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What You Need To Know About The Izmir Agora Open Air Museum

The Izmir Agora Open Air Museum is located in Basmane. It is open every day from 8 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon in the wintertime and 9-7 the rest of the year. The nearest metro service can be found at Cankaya. An entrance ticket costs TL5.

You will find the museum in the center of Izmir very close to Anafartalar Caddesi. It is only a short walk to the local bazaar, and it is also easy to visit the Greco-Roman marketplace and the remains of the Agora. This is an area that was once enclosed on three sides by porticoed stoas. On the fourth side, it was shielded by a basilica which was also used as a court of law.

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Interestingly, on one side of the Agora, a few of the pillars have been re-erected above some underground galleries that are quite extensive. These were designed for the purpose of conveying water throughout the city. There are some areas of these galleries that can be explored. Unfortunately, the areas that are reputed to boast interesting graffiti are not accessible. It is possible that these galleries were once an underground bazaar.

It is believed that the Agora dates back to the fourth century Before Christ (BC). Be that as it may, it only took its final form sometime in the second century or the third century After Death (AD). From this point, it continued to be used as the main market for some three or four centuries.
Underneath the Kemeralti bazaar you will find harbor access on the west side. This is the area that once was the Gate of Faustina. The harbor can also be accessed from North Avenue in the area that is now called Anafartalar Caddesi. It is believed that a portrait of Faustina (Marcus Aurelius’ wife) once graced the gate of Faustina. Marcus Aurelius was instrumental in helping to with the rebuilding of the city following a massive earthquake in 178 A.D.

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In the central area, you will find a number of pillars and other examples of masonry that may be reassembled one day. If and when this happens, we will have a far better idea of the way that this ancient civilization looked in its heyday. Toward the rear of the Agora, you will find some gravestones that have survived from the time when an Ottoman cemetery was located above the ruins.

When you look up towards the rear of the site, you can see what is left of the Kadifekale (a.k.a.: Velvet Castle) which presides over the site. Along one side, you will find the rubble that remains of the house known as Sabetay Sev. This rubble is being restored, and will someday be used as a museum. There are mixed feelings surrounding this possibility.

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