Smyrna

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Smyrna (Ancient Greek: Σμύρνη or Σμύρνα) was an ancient city located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. Thanks to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defence and its good inland connections, Smyrna rose to prominence. The ancient city is located at two sites within modern Izmir, Turkey. While the first site, likely to have started as a native foundation, rose to prominence during the Archaic Period as one of the principal ancient Greek settlements in western Anatolia, the second, whose foundation is associated with Alexander the Great, reached metropolitan proportions especially during the period of the Roman Empire, from which time and particularly from after a 2nd century AD earthquake, most of the present-day remains date.

In practical terms, a distinction is often made between Old Smyrna, the initial settlement founded around the 11th century BC, first as an Aeolian settlement, and later taken over and developed during the Archaic Period by the Ionians, and Smyrna proper, the new city moved into from the older one as of the 4th century BC and whose foundation was inspired, and perhaps also initiated, by Alexander the Great. Old Smyrna was located on a small peninsula connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus at the northeastern corner of the inner Gulf of İzmir, at the edge of a fertile plain and at the foot of Mount Yamanlar which had seen the earlier Anatolian settlement commanding the gulf. New Smyrna developed simultaneously on the slopes of the Mount Pagos (Kadifekale today) and alongside the coastal strait immediately below where a small bay existed until the 18th century. The core of the late Hellenistic and early Roman Smyrna forms today the large area of İzmir Agora Open Air Museum at this site. Research is being pursued at the sites of both the old and the new cities in a continuous manner and in a regionalized structure, since 1997 for Old Smyrna and since 2002 for the Classical Period city, in collaboration between İzmir Archaeology Museum and the Metropolitan Municipality of İzmir.[1]

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