Monday, April 25, 2011

Turkey (2008): Izmir, Çeşme, Selçuk, Efes


Izmir is an ancient Smyrna, Turkey's third city, the largest commercial port at the Aegean Sea. Two or three days here is enough because it's a big industrial city and doesn't have much to offer.
The distance between Bergama and Izmir is about 100 km, it takes 2 hours by bus. Most long distance buses arrive at a huge station located about 8 km northeast of downtown. To get to the center you can take a bus or a taxi. At first we're a bit stunned and we want to take another bus to escape from here; but after a few gulps of coffee we regain our courage and decide that we'll face this giant.


Ancient Agora in Izmir
Agora in Izmir
There's only one problem: we have noted some hotels from the guide book but the map doesn't have the names of the streets, all the streets here are numbered – it's very confusing. We descend to the lowest level where we ask a driver for help. As he hears that we're Polish, he warmly welcomes us in Turkey (probably thinking that we just arrived) and runs to another driver telling him to wait for us. That's the bus to the center. Our new "friend" tells his colleague to leave us where needed. We're saved. Every moment we praise the cordiality which we witness here at every step.

Tourist information is located at Adeniz Maha no. 1344.
*Agora; actually a small square with a colonnade; open 8.30-12 and 13-17.
*Fortress of Kadifekale - it's rather a scenic location on a hill overlooking the town than a place to explore; there are small cafes where you can sit down for a coffee; reportedly the bus runs from Konak Square to the hill, but we bravely climb on foot; it takes a little and we reach the peak all wet so maybe it's better to take a bus.
*Konak Meydan
ı - Konak Square with a clock tower, a great monument and a park.
 - archaeological museum, open 8.30-17 and ethnographic museum, open Tues-Sun 8.30-12 and 13-17.
*Railway Museum - I don't know whether it's worth seeing or not because even at the train station at which the museum was supposed to be they didn't know anything about it.


As in every large industrial city hotels are quite expensive. For double room in the center you have to pay 50 YTL.

Statue of Pasha Gazi Hasan in Çeşme

This small town is a popular resort among Turkish families. You can meet only a few tourists from Western Europe here, it's a very peaceful place. The town lies about 80 km from Izmir and is easily accessible. Buses (ticket costs 8.50 YTL) arrive to the center.

Tourist information point is located between the south tower of the castle and the sea, near the dock of the ferry lines Estürk, from where you can take a trip to the Greek island of Chios.
*Castle from the fourteenth century and the archaeological museum; open Tue-Sun 8.30-12 and 13-17; entrance 3 YTL.
*Beaches: in the town the beach is tiny and narrow. If you want something more you can go by minibus to one of the neighboring beaches: Çiftlik, Dalyan, Alacati, Resider or Ovacık.

Castle in Çeşme
If someone wants to spend their evenings in a pub or disco, go to the neighboring Ilica. Çeşme is a place to rest, a very small, with a nice square where you can eat and buy souvenirs or just sit by the sea.


The easiest way to get to Selçuk is to take a bus from Izmir (ticket: 8,50 YTL; distance is about 80 km). It's another city to which tourists come for one day only to see the ruins of ancient Ephesus. These are a few kilometers away from the city, you can take a walk to get there.

*Admission to the complex of ruins is 20 YTL, but worth it. There you will find Vedius' Gymnasium, stadium, Arkadian Road, baths, port, gymnasium's port, theater, Celsus' Library, Agora, Serapis Temple, Scholastica's Baths, Hadrian Temple - or rather their remains.
*About a mile from Ephesus is the Mount of the Seven Brothers, and still further - about 8 km to the south, home of Virgin Mary (mother of Jesus Christ supposedly lived there for some time).
*On a hill called Ayasoluk there is St. John's Basilica where the author of the biblical Book of Revelation spent the last years of his life, very ruined.

The double room in a pension can be found for 15-20 YTL.


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