Alex van Terheyden
Izmir Turkey & a Wonder of the World
Izmir, Turkey - had you heard of it before today? You probably had. But, there's a small chance you may not have heard of it. Some people live lives where knowing every city in every corner of the planet isn't that important. I was reminded of Izmir just over a year ago when I was last in Turkey. I recall learning about it when I studied Latin at school and then looking at this dot on the map and Wondering if I would ever go there. After that Wonder - I have to admit - I kind of forgot all about it.
Then, the opportunity came about to go there post Vienna. The flight was reasonably priced so I decided to book it and go see what Izmir and the surrounding area was like. Once again - I decided to document that adventure.
It may not have the fame Istanbul has or the power Ankara has (I will be posting a video on Ankara soon). However, it is a charming city and a lot bigger than I expected it to be. My one regret - I simply didn't stay in the city long enough - I feel to really know a place you must spend weeks maybe months in the city you are trying to get to know. Maybe another time - however the brief tour of the city was enjoyable and rewarding. Post Izmir I rented a car so that I could go and find one of the seven wonders of the World.
The Temple of Artemis or Artemision (Greek: Ἀρτεμίσιον; Turkish: Artemis Tapınağı), also known less precisely as the Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to an ancient, local form of the goddess Artemis. It was located in Ephesus (near the modern town of Selçuk in present-day Turkey). And this is exactly where I decided to drive. First to the town of Selcuk where I could learn more about Artemis and the local history before taking in one of the Wonders of the World.
If you watch the video - you will see what it looks like today - but some background on the place - It was completely rebuilt three times, and in its final form was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. By 401 AD it had been ruined or destroyed. Only foundations and fragments of the last temple remain at the site.
The earliest version of the temple (a temenos) antedated the Ionic immigration by many years, and dates to the Bronze Age. Callimachus, in his Hymn to Artemis, attributed it to the Amazons. In the 7th century BC, it was destroyed by a flood. Its reconstruction, in more grandiose form, began around 550 BC, under the Cretan architect Chersiphron and his son Metagenes. The project was funded by Croesus of Lydia, and took 10 years to complete. This version of the temple was destroyed in 356 BC by Herostratus in an act of arson. The next, greatest and last form of the temple, funded by the Ephesians themselves, is described in Antipater of Sidon's list of the world's Seven Wonders:
I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, "Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand".
And now The Wondering Englishman has set his eyes and his camera on this wonder. Check out the video and let me know if its a place you now want to see or not.
To truly understand the city of Izmir you really need 2 days at the very least. And given its size staying anywhere around the city will suffice. There are a variety of options to pick from. Over the years, I've had the fortune to stay in an array of hotels, apartments and various forms of accommodation while travelling. For the majority of travellers, I recommend Booking.com - yes there are hotel comparison websites such as Trivago and Kayak. However, from my years of travel experience, I've discovered both of these comparison websites do not have all the hotels, hostels and apartments listed. The reasons behind this could be some premises simply do not pay the comparison sights a fee or the reason could be something else. If you know of the reason do leave a comment below. However, I have discovered no matter what the location Booking.com will 9/10ths of the time have the most competitive deal and generally more choice. However, if you are super keen to get the best deal- use Booking.com, Kayak, Trivago, Lastminute.com and Hotels.com in separate browser windows.
To make your life easier here is a Booking.com booking/search window.
An alternative which I do recommend for your accommodation is Airbnb. The city authorities still allow Airbnb in the city (it hasn't been banned just yet). I've booked a number of apartments via Airbnb. If you have not used them before (you have probably been living under a rock). But if you use this referral link you will get many Dollars or Euros off your first booking and I'll get a very small referral kickback. I'm an Airbnb host as well as a frequent Airbnb traveller. I love Airbnb because not only does it make travelling more affordable but it also allows you to stay off the beaten track. Staying with a local or in your own apartment is far more unique than staying in a generic hotel you could find anywhere in the world. Use the map below to search for the perfect Airbnb stay within walking distance of the centre of Izmir.
One suggestion before you visit Turkey and any nation that you are not connected with would be to try and learn a little bit of the local lingo. Yes, a lot of people in Turkey speak English but saying Hello in Turkish - "Merhaba". Will go a long way in terms of getting more warmth from the Turkish people and also endearing yourself to them more. I recommend learning a second or sixth language with Rosetta Stone. They do amazing online courses for beginners to experts in every language you could possibly want to learn including Estonian!
I hope you have a great time in Izmir Turkey should you visit. I am not sponsored by the Turkish Government or any Travel Group I simply have written this post as I enjoy travelling. Please do check out this blog for more independent travel ideas and my YouTube Channel.
And if any of this information has been useful to you and you fancy buying me a Coffee please do click the link below to buy me a coffee via Ko-Fi.com