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Ismir, Turkey

November, 2000


Ismir, Turkey lies on the western edge of Turkey, on the Aegean Sea.  It was known as Smyrna in the Bible.  The area is rich in history from Biblical times (Ephesus -- as in Paul's letters to the Ephesians -- is just south of here), through the period of Roman Empire control, to modern times with the old and new living side by side.


The first people in this region known as Asia Minor were the Greeks and Romans.  Ancient ruins dating from 9000 years BC have been found throughout the country.  The first civilization in the area that we have accurate records for were the Hittites, who lived here from 1900BC to 1200BC.   Around the 12th Century BC, the area (including nearby Troy) was invaded and occupied by the Sea Peoples.  One group of the Sea Peoples was the Phrygians, who controlled the area from the 9th to 8th Centuries BC.  During the 7th Century BC, the area was overrun by the Cimmerians, who held control until 546 BC, when the Persians took over.  From 546BC until 333BC, most of Asia Minor belonged to the Persian Empire.   In 333BC, Alexander the Great conquered the land, and Asia Minor was ruled by the Romans for the next 600 years.  During the 4th Century AD, the Roman Empire divided, and the area became known as the Byzantine Empire.  In the 11th Century, the nomadic Seljuk Turks invaded and settled the land.  At the end of the 16th Century, the Muslim Ottoman Empire covered all of what is now Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Iran, and much of the Middle East.  During WW I, over 6 million Turks (1/4 of the entire population) died.  After WW I, control switched to the Greeks until 1923, when Mustafa Ataturk led the country to independence. This is not your “One Owner Used Country”.  Turkey remained neutral during WW II until the final months, when it joined the US Allies.  It has been a member of NATO since 1952.






sm Ismir view from hotel 2

A View of Ismir from my hotel window.




sm Ismir waterfront 5

The Ismir waterfront.  This area was just completed, and covers about

two miles of the beachfront.  Nice walking paths!!




sm Ismir McDonalds 2

What do Pilsen, Prague, Dresden, Paris and Ismir have in common?

 You guessed it – McDonalds!




sm Ismir McDonalds 5 menu

McMenuIsmir style.  These meals are about $2.00 each.




sm Ismir self portrait

Self-portrait in Ismir traffic.  Look closely at the reflection. 

I’m in the next-to-last seat of the van, taking the picture.







The Ismir Market


We had one day free to walk around and explore Ismir.  Being the early bird that I am, I was done with breakfast and out on the streets by 7:00 am.

  I love watching a city come alive in the morning, especially when there are markets, so there are plenty of pictures.

 I was fortunate enough to beat the “rush” and get some pictures that I hope convey the smells and colors of this exotic city.




sm Ismir cats on roof

When I entered the market area, all was pretty quiet on this street except for some cats up on the roof looking for a free breakfast.

 The lady cooking inside the window was throwing out scraps of food.




sm Ismir shops 1

These gentlemen were at the first shop open. It was interesting “talking”

with them since neither of us spoke the others’ language.  But

they were very interested in the digital camera and laughed when they

 saw the pictures.  Then, they invited me to join them for morning tea.




sm Ismir shops 24

This was an interesting shop with dried peppers hanging from roof.

Spices, nuts, seeds and grains for cooking.




sm Ismir shops 25

A close-up of the dried peppers.




sm Ismir shops 20

Fresh veggies!!



sm Ismir shops 21

More fresh veggies!




sm Ismir shops 50

This young man was hard at work at a fish market.

School is mandatory only through middle school,

so there are many children this age working in the market.

(This is one of my favorite Europe pictures)




sm Ismir shops 39

This gentleman ran a rotisserie chicken shop.



sm Ismir shops 41 goat heads

For those more adventuresome folks,

goat heads are a popular food item.

Soup, anyone?




sm Ismir shops 43

Olives and spices.  I wish you could smell it!




sm Ismir shops 15

This shop featured hand-made pots and pans.

I bought a grain scoop (there are two of them

hanging overhead in the middle of the picture).



sm Ismir shops 13

Here, the man forms a round handle from a flat piece of metal.



sm Ismir shops 12

The market vendors have everything you could imagine.



sm Ismir shops 16

More food!!  More stuff!!




sm Ismir shops 26

There were a lot of small “Mom & Pop” grocery stores.

