terminals in the city centre. Alsancak Terminal, built in 1858 and Basmane Terminal, built in 1866 are the two main railway stations of the city. The Turkish State Railways operates regional service to Ödemiş, Tire, Selçuk, Aydın, Söke, Nazilli and Uşak, as well as inter city service to Ankara, Afyon and Bandırma (İstanbul via İDO connection).

 

Weather

İzmir has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa), which is characterized by long, hot and dry summers; and mild to cool, rainy winters. The total precipitation for İzmir averages 686 millimetres (27 in) per year; however, 77% of that falls during November through March. The rest of the precipitation falls during April through May and September through October. There is very little rainfall from June to August. Maximum temperatures during the winter months are usually between 10 and 16 °C (50 and 61 °F). Although it is rare, snow can fall in İzmir from December to February staying for a period of hours rather than a whole day or more. During summer, the air temperature can climb as high as 40 °C (104 °F) from June to September; however it is usually between 30 and 36 °C (86 and 97 °F).

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