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A Greek word, Agora, has meanings such as “gathered place, city square, the marketplace, market place”. It is known that in ancient times, the city was the focal point of the city, where art was concentrated and many social events took place, as well as the commercial, political and religious functions of the agoras. In ancient times, there is at least one agora in every city. In some big cities, there were usually two agoras. One of them is the state agora, where state affairs are held and various public buildings are gathered, and the other is the trade agora, where commercial activities are concentrated.
Izmir agora, BC. It was founded on the northern slope of Pagos (Kadifekale), where the ancient Smyrna City was moved in the 4 the century. Surrounded by important public buildings of the period, this building is the city’s state agora.
Most of the ruins that survived to the present day in the agora, which was founded in the Hellenistic Period, were found in the A.D. It belongs to the Roman agora, which was rebuilt with the support of Emperor Marcus Aurelius after the 178 earthquakes.
Smyrna agora is a building planned in a rectangular form, surrounded by a wide courtyard in the middle and colonnaded galleries (stoa). The north and west stoa unearthed by excavations rise above the basement. The north stoa is a basilica in terms of plan features.
Izmir Turkey Tourist Attractions, Basilicas are structured with a plan designed as wide and high in the middle and narrow and low parallel corridors on the sides. The Basilica of the Roman Period, leading the Christian churches in terms of plan features, is a kind of courthouse where the legal works of the city are performed. On the other hand, basilicas were also preferred for the activities of the merchants and bankers who guide the commercial life of the city. Located in the north wing of the agora, the basilica has a rectangular plan measuring 165 x 28 m from outside to outside. In terms of dimensions, the Smyrna agora basilica is the largest known Roman Basilica. Cross vaults on the east and west ends of the magnificent basement that survived are among the most beautiful examples of Roman Period architecture.
On the north side of the basilica, two monumental gates opening to the basement were completely exposed today on the west side. Towards the end of the Roman Period, the rows of vaulted shops that show that the state agora started to gain a commercial meaning, were brought to light on the north side of the basilica.
The western stoa, consisting of naves (gallery) separated by three rows of columns, was also rising in a basement like a basilica. Nowadays, it is understood that the western stoa with arched basement floors was a two-story building that rose above the basement in the ancient period. The ground floor and the wood-based second floor, with three rows of steps, were places where people strolled in the Antiquity, protecting them from rain and sun. The cisterns, which were probably built at the end of the Roman period by building some walls of the basement galleries, have survived as the best example of this. The first floor columns on the facade of the western stoa facing the courtyard were lifted in the 1940s. These columns, whose architectural faults are detected, and the ground on which they reside are restored with the contributions of IZTO.
Faustina Gate and Ancient Street
One of the parallel streets in the east-west direction of the city of Smyrna with a grid plan was passing through the agora. There is a magnificent door where the street, which divides the agora into two equal parts, enters the agora from the west side. The portrait relief of Faustina, the wife of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, is located in the center of the northern arch of the door, which is thought to be two-eyed. The second eye under the street that is in use today is probably the portrait of Marcus Aurelius. Since these two names rebuilt the agora, which was destroyed by the earthquake in A.D.178, Smyrna people paid their loyalty through this door. The arched door, which was repaired with erroneous measures in the 1940s, was restored in 2004 in accordance with its original.
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Graffiti with wall paintings and writings from the Roman Period was made on the basilica basement wall and plaster on the arch legs. Apart from those drawn with an ink mixture of Iron and Oak Root, there are also examples made by scraping. Graffitis give very important information especially about daily social life in the Roman period. It has been determined that graffiti include many different topics from love games to gladiator struggles, sexual sailing pictures, beloved names, birds, ships, riddles. It is possible to watch in the city slogans, which are seen in graffiti, that the rivalry between three cities, Pergamon, Ephesos, and Smyrna, which shined the star of Western Anatolia during the Roman Period, even among the people. The graffitis unearthed in the basilica basement of Smyrna Agora are unique in many respects. First of all, these finds are also the oldest graffiti made with a material containing iron and oak root. On the other hand, in World Antiquity research,