The legendary female warriors, the Amazons, founded Izmir, or Smyrna as it was called in ancient times, according to one story. Alternatively, according to another tale, the Lelegs established it. The city is located on the Aegean Coast in the west of Turkey, and is the biggest and most important settlement in the Aegean Region. Izmir, which has managed to modernize whilst preserving its archaeological and historical assets, is an important trade centre, because of its port which is the second largest in Turkey. The diversity of activities and resources that Izmir is able to provide makes it a very attractive area for tourism. It boasts both spas with healing thermal waters, and the deep blue sea with beaches displaying the safety symbol of the blue flag.
The city, known as "beautiful Izmir" in Turkey, is located at the start of a long and narrow gulf, decorated with yachts, passenger ships and gulf steamers. Its geographical location means that Izmir enjoys a Mediterranean climate plus natural beauty, a rich cultural and historical heritage, beaches, thermal waters and spas. It has a warm climate and the cooling sea breeze in the summer takes away the burning heat of the sun. Izmir, which enjoys a special cultural and historical identity, is the third largest city in Turkey. It boasts a rich cuisine, featuring grapes, figs, olives, citrus fruits and seafood, as well as the legacies left by civilizations over thousands of years.
The whole of the coastal road is enchanting. The districts of Alsancak and Karşıyaka are areas offering great opportunities to meet the locals in the many restaurants, cafes and along walking paths. Moreover,Izmir enjoys a well-deserved reputation due to sights and ruins such as Bergama (Pergamon), Çeşme, Foça, Kemalpaşa, Selçuk, Tire and Urla, which are outstanding in terms of the richness of their natural and historical assets.
Having a total land area of 11,973 km2, Izmir is composed of the following districts: Aliağa, Balçova, Bayındır, Bergama, Beydağ, Bornova, Buca, Çeşme, Çiğli, Dikili, Foça, Gaziemir, Güzelbahçe, Karaburun, Karşıyaka, Kemalpaşa, Kınık, Kiraz, Konak, Menderes, Menemen, Narlıdere, Ödemiş, Seferihisar, Selçuk, Tire, Torbalı and Urla.