Tourist attractions of Izmir - unlike Istanbul, there's not a lot that immediately jumps to mind when planning a trip to Izmir. However, we were there for six days and, thanks to the tips given to us by a couple of Turkish friends, we more than occupied our time and, in doing so, fell for the city!
There is one historic attraction that most people know about and we almost felt duty-bound to go and see it to take photos of it. Izmir Saat Kulesi (Izmir Clock Tower) is the symbol of the city and arguably its most famous sight. We felt we couldn't ignore it, and so, we went off in search of it.
Izmir saat kulesiWe didn't have to look far. A gentle stroll along Izmir's refreshingly breezy seafront from our apartment in Alsancak and, half an hour later, we came across Konak Square and the clock tower centrepiece. Built in the early 1900s during the Ottoman period, it's an ornate construction that in days gone by would have commanded attention, but when you view it from the sea, it almost gets lost in the mix of modern buildings that surround it.
The modern and the historic of Izmir
But that's what we loved about Izmir. It's what we love about cities: a mix of the historic and the modern - and sometimes, it's a happy mix. Other times, you can only stop and stare and let the mind boggle as to why someone thought it was a good idea to locate that particular building in that particular place.
Water fountains surround the base of the towerAnd so it is with the saat kulesi. It faces the sea and stands proudly in the centre of Konak Square; quite a sight when you look at it with the sea as your backdrop...And then to either side of it is the angular block that serves as the main city council building and a 1970s-style precinct. The whole scene isn't easy on the eye. For a split second, your eyes have to do a search for the famous symbol of the city - but somehow for us, Izmir gets away with it. The city commands that you fall for its charms - and we willingly obeyed.
Izmir Saat Kulesi may be the symbol of Izmir, but there's much more to this Aegean city than its clock tower. Before deciding on our trip, the clock tower was where most of our travel knowledge of the city started and ended. By the time we left - and looking back now - it made up just a tiny part of our Izmir experience.