City of Izmir

The City of Izmir

Izmir is located at the side of a gulf on the Aegean Sea in the westernmost part of Anatolian Peninsula. It is the third most populous city of Turkey after Istanbul and Ankara with a population over 4 million. It is the second leading port after Istanbul with its large and sheltered harbor. The city has witnessed 8,500 years of human history including 3,500 years of urban history as one of the oldest port cities of the Mediterranean. While the city was under the governance of Ottoman Empire in the 17th century, it became a major international port and attracted significant overseas business. Along with the developing trade, diversity also increased with Levantines, Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Jewish and Muslim Turks, who together formed a city of tolerance. Izmir had long served as a point of interaction between the East and West and constituted a borderland between civilizations, between ethnicities, and between religions in its process of evolution from Smyrna (the name of the ancient city) to Izmir. The current urban identity of Izmir and its population has been deeply influenced by its historical heritage and multicultural past.

Izmir is known as a modern Turkish city that has fully embraced western values and the lifestyle. The inhabitants of Izmir take pride in their image as the most democratic and western face in Turkey. The city enjoys a liberal and secular atmosphere in which the appreciation of art and design holds a central place in the population’s worldview and daily life.

Izmir is a Mediterranean city with Aegean climate, food, and a healthy life. It is a living city known for its ‘life on the streets’. This life is combined with the culture of all citizens using the sea and the waterfront. The sea is part of the daily life of the people. Perception of a slow and calm lifestyle is part of the culture, which sometimes contradicts with its global economic ambitions. The city perceives this two speed as a unique characteristic and pursues its strategies of development accordingly.


  • Eylemer, S., & Memişoğlu, D. (2015). The borderland city of Turkey: Izmir from past to the present. Eurolimes, 19, 159-184. Retrieved June 6, 2018, from here.
  • Izmir Culture Workshop(2009), Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, Izmir Mediterranean Academy, ISBN: 978-975-18-0200-2. Retrieved June 6, 2018, from here.