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Stroll along the Gulf of Izmir soaking up a Mediterranean breeze and you’ll be left wondering why Izmir isn’t a more well-known name. Though it might run to the energy of a humble port town it is actually the third largest city in Turkey, with a population of over 4-million. Spend time getting acquainted with the city’s 10 diverse urban districts, catching the metro and rail around neighbourhoods like Balçova and Buca, Karabağlar and Konak. November to March are often wet and cool but summer days are long and sunny, inviting travellers to spend many days baking on Long Beach beside the Aegean Sea. Izmir’s heartbeat is found at the historical Clock Tower of the harbourfront Konak Square, where you can watch Turkish life go by before strolling to the museum of modern art and opera house located within Ege University. When a few lazy days have been spent sifting through treasures at Kemeralti Market and exploring the city’s museums like the Atatürk and the Art and Sculpture museum, it will be time to take some trips beyond the boundaries of the city. The ancient city of Ephesus should be first on the agenda, where you can witness the remains of a library and temple built in the 10th Century BC. Ephesus can be followed by the Şifne mud baths and hot springs, where you can simmer in the mineral rich 55 degree water known as the ‘fountain of the Aegean’. Spending time under Persian, Roman and Ottoman rule, Izmir is a city with limitless history and cultural vibrancy, making it a must-visit when travelling through the magnificent country of Turkey.
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