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Izmir

Izmir’s history goes back to 3000 B.C. according to the results of historical knowledge and archaeological excavations. Findings and many investigations have been made to enlighten Izmir’s history: The continuous excavations on the Bayrakli ridges by Prof. Dr. Ekrem Akurgal since 1959, the discovery of the Zeus Altar by the German archaeologist Carl Humman in Pergamon (Bergama) between 1866 and 1878, the discovery of the Artemis Temple in 1869 by the British Wood and the continuous excavations by Austrian archaeologists at certain intervals of the city of ancient Ephesus since 1904. Also many researchers in different universities are still investigating on the city’s historical development.

Many legends are known about the derivation of the name of Izmir. According to the knowledge acquired from scientific studies the word "IZMIR" came from Smyrna in the ancient Ionian dialect and it was written as Smyrna in the Attican (around Athens) dialect. The word Smyrna was not Greek, it came from Anatolian root like many other names in the Aegean Region from the texts belonging to 2000 B.C. in the Kültepe settlement in Kayseri, a place called Tismyrna was come across and the (Ti) at the beginning was omitted and the city was pronounced as Smyrna. So the city was called Smyrna the early years of 3000 B.C. or late 1800 B.C. In the Turkish era the city was called Izmir.

Cesme

The Çesme Peninsula, lapped by the waters of the Aegean Sea, lies west of Izmir, in Turkey's Aegean region. "Çesme", meaning "fountain" in Turkish, derives from the many sources of water found in the area. It is one of Turkey's most beautiful stretches, surrounded by clear blue seas, with landscapes of cultivated fields of aniseed, sesame and artichokes dotted with fig and gum trees. In the unspoilt bays you can swim in absolute peace. Visitors will find excellent holiday accommodations, restaurants and sports and entertainment facilities. It is possible also to get to Greek island Chios (Sakiz) with regular daily ferries. Çesme has an international harbor linked to Izmir with a superb highway (80 kilometers - 50 miles).

Çesme was captured from the Byzantines by a Seljuk Turkish force under Çaka Bey in the 11th century. With the decline of the Seljuks in the 13th century it became part of the Aydinogullari principality, which used Çesme as a naval base. The Ottoman sultan Yildirim Bayezit captured Çesme in the 14th century, but after his defeat against Tamerlane (Timur) he ruled the town, then it was returned to the Aydinogullari, and finally recaptured by Bayezit’s son Mehmed I in the 15th century.

A 14th century Genoese fortress, restored and enlarged by the Ottomans in the 16th century, dominates the small port of Çesme and now houses a weapons museum. Today, the town is a popular holiday resort with good accommodations and restaurants. The 16th century caravanserai near the fortress, Öküz Mehmet Pasa Kervansaray, built by Süleyman the Magnificent, has been converted into a hotel. It's a a solid stone building in good repair whose central courtyard is cool even in the hottest weather. Before the rise of Izmir, Çesme was the region’s major port, and this caravanserai marked the end of the Silk road for the caravans who plodded their weary way across Anatolia from Central Asia and the Middle East. Here the goods were unloaded from the camels for export to Europe by ship through the Aegean and Mediterranean. The Church of Agios Haralambos has been restored as an art gallery. Thermal baths offer a health centered escape from modern life. At night a lively, fun atmosphere pervades, especially in the restaurants, cafes, bars and discos along the promenade. Newly built modern Cesme marina has all the facilities for boat owners, as well as many fine restaurants and shops in the premises.

Yachts can be hired to explore the peninsula's splendid coastline. Çesme hosts an annual International Song Contest in July, one of the most important festivals in Turkey. Çesme is also famous for its mastic flavored ice-cream and mouth watering toasted sandwiches. Above all it is Çesme's beaches, the longest on the Aegean coast, and turquoise sea which bring holidaymakers back here again and again.

Kuşadası

Kuşadası is one of Turkey's largest and most cosmopolitan resorts and a stopping off point for the big cruise-liners. It is a good all round resort, offering great beaches, excellent shopping and some serious nightlife. Kuşadası literally means 'Bird Island' and takes its name from the tiny islet known as Güvercin Adası or Pigeon Island, which is attached to the mainland by a causeway and boasts a 14th century Genoese fort. There are a number of sandy beaches in the area. Kadınlar Plajı or 'Ladies Beach' is central but can get crowded so it is wiser in high season to head a little further out of the centre where the beaches are just as sandy but offer more space. Kaleiçi is the old centre of the town and is a popular shopping and entertainment area. The Ottoman Kervansaray or traveler's inn is now in private hands but is an impressive building and a landmark in the town centre. Today's travelers can find comfort in a full range of accommodation in all categories and of all sizes.

Kuşadası's setting also makes it a good base for those wanting to visit Ephesus which is only approximately 30 minutes' drive away.

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