Smyrna-Tepekule-Bayraklı

Smyrna (Tepekule-Bayrakli)

Old Izmir City (Smyrna) was built on a small island that was northeast of the bay. In the following years, the alluvion drifting 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 which belong to Tekel Vine & Beer Company.

The excavations show that the 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 meters above sea limit. The first settlement had developed in this part in the Early Bronze Age.

During 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), a 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 even though 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 folk were living outside the city, in the villages. In those villages, people occupied with agriculture (olive cultivation, vineyard cultivation, citrus cultivation, …), handcrafts, and fishing.

Athena Temple was the holiest 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 strongest era of the Ion Empire. In this period Smyrna was not only successful in agriculture but also made big achievements in Mediterranean commerce.

All this enrichment started with the proliferation of writing 650 B.S. Also concerning those times, scripts about presents that 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 lying 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 the near east. Bayraklı City Plan is the earliest example of this in the western world. The oldest parquet street of the Ionian Empire is found in old Smyrna in Bayraklı.

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

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