Izmir – Turkey, Asia

 
Izmir (Turkish: İzmir) is a large metropolis in the western extremity of Anatolia. The metropolitan area in the entire Izmir Province had a population of 3.35 million as of 2010, making the city third most populous in Turkey. Izmir metropolitan area extends along the outlying waters of the Gulf of İzmir and inland to the north across Gediz River’s delta, to the east along an alluvial plain created by several small streams and to a slightly more rugged terrain in the south. The ancient city was known as Smyrna, and the city was generally referred to as Smyrna in English translation until about 1930.
The city of Izmir is composed of several metropolitan districts. Of these, Konak district corresponds to historical Izmir, this district’s area having constituted the “Izmir Municipality” (Turkish: İzmir Belediyesi) area until 1984, Konak until then having been a name for a central neighborhood around Konak Square, still the core of the city. With the constitution of the “Greater Izmir Metropolitan Municipality” (Turkish: İzmir Büyükşehir Belediyesi), the city of Izmir became a compound bringing together initially nine, and since recently eleven metropolitan districts, namely Balçova, Bayraklı, Bornova, Buca, Çiğli, Gaziemir, Güzelbahçe, Karabağlar, Karşıyaka, Konak and Narlıdere. Almost each of these settlements are former district centers or neighborhoods which stood on their own and with their own distinct features and temperament. In an ongoing processus, the Mayor of Izmir was also vested with authority over the areas of additional districts reaching from Aliağa in the north to Selçuk in the south, bringing the number of districts to be considered as being part of Izmir to twenty-one under the new arrangements, two of these having been administratively included in Izmir only partially.
İzmir has almost 3,500 years of recorded urban history and possibly even longer as an advanced human settlement. Lying on an advantageous location at the head of a gulf running down in a deep indentation midway on the western Anatolian coast, the city has been one of the principal mercantile cities of the Mediterranean Sea for much of its history. Its port is Turkey’s primary port for exports in terms of the freight handled and its free zone, a Turkish-U.S. joint-venture established in 1990, is the leader among the twenty in Turkey. Its workforce, and particularly its rising class of young professionals, concentrated either in the city or in its immediate vicinity (such as in Manisa and Turgutlu), and under either larger companies or SMEs, affirm their name in an increasingly wider global scale and intensity. İzmir is widely regarded as one of the most progressive Turkish cities in terms of its values, lifestyle, dynamism and gender roles. Politically, it is considered a stronghold of the Republican People’s Party.
The city hosts an international arts festival during June and July, and the İzmir International Fair, one of the city’s many fair and exhibition events centered around but not limited to Kültürpark, is held in the beginning of September every year. İzmir is served by national and international flights through the Adnan Menderes International Airport and there is a modern metro line running from the southwest to the northeast. İzmir hosted the Mediterranean Games in 1971 and the World University Games (Universiade) in 2005. It had a running bid submitted to the BIE to host the Universal Expo 2015, in March, 2008, that was lost to Milan. Modern İzmir also incorporates the nearby ancient cities of Ephesus, Pergamon, Sardis and Klazomenai, and centers of international tourism such as Kuşadası, Çeşme, Mordoğan and Foça.
Despite its heritage, İzmir has suffered until recently, as one author puts it, from “sketchy understanding” in the eyes of outsiders. When the Ottomans took over İzmir in the 15th century, they did not inherit compelling historical memories, unlike the two other keys of the trade network, namely Istanbul and Aleppo. Its emergence as a major international port as of the 17th century was largely a result of the attraction it exercised over foreigners, and the city’s European orientation. Very different people found İzmir attractive over the ages and the city has always been governed by fresh inspirations which stemmed from the location of its center and the readiness of its citizens to adopt novelties and new projects.
İzmir prides itself with its busy schedule of trade fairs, exhibitions and congresses. İzmir International Fair (IEF), the oldest member from Turkey of the International Union of Fairs is held every year in August–September at Kültürpark, which covers an area of 421,000 m² in the heart of the city with open-air theatres, the Painting and Sculpture Museum, art centers, amusement park, zoo, parachute tower, and other amenities. Aside from this main event, which acts as a central theme for many other secondary events, there are numerous others throughout the year. In 2007, for example, 35 national or international fairs and exhibitions were held in İzmir around the year and in relation to different areas of activity. These fairs have made great contributions to İzmir’s social and cultural life.
İzmir has a typical Mediterranean climate which is characterized by long, hot and dry summers; and mild to cool, rainy winters. The total precipitation for İzmir averages 706 mm (27.8 inches) per year; however, 77% of that falls during November through March. The rest of the precipitation falls during April through May and September through October. There is virtually no rainfall during the months of June, July and August.
The average maximum temperatures during the winter months vary between the low-to-mid 10 °C (50 °F). Although it is rare, snow can fall in İzmir in December, January and February staying for a period of hours rather than a whole day or more. During summer, the air temperature can climb as high as 40 °C (104 °F) in July and August, however the average maximum temperatures ranges between the low-to-mid 30 °C (86 °F).
The annual International Izmir Festival, which begins in mid-June and continues until mid-July, has been organized since 1987. During the festival, many world-class performers such as soloists and virtuosi, orchestras, dance companies, rock and jazz groups including Ray Charles, Paco de Lucia, Joan Baez, Martha Graham Dance Company, Tanita Tikaram, Jethro Tull, Leningrad Philarmonic Orchestra, Chris De Burgh, Sting, Moscow State Philharmonic Orchestra, Jan Garbarek, Red Army Chorus, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Kodo, Chick Corea and Origin, New York City Ballet, Nigel Kennedy, Bryan Adams, James Brown, Elton John, Anathema, Kiri Te Kanawa, Mikhail Barishnikov and Josep Carreras have given recitals and performances at various venues in the city and its surrounding areas; including the ancient theatres at Ephesus and Metropolis (an ancient Ionian city situated near the town of Torbalı.) The festival is a member of the European Festivals Association since 2003.
İzmir is served by national and international flights through the Adnan Menderes International Airport and there is a modern rapid transit line running from the southwest to the northeast. The city is trying to attract investors through its strategic location and its relatively new and highly developed technological infrastructure in transportation, telecommunications and energy.
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Posted on October 27, 2011, in Asia and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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