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Izmir is a city on Turkey’s Aegean coast. Known as Smyrna in antiquity, it was founded by the Greeks, taken over by the Romans and rebuilt by Alexander the Great before becoming part of the OttomanEmpire in the 15th century. Today, its expansive archaeological sites include the Roman Agora of Smyrna, now an open-air museum. The hilltop Kadifekale, or Velvet Castle, built during Alexander’s reign, overlooks the city.
Kemeraltı, the bazaar district, is home to Hisar Mosque, dating to the 1500s, and the Kızlarağası Han, a market in a restored caravanserai. Konak is a neighborhood centered on Konak Square and its 1901 marble clocktower. Konak's Kordon waterfront promenade, with outdoor cafes and bars, is a popular gathering place. Nearby, a customs house designed by Gustave Eiffel has been converted into an upscale mall. Religious sites range from 19th-century synagogues to the muraled Church of St. Polycarp.