Known as Smyrna until 1930, Izmir, one of Turkey's largest cities, is the unofficial capital of the Turkish Aegean area and one of the area's oldest settlements.
This busy port 210 mi/340 km southwest of Istanbul claims to be the birthplace of the Greek poet Homer, and it also has one of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor (this one was rebuilt after a 1922 fire).
Visit the bazaar; the Kemeralti, Sadirvan and Hisar mosques; the 17th-century caravansary; the archaeological and ethnographical museums; the ancient Agora (marketplace); and Kadifekale (the "Velvet Castle" atop Mount Pagus, with a spectacular view).
For those seeking a more modern experience, the waterfront Kordon area and upscale Alsancak are the hub of the city's cafe culture and nightlife.
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