Izmir village Metropolis,
Izmir village Metropolis,Torbalı, which is 45 kilometers from Izmir, is surrounded in the east by Bayındır and Tire, by Menderes in the west, by Selçuk in the south and Kemalpaşa in the north. The borough, which is located in the south of Izmir, is situated in the northwest of Küçük Menderes Basin. The north of the borough is surrounded by the southern extension of Nif Mountain and the western extensions of Mahmut Mountain and the rest of the areas are the continuation of Küçük Menderes Plain. Torbalı attracts the attention of local and foreign tourists with historical sites such as Metropolis and Nif Mountain, old stone houses in mountain villages, schools that were built during the reign of Abdülhamid II, mosques and fountains. Metropolis antique city which was named a ruin site and the Nif Mountain region where excavation continue, are expected to change the fate of the borough. Torbalı, which is close to touristic centers such as Selçuk and Kuşadası, also has a potential to get shares from daily tourism. From Triyanna to Torbalı It is believed that the name of Torbalı came from Metropolis or Triyanna.
Research suggests that the first settlement in Torbalı on the fruitful lands of Küçük Menderes Basin, was established in 3000 B.C. in the region between Ephesus (Selçuk), Smyrna (İzmir), Colophon (Değirmendere), Nation (Ahmetbeyli) and Nif (Kemalpaşa) antique cities. The region, which developed in 2500 B.C. with Metropolis and reached its most glorious sate in 7th century B.C. during the Lydia period, was settled during the Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze ages and ruled by civilizations such as Phrygia, Persia, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottomans. Torbalı became a Turkish town in 1390 when the son of Yıldırım Beyazıd was sent to Aydın as a governor and Torbalı was registered as a unit affiliated with Izmir. Torbalı became a town of the Ottoman State in 1425 when Sultan Çelebi Mehmet conquered Izmir. It is invaded by enemy troops for 40 months during WW1. After the Turkish War of Independence, the city of Aydın is divided and the city of Izmir is established. Torbalı becomes a town of Izmir and finally a municipal borough in 1927 The City of the Main Goddess Metropolis Metropolis, located on the 52nd kilometer of the İzmir–Aydın Highway, built on a hill between Yeniköy and Özbey neighborhoods, is referred to as an Ionian city by antique writers. It is believed that Metropolis means the City of the Main Goddess from the cult caves on Alaman Mountain and city epigraphs. Many terracotta figures dedicated to the Mother Goddess found in cult caves in the city proves that the name Metropolis means the City of the Main Goddess.
The city overlooks Küçük Menderes Plain. The river and plain have kept the city alive for many centuries. Antique writers and historians claim that the vineyards in Metropolis were famous and that the wines made with these grapes contributed greatly to the economy of the city. In addition, the city was famous for its olive and olive oil production. Buildings and artworks unearthed during excavations prove just how strong an economy the city had. Traces of the first settlement in Metropolis were located after works at Dedecik-Heybelitepe. Earliest findings in the settlement one kilometer in the south of Metropolis have been dated to the Late Neolithic/Early Chalcolithic period. Obsidian tools that were found in this area are thought to have been made with raw materials brought over from Melos Island. Bademgediği Hill, located 7 kilometers to the north of the city, is an important center that yields information from all three stages of the Bronze Age.
The settlement, which has five layers, is thought to be Puranda, a city mentioned in Hittite sources. Known as an episcopacy center The acropolis of Metropolis, surrounded by strong walls, was built in the 3rd century in accordance with the modern urbanization techniques of the era. The city became rich in 2nd century B.C. with the help of the Pergamum Kingdom. The theatre, stoa, and bouleuterion clearly show the richness of the city. Roman historian Plinius shows Metropolis as the trial center of Ephesus in 1st century B.C. According to historian Appianos, Metropolis was ruled by Mithridates for a short time in 86 B.C. just like Ephesus, Tralleis and Hypaipa. With Roman Emperor Augustus, peace came to the region and the positive effects are felt by Metropolis.
The glamour period that continued until the Tiberius Period ended after an earthquake in 17 A.D. The city is rebuilt at the start of 18th century A.D. After 3rd century A.D., recession starts and continues until 6th century when Metropolis becomes an episcopacy center. The Byzantine Church at Araplıtepe region must have the episcopacy church as of 6th century A.D. When Turks became powerful in Anatolia, the Byzantines started building more defensive structures. The Byzantine Castle built in Metropolis was probably constructed during the Laskaris period or renovated heavily. In addition, coins belonging to Seljuk rulers I. İzzettin Keykâvus and Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev were found in the Byzantine Church in Araplıtepe.
