Smyrna (Tepekule-Bayrakli)

Old Izmir City (Smyrna) was built on a small island which was northeast of the bay. In the following years, the alluvion drfiting with rain, coming from Sipylos Mountain created Today’s Bornova and that small island  became a hill. Today, on this hill there is the vineyard whicj belong to Tekel Vine & Beer Company.

The excavations show that first settlements in Izmir date back to 7000 B.C. Although it’s estimated the history of Old Smyrna in Bayrakli  goes even deeper than 3000 B.C., the foundlings go only till 3000 B.C. From these excavations, we get to the information that, first houses had been constructed 3-5 metres above sea limit. The first settlement had developped in this part in Early Bronze Age.

Durin Iron Age, Izmir (Smyrna) houses were (small or big it didn’t matter) built as one room constructions. The oldest house which was found dates back between 925 B.S. and 900 B.S. This house was found well protected (2,45 x 4 m.), walls made of puddled clay (mudbrick), roof made of reeds.

Old Izmir folk had tried to protect their city with a puddled clay rampart 850 B.S. It can be said that from this date on, Old Izmir had gained a state identity. Also eventhough not for sure, it’s estimated that an overlord named ”Basileus” was controlling the city. The Lords with their families who were handling the immigrations, and the Notables formed The Nobility. The inner city population was around 1000 people. A bigger number of the folk was living outside the city, in the villages. In those villages people occupied with agriculture (olive cultuvation, vineyard cultivation, citrus cultivation, …), handcrafts, and fishing.

Athena Temple was the holliest structure of the time. The remains of this Temple which make it to our day, date back to 725-700 B.S. The years between 650-545 B.S. were the bright era of Smyrna. This period which lasted more or less 100 years formed the most strongest era of Ion Empire. In this period Smyrna was not only succesful in agriculture but also made big achievements in Mediterranean commerce.

All this enrichment, started with proliferation of writing 650 B.S. Also concerning those times, scripts about presents which were offered to Goddess Athena are found during the excavations made still today. Athena Temple 650-580 B.S. is the oldest architectural work belonging East Hellenistic Period. Concerning that period the oldest and the most beautiful column headings till today are found in Izmir.

In the 7th century, Smyrna was grid street planned. Streets and avenues were lieying from north to south and east to west, and mostly, houses were looking south.

This city plan which would take the name ”Hippodamos” in 5 B.S. had already been known in near east. Bayraklı City Plan is the earliest example of this in western world. The oldest parquet street of Ionian Empire is found in old Smyrna in Bayraklı.

The oldest civil architecture work of Hellenistic Period is a stone fountain which was constructed in 7th century is also found in old Smyrna. Tantalos Cript which is on the Yamanlar Mountain is also a good example of monumental cript.


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