Once famous for figs, Izmir (formerly Smyrna), is now Turkey’s 3rd-largest city, the “capital” of the Aegean region, a major port and commercial center set dramatically around ahuge bay and backed by mountains to the south.
During the War of Independence (1922) a disastrous fire destroyed most of old Smyrna.
Today Izmir (EEZ-meer, pop. 3 million) is a mostly modern city with good hotels and restaurants, an interesting bazaar, a few small archeological sites, a big, busy Otogar (bus terminal), and an important airport south of the city on the way to Ephesus.
Some travelers use Izmir as a base to visit such regional sights as Bergama/ Pergamum, Çeşme & Alaçatı, Sardis, Ephesus & Kuşadası, Aphrodisias & Pamukkale, because Izmir has a great variety of hotels.
You needn’t linger in Izmir if your time in Turkey is short, but if it suits your schedule to spend a night here, enjoy Izmir’s Aegean ambience: see the sights, wander in the bazaar, sip drinks and dine at the pleasant waterfront restaurants.