Notice the dried peppers overhead.




sm Ismir shops 17

Bargains to be had, with a little persuasion.

 Herbs or berries, anyone?





sm Ismir shops 23

This very quiet gentleman was selling dried fruits.

Notice, he takes Visa and MasterCard.



sm Ismir shops 28

Beans, rice, and spices. The prices are for 1 kilogram (just over 2 pounds).

The prices are listed in thousands of Turkish Lira (600 = 600,000 TL).

With the current exchange rate of 1,600,000 TL (Turkish Lira) for $1,

 the beans in the middle of the picture are about 75 cents per kilo.  The red spice is about 50 cents/ kilo.




sm Ismir shops 33 sardines

These gentlemen were arranging their sardines into a nice display. 

With so much competition, it wasn’t enough just to dump the stuff onto a table.  Presentation was everything. 




sm Ismir shops 36

Some of the other fish for sale.




*********** End of the Market Section ***********



sm Ismir Pizza shop

I found this Turkish pizza shop on one of the side streets. 

Made with fresh bread in a stone oven, Turkish pizza is nothing like the stuff you get at Dominos.

  It’s very spicy.  Did I mention that it was very, very good?!!




sm Ismir Dad pizza shop 2

Cheers!!  Turkish citrus soda.



sm Ismir Pizza

One Turkish pizza (sliced) and a Pepsi. 

Cost- 1,250,000 Turkish Lira (about $1.00)



sm Ismir statue Ataturk 2

A statue of Ataturk can be found in just about every Turkish city.

Here, you can also see the Turkish flag.




sm Ismir mosque

The Mosque was too large to fit in a picture up close,

 so this is it from a block away.

Sorry the lighting is not good this time of day.




sm Ismir mosque inside 3

Inside the Mosque.  Although most of the people are Moslem, they are very tolerant of other faiths.

  It is strictly forbidden to try to convert anyone from their religion, so “witnessing” is not to be seen.




sm Ismir mosque inside 8

These beads were at the foot of the steps in the previous picture.

They appear to be used in the prayers.



sm Ismir disco

The “Always” Disco.  Groovy, baby!



sm Ismir Taksi

Turkish “TAKSI”.  Are you sick of getting into filthy cabs that have month-old food rotting on the seats and carpet?

  Then, take a Turkish Taksi.  Their owners take extreme pride in having the cleanest car in town. 

While this driver was waiting for his next passenger, he was busy cleaning all the floor mats.

Jerry (the guitarist in our band) and I rode one of the taksis up the mountain to an old fortress. 

Cost for the 20-minute ride?  About $4.00, including a generous tip.




sm Ismir castle

The walls of the old fortress are all that remain.




sm Ismir castle2

More of the castle wall.



sm Ismir Dad overlook

Nice view of Ismir from the fortress walls.

(Especially if the old guy would just move out of the way!!)




sm Ismir overlook2

A view to the left from above Ismir.



sm Ismir overlook3

And, a look to the right.  Quite a large city.




sm Ismir castle weavers1

Near the fortress entrance was this group

of Turkish women weaving rugs.




sm Ismir castle weaver2

This young Turkish lady was working

hard on a hand-woven rug.



sm Ismir neighborhood 9

A neighborhood just outside the fortress. These kids

 will probably never see a computer game

or attend school past 6th grade. No playgrounds or

movie theatres around this neighborhood. Most will

be working in their parents’ business by age 12.




sm Ismir neighborhood 4

Another poor neighborhood next to the old castle.




sm Ismir Coke cooler

A cold Coke on a 100-degree day looks

pretty good in any language!




sm Ismir leaving 3

Traffic in downtown Ismir is a nightmare.




sm Ismir leaving 7 hillside houses

Not all parts if Ismir are new.  This is a section of lower-income

 housing on the edge of town.



sm Ismir leaving 8 hillside houses

More low-income housing.





sm Ismir shops  music5

Back from the fortress, I found this display in a music store.



sm Ismir shops 10

Just a pretty picture from an antique shop.




sm Ismir sunset 3

Sunset on the waterfront.




sm Ismir nighttime 2

The waterfront at night.




Click here to read more about Turkey online


Click here to read more about Izmir online


Click here to read more about Ephesus online



Hope you enjoyed

Ismir, Turkey



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