ANCIENT TIMES IN SMYRNA
History Of Kemeralti, Kemeraltı Bazaar, no doubt, is the most mysterious and exciting place in Izmir. Kemeraltı Bazaar has a different air. Crowded, excited but always colorful … Thanks to its strategic location, gaining the reputation the most important commercial center in Izmir, Kemeraltı is like an open-air museum that has been there for hundreds of years. At the same time, it has the reputation of being the biggest open Bazaar in the whole World.
Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar, whose borders start from Mezarlıkbaşı & Izmir Anafartalar Street, and includes Konak Square, gained its appearance after landfill over the sea at 1650. Even though when Kemeraltı is pronounced, lots of people think thousands of people shopping in a rush, as soon as you start walking in the streets of Kemeraltı which look like a big and a complicated maze, you’d see that it’s full of mysteries and it has the traces of a unique history … But before coming to our present day, let’s see the historical process which created Kemeraltı’s today…
ONCE UPON A TIME IN SMYRNA …
The statues of Demeter the Goddess of Fertility with her beautiful hair, the God of sea Poseidon, and the Goddess of pure light Artemis which were found after the excavations done in Izmir Agora whisper us the reason of fertility in trade-in Aegean: Earth, sea, and the perfect balance of pure light… Thus Aegean has been a host for glorious civilizations, at the same time been attacked by numerous clans.
Thanks to its protected harbor, Smyrna ‘’Izmir’’ has been a major element in commerce between Asia and Europe, also thanks to its fertile lands and strategic position played a big role in the development of sea commerce. For all those things counted, it had become the city of most important civilizations like Iskender, Ionia, Lidya, Karia, Roma, Byzantine, and the last Ottoman Empire.
Kemeraltı Bazaar’s history goes back to the Byzantine Empire. According to the references, the most important element that created Kemeraltı is the Izmir Harbour Castle that was constructed by Byzantines during 12. Century. Built both to maintain the inner security of harbour and protect the city Izmir ‘’Smyrna’’ with its old name against attacks from outside, Izmir Harbour Castle became home to Sultans, Civilizations and religions… Neon Kastron, Castle Of Genoa, Castrum Smyrnarum, Castle Of St. Petros, Le Chateau, Hafen Katell, Kal’ an Izmir-i did are the most important names that Izmir Harbour Castle took during its history. Izmir Harbour Castle which was constructed to provide security to the city played a major role in the creation of Kemeraltı Bazaar.
According to a legend, famous Aegean philosopher Aristotales told Alexander The Great ‘’if you don’t see Smyrna, you’ll be missing a piece’’. Because Izmir which lots of clans tried to possess during history had always been the center of an area where philosophy, poetry, and art flourish.
Many poems were written for Izmir which had inspired lots of poets.