Turkey is a country of many cultures, nations, and religions, and therefore it has many sites that were built in different epochs by various empires. There is of course Istanbul which has everything from Ancient Greece to the Byzantine Empire, to the Ottoman palaces and mosques. But there are also some big cities that have just a few ancient pieces that were preserved. In this category you can place the city of Izmir and the Agora of Smyrna.
The city of Izmir is quite a big industrial city with many universities, students, and businesses. Izmir is a classic modern Turkish city that lies on the coast of the Aegean Sea and provides people with an amazing view and many great places to visit. Although none of those places are historical or architectural treasures except one of them which is the Agora of Smyrna or also known as the Agora of Izmir.
The Agora of Smyrna was built by Greeks sometime in the 4th century BC and then rebuilt by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius after the region was ruined by the earthquake. The Agora that you see nowadays started to take its shape in 1933 when the excavation of the site began. Since then the site was cleaned up and some parts were nicely restored, the streets started to take shapes and the Agora of Izmir was named a part of The World Heritage Sites.
You can easily visit the place yourself. The ticket to the Agora of Smyrna cost just 18 TL ($2.3). There are many parts that can attract your attention and one of them is an underground street which is covered with huge stone arches. It looks like a maze of columns and massive arches. In the center of this maze there is a fountain that is still working and the water goes into thin channels all over the place.
Just next to the entrance on your right you can see a collection of pillars and columns that were discovered already ruined. On one of them there is clear writing (graffiti) of the word “Constantinople” and other Latin words. The column originally was placed in the basilica at the Northwest Gate of the Agora.
In the right corner of Agora there is an Ottoman graveyard. Many gravestones are ruined or broken of course, but there are some that were preserved and look the same now as they did many years ago.
The whole site won’t take you long to explore (unlike the ruins of Ephesus) but the cultural and historical understanding that you are getting out of places like this is worth the money and the effort.
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