Ottoman sources mention a castle named Kızılhisar near Torbalı and this is probably the Metropolis Castle. The old Byzantine castle was used for a while during the Ottoman period but settlement here was abandoned after peace was restored in the region and settlement moved to the plain where Torbalı stands today. Excavations began in 1990 With the start of excavations in Metropolis in 1990, works geared towards understanding the Hellenistic structure were carried out. The theatre, bouleuterion and stoa of the city were unearthed. Metropolis Theatre, built into the main rock, was constructed during the Hellenistic period. It is a 4000 capacity theatre with a single walkway.According to archeological findings, the theatre also hosted social and religious events besides plays. Some changes were made to the stage and orchestra pit during the Roman period. The Hellenistic stage was expanded and the base of the orchestra pit was decorated with white-blue marbles.
Geometric shaped frescoes were uncovered on the walls of the large structure adjacent to the theatre and two panels of mosaics made with colorful stones on its base. The center of the main mosaic depicts Dionysus, his wife Ariadne and some mythological characters. Figures were designed as four portraits that symbolize the four seasons. Since the side panel includes figures such as comedy and tragedy masks, fish and birds, it is believed that this structure was a reception hall associated with the theatre. Bouleuterions were senate buildings in the antique age where decision about the city were made. The Metropolis Bouleuterion has a near square form with 16,90 x 17,70 meter measurements. The 400 capacity meeting hall is divided into two with steps. Round formed bleachers were arranged in the shape of a horseshoe, just like in antique theatres. The southern walls of the Byzantine Castle, built in the 13th century, pass over the senate building. Another structure that was built in 2nd century B.C. is the stoa. Stoas, which were built to provide shelter from rain and sun, were used during religious ceremonies, political meetings and cultural activities. The stoa in Metropolis is 67 meters long and 10 meters wide. The roof of the structure is carried on two Doric type columns.
The area referred to as the middle city that hosted official buildings was planned as three terraces and includes steps and streets that intersect. There is a bath structure at the lower terrace. Current works Second term works that began in 2007 concentrated on the Roman Empire period in Metropolis. It seems that the city widened its borders in 2nd and 3rd century A.D. after a growing population and public works accelerated. In the 2008 excavation season, the house with a courtyard that was found during the works to research the connection of the theatre and the city center, shed light on the civic life in the city. The square planned large courtyard in the middle was furnished with marble plaques and bordered with four rows of columns. The spaces that surrounded the peristyle have colorful plasters and rich relics and this proves that the house belonged to a rich local who lived during the Roman period.
A tomb that was found in the northeast of the house dated between 150 and 145 B.C. suggests that this could have been the necropolis of the city. In fact, Hellenistic tombs were found at the same place and the theatre area, carved into the main rock. After examining the skeleton, it was proven that the skeleton belonged to a young women around the age of 25. 41 terracotta urns were found around the skeleton. Two gold roves that had the head of Apollo and a bee relief found around the skull were probably on the body’s eyes. A pair of gold earrings found near the skull, bronze mirrors and none/silver cosmetic spoons show just how important looks were centuries ago. For the past 7 years, most important works in Metropolis are being carried out in the bath and paleastra. This complex, which attracts attention with its rich mosaics, shows that Metropolis grew in terms of population and size during the Roman period. Works have concentrated in this area in recent years and it has been proven that the city was enlarged in three stages The area with a wall remain located at the space where the slope settlement met the plain was known as the collapsed inn by the locales. Excavations began here in 2003 to examine the ruin and its surroundings. A large vault and tubes connected to a hypocaust system found in 2004 proved that the structure in this area was an imperial type therme. Geophysical works were carried out in the area after these findings and it was discovered that architectural structures affiliated with this building encompassed a large area. Works were carried out at this area and the structure became a focal point of the excavation. Between 2009 and 2012, the main rooms of the bath, pools the 40×40 meter palestra and porticoes with mosaics around the palestra were uncovered. An epigraph dedicated to Emperor Antonius were found on the architrave blocks in the porticoes written in ancient Greek. During excavations between 2012 and 2014, service corridors that surround the pools of the bath and the cold room covered with colorful marbles were discovered. These researches also proved that the city was in harmony with the Hellenistic grid plan. In the 2015 dig season, a cult area built for Zeus for determined at Metropolis antique city. The area in the center of the city which was recorded as the first and only temple of the city has yielded important archeological findings even though excavations haven’t begun yet. The excavation site is in front of the rocky part of the acropolis that looks to the north. Works began around the architectural blocks on the surface and spread from there. Columns with epigraphs, a part of an altar and the base of a statue were found on the dig site.
