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Izmir: Five things to do and see

2nd November 2017 Posted by: Duncan Chisholm - Editor

IZMIR is Turkey’s third largest city, with a reputation for a liberal local culture which makes living there laid back and steady-paced. It’s often simply overlooked by tourists making their way to attractions like Ephesus - which means that the city has not been completely altered by the tourist trade. Yet its multicultural history remains open to all who wish to enjoy what it has to offer. We’ve put together some of the best places to visit in the city for students who want to get to know what Turkey’s urban jewel on the Aegean has to offer.

Shop at Kemeralti Bazaar

Stretching all the way from the heart of the city to the shore of the Aegean, the Kemeralti Bazaar is an urban maze. You can get lost and explore at your own pace for hours and take in the energy of the market, or shop for anything from food to fabric and jewellery. There are some stalls selling touristy knick-knacks, but with a little time and care, you could find items from all over the world here. The bazaar also houses many traditional Turkish coffee shops, should you wish to take a break and relax for a while.

Try Turkish coffee

Speaking of coffee, Turkish coffee culture is a central part of not just the local culture in Izmir, but across the country in its entirety. The refusal of an invite to have a coffee and chat is almost unheard of and usually means the start of a friendship. Coffee in traditional Turkish coffee shops such as those within the Kemeralti Bazaar is usually accompanied by not only chatter but also game after game of chess and various card games.  

Traditional Turkish coffee is far from the production-line style available at your local Starbucks and is prepared on a stove using a cevze. The unique, Turkish style, finely ground coffee is added with water and then sugar is added to taste until foam reaches the top of the copper cevze.

In Izmir, you can visit Munire for both coffee and also a range of over 15 gazoz (Turkish soda pop) for those companions who prefer something else. Sukru Bey’s Place is another coffee shop worth visiting if you want to take a trip into the historic heart of the city.

Walk the Kordon

The promenade overlooking the bay leading to the Aegean sea from Izmir is called the Kordon. On one side you can take in the views over the bay leading to the mighty Aegean, and on the street side, you can visit some of the best restaurants the city has to offer.

Seafood may seem the appropriate choice given the setting, so you could head to Veli Usta, which is extremely popular with the city’s locals and which serves signature Izmir seafood dishes. You could also sample some Anatolian cuisine from Turkey’s south-east, by taking a trip to the far end of the Kordon to Mesur Tavaci Recep Usta.

Climb to the Kadifekale

If you’re looking for even more stunning views across the Aegean, make your way to the Kadifekale. A hilltop castle renovated almost ten years ago by the Izmir authorities, it will give a panoramic view of the city itself to get a sense of the scale of the urban wonder which houses 2.8 million people.

For a city of this scale, the cityscape after dark is relatively uncluttered, and slopes twinkling in the darkness around towards the shoreline.  

Visit the Museum of Art and Kulturpark

There’s simply nowhere better in the city to see the sculptures and artefacts which trace its multifaceted past. The museum is spread over three pavilions, and its sculpture pavilion houses work from as far back as ancient Smyrna.

Just around the corner from the museum, you’ll find the Kulturpark, one of the largest green spaces in the city.


This editorial was sponsored by the University South Wales, to find out more about their courses take a look at their profile.




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