Agora of Smyrna, Izmir, Turkey

Archaeological site of the ancient city of Smyrna

Where? When? How much does it cost?

The address of the Agora of Smyrna is Namazgah, Tarik Sari Sokağı No:29, 35240 Konak/İzmir. It can be reached on foot if you visit the central Konak district or by one of the public transport lines 23, 680, 18, 19, 20, 811 to Mezarlık Başı station. The archaeological site is open every day from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. The price of an entrance ticket is 60 TRY, which is a little less than 3 EUR. Allow 30 – 60 minutes for this visit.

About the Agora of Smyrna

The Agora of Smyrna is also called the Agora of İzmir. On the signposts in the city you will come across the name Agora Ören Yerı. Turks also call it İzmir Agorası. Smyrna is the ancient name of the city of Izmir. The agora was built by the Greeks in the 4th century BC. The earthquake of 178 AD ruined it. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius ordered the reconstruction of the agora. Valuable archaeological finds came to light after 1933. The Agora is currently an open-air museum of history and archaeology.

 

1. The Basilica

The basilica is located in the northern courtyard of the Agora. At the west end of the ground floor there was a semi-open space highlighted with architectural elements where judicial activities were carried out. The basilica is built on three floors plus a basement. It is one of the largest basilicas built in the Roman period. The basement has 4 galleries. The ground floor and upper floors consist of a wide central gallery and two narrow side galleries. The south facade of the building facing the courtyard was two levels high. In the center of the facade was a monumental gate. The north facade of the Basilica had three floors due to the difference in level between the courtyard and the street to the north.

Northwest Gate of Basilica

Bazilica

Bazilica

Agora of Smyrna

The Basilica

2. The dream of Alexander the Great

Pausanius, a geographer and traveler of the second century AD, relates that Alexander came to the slopes of Mount Pagos to hunt and fell asleep under a plane tree near a spring in front of the Temple of Nemesis, who ordered him to establish in that place a city and move the population there. According to the legend, Apollo replied to the locals, that “those who live on Pagos beyond the Sacred Spring will be three or four times happier than before”. This legend is depicted on numerous coins from the Roman period of the city of Smyrna.

Agora of Smyrna

Agora of Smyrna

The spring of Alexander the Great

The spring of Alexander the Great

Agora of Smyrna

Agora from the Greek Period

Agora from the Greek Period

Agora from the Greek Period

Agora from the Greek Period

Agora from the Greek Period

3. The Western Portico and the Faustina Gate

The Western Portico is one of the colonnaded galleries that surround the Agora courtyard. It was built in the Hellenistic period as a single-story building with two galleries and a basement. During the Roman period, it was transformed into a two-story building with three basement galleries using the vaulting technique. On the plinths stood granite columns bearing Corinthian marble capitals. Like all other buildings in Smyrna, it was damaged in the great earthquake of 177/178 AD. After the earthquake, the marble beams between the pillars of the ground floor were repaired and replaced. Realizing that this repair would be insufficient, the beams were supported by additional wall arches between the posts.

The Faustina Gate is located at the southern end of the West Portico, at the point where the street from the Port reaches the Agora. The gate takes its name from the portrait of the young Faustina, the wife of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. It is believed that the Smyrnenians built this monumental gate to express their gratitude to Marcus Aurelius, who supported the repairs of the city after the great earthquake. On the double-arched gate is the portrait of Empress Faustina on the keystone of the right arch, and the portrait of Marcus Aurelius on the left.

The Faustina Gate

Smyrna from the Roman Period

The West Portico

The West Portico

The West Portico

Agora from the Roman Period

Agora from the Roman Period

Agora from the Roman Period

Impression

Due to the discovery of so much archaeological evidence, this open air museum is an interesting one. The overall image that is created reproduces to a good extent the appearance of the basilica and the agora before and after the great earthquake of 177 / 178.

Visit Agora Ören Yeri! All the best!

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