The Tourist Side

We did it.  We ventured out of our comfort zone and set foot in the city.  The Things were a bit unsteady and they grew tired of the non stop photo ops but other than that it was a grand day.
(actually this was last week, but since I had no way of downloading my photos, it shall be posted today, the 7th of July)
Our first visit was to the Konak clock tower, "Sat Kulise" in Turkish.  There is a small mosque in the center of the square as well.  The Things were quite interested but they were not allowing visitors today.  The clock tower is near the center of Izmir and is beautiful. There are intricate carvings of the Turkish flag on all sides.  Same for the mosque.  Detailed iron work and elaborate tiled windows and door frames surround it.  The Things are still enthralled with the minarets and the publicly announced daily prayer calls.  This was their first up close and personal viewing of such. 
I am sure that we stood out like monkeys, once again.
Moving on, at breakfast the Things had all decided that they wanted to visit the Archeology Museum.  Artifacts, busts, sarcophigus' and not to mention the countless mosaics were beyond amazing.  Most of the relics in the museum came from the surrounding areas of Izmir Province, which was Smyrna.  Even the Things were interested when we passed an area with several sarcophagi that were found in Urla, the town we will be living in.  The land there, dating back to the sixth century BC, was a prominent place for olive oil making.  That area is still surrounded with breathtaking olive groves.  And as they say here in Turkiye, if you ask where the best Italian olive oil is from, it is here in Turkiye.
From archeology and onto ethnography.  There was another museum next door that was once a care house for poor Christian families and orphans in the early 1800's.  It is said to be the most informative tourist attraction.  And so we continued on.  For free by the way.  Just an added bonus to our already great day.  This museum explained the Efes tribe and customs, crafts and trades that are still prominent today.  Not to mention the section on evil eye art.  The skill involved in the production of each and everyone and the individual artist's details. The beads are still constructed the same today as they always have been and only in two villages here.  Also, a beautiful collection of furniture, embroidered cloths and of course rugs, handmade and woven felt and Menemenn pottery.  All in all I would second the notion that this museum was informative. 
And to think I haven't even mentioned my favorite part of the day.  This may be another lengthy post.

 From there we decided to take our hand through the local roads on foot to see the Agora.  The Agora was a marketplace from ancient Roman times.  It stands, what is left of it, in the middle of Izmir, amongst all the modern and not so modern buildings.  We trekked through the "new" village marketplace, Kemralti.  Complete with clothing, home goods, handmade crafts and then, are you ready for this, the food street.  That is what I lovingly call it.  Just when I wasn't so sure about the path we were on my sensories were peaked.  And oh were they ever.  Countless stands with fresh produce.  I mean fresh.  Not like anything we have ever eaten state side.  The fruit could even be smelled.  Distinctively.  Cherries, apricots, grapes.  And then the fresh herbs, the lettuce, the peppers, the potatoes.  The potatoes even smelled good.  Just when I thought it couldn't get any better there was fish on either side of me.  Fresh.  Being thrown and wrapped and iced  Then the next stands were butchers.  They do not believe in waste here people.  Every part of the animal was being used and sold and hung for all to see.  Thing 1 did reveal to Husband Jared and I that she was not so fond of the cultural experience provided here.  As for me I will definitely be revisiting that street.  Like everyday.
As we exited our eyes feasted on the ancient market, once known as Smyrna.  Not able to recognize around the barbed wire barrier there were giant columns standing gracefully, reaching to the sky.  Whoa.  There it was.  The agora.  Dating back to Hellenistic times.  This place rocked our world. 

In the above photo are the remains of the city's arches that once formed the marketplace. This market dates back to around the 2nd century AD.  It was remarkable.  On another level of the site they are excavating even more.  We are looking forward to our next visit and the new finds. 

1 Response to "The Tourist Side"

  1. Cheryl Lee Says:

    Beautiful! love it, looking forward to our visit so I can experience the sights and sounds as you described them! When can I come?

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