The Agora of Smyrna, located in modern-day Izmir, Turkey, was once the commercial center of the city. The word agora means gathering place, and it was used a meeting place during the Greek & Roman times. Today it is an open-air museum you can find many marble statues and columns.
The Agora of Smyrna was originally built by the Greeks in the 4th Century BC (following the reign of Alexander the Great) but was destroyed after an earthquake in 178 AD. Though it was rebuilt under the command of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelias, it eventually declined around the 7th Century AD.
It was used as a cemetery during the Byzantine and Ottoman eras, and was one of the first excavations performed in Turkey in 1933, shortly after the founding of the Turkish Republic.
Notable features of Smyrna Agora include basilicas, wall engravings (graffiti) which give a glimpse at life during the Roman period, and its ancient waterways. Two of these ancient water trenches are still in use.
The Agora is located near the attractions of Kadifekale Castle, the Izmir Clock Tower, and Kemeralti Bazaar (Marketplace). Smyrna Agora, part of the historical port city of Izmir, was placed on UNESCO’s Tentative World Heritage List in 2020.
See the museum’s official site for updated ticketing info.
- by Kimberly Price, photos by Abigail Goosen