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Izmir History

Izmirís history dates back to 3000 B.C. according to archaeological studies carried out in 1948 by the British Archaeological Institute of Athens and, after 1960, by the Turkish Historical Association under Prof. Ekrem Akurgal that showed that originally Izmir was known as Smyrna and founded in an older city in the Tepekule site where today is located Bayrakli by the Trojans.

Smyrna was captured and destroyed by the Lydian King Alyattes in 600BC, later it was reconstructed and restores. Following the Lydians were defeated by Persians during the 7th century. During the reign of the Persians the Greek and Persian cultures interacted, there are still remains of monuments in Greco-Persian style.

In 334 B.C. Alexander the Great conquered Smyrna and built the city on the Pagos Hills now Kadifekale. During this period the Hellenic civilisation began to take root in Anatolia. During the Hellenic period the cities of the Aegean region were covered in architectural structures exhibiting Hellenistic characteristics, and the art of sculpture was developed.

After the death of Alexander the city fell under control of the Pergamon Kingdom. Under the Roman rule the city began to have its second grand era in 190 B.C., having played an important role for the development of Christianity. After the division of the Roman Empire into two, Izmir fell under Byzantine influence and became part of the most important bastions of Byzantium.

Despite the fact that Izmir was taken over by the (the upper half) was ruled first by Emir «aka Bey and later by Aydinoglu Gazi Umur Bey of the Turkish Seljuk Empire. In 1422 Sultan Mehmet II made Izmir a permanent part of the Ottoman Empire.

Starting in the 16th century Izmir developed as a centre of trade of the Otoman empire and in the 18th and 19th centuries became an international commerce capital under British, French, Italian and Dutch traders. After World War I (1914-18), the Turkish government lauched its struggle for independence. The war for Izmirís independence ended on Sept. 9, 1922, and today Izmir holds a prominent place in Turkeyís recent history.

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