visiting Izmir, Turkey

Turkey‘s third-largest city is proudly liberal and deeply cultured. Garlanded around the azure-blue Bay of İzmir, it has been an important Aegean port since ancient times, when it was the Greek city of Smyrna, and its seafront kordon (promenade) is as fetching and lively as any in the world. …

Foreign visitors here are largely limited to business travellers and tourists en route to Ephesus. The reason for this is a mystery to us, as the city is home to compelling attractions including one of Turkey’s most fascinating bazaars, an impressive museum of history and art, and a local lifestyle as laid-back as it is welcoming.

Lonely Planet

I did enjoy Izmir.

With it’s pedestrian malls and long seaside promenade it’s a very walkable city for the tourist.

There are always at least a hundred fishermen monopolizing the space closest to the sea.

Wandering the old city Kemeraltı market is a trip.

Population is about 3 million, most of whom have an ocean view. The city sprawls over rolling hills.

Thousands walk the promenade at dusk. That’s the best time and place in Izmir.

I skipped the Izmir Museum of History & Art. And only checked out the ancient Agora through the fence. (I’d spent all my Turkish lira by the last day.)

Turkey is the 13th biggest economy by Gross Domestic Product.

19th in world population rankings. It’s a huge nation.

Bodrum, Turkey

Lonely Planet:

Although more than a million tourists flock to its beaches, boutique hotels, trendy res- taurants and clubs each summer, Bodrum (ancient Halicarnassus) never seems to lose its cool. …

Built by the Knights Hospitaller in the 15th century, Bodrum Castle, overlooks the harbour and the marina. The castle grounds include a Museum of Underwater Archaeology …

Bodrum is OK but it was the least favourite of my stops in Turkey.

The castle and museum are over-priced and not particularly well maintained. This strikes me as a tourist trap with far too many tourists for the available space. Rats crowded into a small cage.

The very interesting Theatre of Halicarnassus is locked up. It should be a major attraction.

I finally found the Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. But it was closed.

My favourite place in Bodrum … Starbucks.

Ephesus Archaeological Museum, Turkey

Ephesus Museum houses finds from the nearby Ephesus excavation site. Its best-known exhibit is the statue of Artemis retrieved from the temple of the goddess …

Not bad. Renovated and reopened November 2014.

As usual I liked the statuary best.


There’s another Ephesos Museum in Vienna.

Basilica of St. John, Turkey

The Basilica of St. John in Ephesus. … stands over the believed burial site of John the Apostle. …

Construction of the church began by 548 … After its completion, it was regarded as one of the holiest churches of its time …

reconstruction model

It is believed that the Apostle John traveled from Jerusalem to the city of Ephesus where he remained for the rest of his life. …

At the site there are claims that it was the largest church in the world. That it would be 7th largest in the world today if fully restored.

Today it sits below a fortress.

I did enjoy a leisurely wander through the ruins. Huge and uncrowded, it’s a relaxing place.

One interesting related story is the nearby House of the Virgin Mary.

Catholic pilgrims visit the house based on the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken to this stone house by Saint John and lived there until her Assumption (according to Catholic doctrine) or Dormition (according to Orthodox belief). …

The shrine has merited several papal Apostolic Blessings and visits from several popes, the earliest pilgrimage coming from Pope Leo XIII in 1896, and the most recent in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI. …

The Catholic Church has never pronounced in favour or against the authenticity of the house.

7 Wonders of the Ancient World – Temple of Artemis

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair

Though hundreds of thousand visit nearby Ephesus, Turkey, I was the only person at the Temple of Artemis when I visited.

Me, turtles and the stork nesting atop the last remaining column.

How fragile are the works of man.

Of the original Seven Wonders, only one—the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest of the ancient wonders—remains relatively intact.

The Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis and the Statue of Zeus were all destroyed.

The location and ultimate fate of the Hanging Gardens are unknown, and there is speculation that they may not have existed at all.

model of the original Temple of Artemis, at Miniatürk Park, Istanbul

Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis, it was completely rebuilt three times before its final destruction in 401 AD.

Click PLAY or watch a BBC documentary on YouTube.