Fouilltes de Sagalassos

Izmir, the ancient city of Smyrna – Part IV

on 28/04/2015
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Beside its Christian history, Izmir also has some important vestiges of its Muslim past.

IMG_9743 copyIf there is a mosque worth seeing, it is without doubt Hisar camii, also called Hisaronu. Built between 1592 and 1598 by Aydinoglu Yakup Bey, it is one the largest mosques of the city and a perfect example of Islamic Ottoman architecture.

The mosque’s main dome is supported by eight pillars on top of which rest three more domes. The decorations inside are sumptuous and similar to the ones found in Ottoman palaces.

There is also a pretty fountain in the yard. After having been damaged over time, Hisar Mosque was renovated several times in 1813, 1881, 1927 and 1980.

Don’t forget to extend your visit by going to Kizlaragasi han located just near the mosque. This fantastic caravanserai from 1744 is now an attractive bazaar that retains all his historical features.

Another interesting mosque is Konak camii, situated near the Clock Tower on Konak square. It was built in 1755 under the patronage of Ayse Hanim, wife of the governor of Izmir Katipzade Mehmet Pasa. Its façade is decorated with Kutahya tiles (particularly around the apertures) and inside there is a magnificent chandelier designed and made by Umran Baradan.

IMG_8035 copyNot far from there you will find the sahil, in other words the seashore, favourite strolling area of the residents of Izmir.

Whether they are walking, cycling or roller skating, young or old, the locals love this place.

The sunsets there are often magnificent.

Izmir is undoubtedly a large city, however, unlike Istanbul, its centre doesn’t feel asphyxiating. Its ancient and contemporary features are harmoniously combined and life there seems pretty agreeable.

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