Welcome to Izmir

The grand port city of İzmir, the third largest in Turkey, is a proudly liberal, long-time centre of commerce that has emerged as a smart alternative base for travel in the west of the country. Formerly the Greek city of Smyrna, İzmir lives by its seafront kordon (promenade), which, especially around leafy Alsancak, is as fetching and lively as any in the world.

With its Levantine, Greek, Armenian and Jewish heritage, İzmir is quite distinct from the rest of Turkey; indeed, its fellow countrymen sometimes still regard İzmiris with a degree of suspicion and that’s nothing new: the Ottomans referred to the city as Gavur İzmir (Infidel Smyrna). Even today İzmir retains its liberal, laid-back feel. During Ramazan, when some bars in İstanbul and elsewhere close, it’s business as usual in the countless watering holes on the balmy kordon.

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