After examining the epigraphs, it was discovered that this area was a temple built for Zeus. Even though the epigraphs mention temples for Hera and Ares, none of them were found so the discovery of the Zeus Temple in Metropolis was recorded as a huge find. After the Metropolis Ruin Site Visitor Center and Route Project was completed in 2015, the city was officially named a ruin site. The project was initiated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Museums General Directorate. Nif Mountain Excavation Nif (Olympus) Mountain is located in the east of Izmir Bay. Kemalpaşa Plain is to its north, Karabel Strait is to its east and Torbalı Plain is located to its south. Surface researches and excavations have proven that Nif Mountain hosted various cultures. Even though most of the remains are from the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods, ceramics found on the surface have been dated from 8th century to 13th century B.C. Excavations have also unearthed the foundation of an unknown settlement in Karamattepe dated to 6th century BC. Some researchers who worked in and around Izmir in the past have only mentioned castles and a cave with frescoes and never mentioned tombs in the necropolis or large Byzantine structures. Archeological digs at Nif Mountain began in September 1, 2006 and are headed by Prof. Dr. Elif Tül Tulunay from Istanbul University with permission from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and support from the Istanbul University Scientific Research Projects Unit and the Ministry of Culture’s Current Capital General Directorate.
Remains from a geometric/archaic settlement, tombs dates to the Hellenistic period and a Laskaris period church were found during the excavations on Nif Mountain. Necropolises in Karamattepe and Dağkızılca which include ClassicHellenistic tombs associated with the inhumation and cremation traditions are great areas for the search of tomb types and burial traditions. Metal items found in Karamattepe and various arrow heads give us clues about war tools technology in the 6-4th centuries B.C. Scientific works on the mountain enable us to learn about the cultures that settled in the region. Interesting ceramics that were found intact during excavations, wellpreserved Hellenistic coins from different regions, various bronze and iron arrowheads, a half preserved glass bowl and a com made from bone is enough to open a Nif Mountain Excavation Showcase at the Izmir Archeology Museum and works have begun to make that happen. Nif Mountain has a huge potential for culture and nature tourism and the Nif Mountain Research and Excavation Project is expected to contribute greatly to the country’s economy. In addition, conferences are organzied to introduce archeology to locals, who are also employed at the dig site. We are also telling them about the opportunities the area will offer to tourism and urge them to protect our cultural assets. “the Nif Mountain Research and Excavation Project is expected to contribute greatly to the country’s economy.
Hippodrome Mansion Building The structure located at Torbalı center and built during the reign of II. Abdülhamid, is known as Hippodrome. Oak trees on the compound, which was bought by II. Abdülhamid from a Greek citizen named Baltacı Dimyos were gifted to the sultan by Alfonso 12, King of Spain. Evliyazade Refik Bey was rewarded by the sultan in 1894 after building a race track at the compound. The structure, which is known as the observation terrace of Abdülhamid, has two floors, stone floors and a wooden carcass interior support skeleton. Out walls are hoarded rubble while interior walls are made with lath and plaster. Only the northern walls of the second floor still stands. The ground floor was built with hoarded stone and plastered. There are four entrances on the ground floor and a fifth entrance on the upper floor with wooden stairs. Stones, bricks and wood were used as support and filling materials. Turkish tiles were used for the roof. The outer walls were not plastered. The northern entrance of the structure is swankier than the rest. The keystones of the arches are decorated with moon and star motifs. Windows have wrought iron grids. corners motifs made from green andesite stone adorn the corners of the structure. The building was restored by the Municipality of Torbalı. Ideal for nature and hunting tourism The land, climate and flora of Torbalı, besides its historical assets, are ideal for nature tourism and the shelter of hunting animals. That is why there are many hunting animals in the area. If this potential is advertised, more tourists will come to the borough.
Dağtekke village heals The healing water in Dağtekke Quarter, 70 kilometers from Izmir and 25 kilometers from Torbalı, eliminates metals. The water, which is used in the treatment of kidney stones, arthritis and diabetes, has healed many people. The neighborhood is also an ideal place to spend time in nature. The Municipality of Torbalı aims to include Dağtekke, famous for its nature, clean air, healing water and organic products, in tourism with its Rural Tourism Project. Caves have great potential in tourism According to the results of the research carried out by the Aegean Cave Researches and Preservation Association with support from the Izmir Development Agency, Torbalı is one of the boroughs that hosts the most caves. The caves around Özbey village have a great potential in tourism The most interesting cave among these is Uyuzdere Cave near Metropolis antique city. Various historical jugs and bowls were found in the cave which is believed to be used as a settlement during the Roman period. Dümbelek Cave, Maden Cave, Onyx Cave, İncirli Cave, Beşikçi Cave, Güvercinli Cave and Sarı Kristal Cave are the other caves in the borough. Traditional camel wrestling festival The traditional camel wrestling festival, organzied every year by the Municipality of Torbalı, attracts the attention of local and foreign tourists. The colorful festival includes many activities such as the show of a Janissary Band.