Thinking European History and Culture

Ancient period in Çeşme, İzmir region

Smyrna is the ancient name of İzmır which is not only one of the earliest settlements but also one of the most beautiful cities of the Aegean Region.

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Turkey is considered to be one of the richest countries in terms of archaeology and is by far the biggest "open air museum" of the world. It has always been a bridge between the East and West and has been noted by scholars as the "melting pot" of various cultures where classical culture was shaped. From the first known urban city settlement of "Çatalhöyük" to the historically famous Troy and from the Ionians (the Anatolian Greeks) to the greatest empires of the world, the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman, many cultures were established and indeed flourished in and around this huge "melting pot".

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Troy was founded around 3000 BC, and played a major role in the importation of tin, vital for the production of bronze.

The Ere of Eastern Roman Empire

The era of Roman Empire is an essential chapter in the history of the region. In 330, Constantine, the Roman emperor, transferred his capital from Rome to Roman Empire. Roman Empire, at that time a small city founded 1,000 years earlier by Greeks on the shores of the Strait was henceforth called Constantinople. The centre of the Empire thereafter became the Orient, in particular Anatolia, inhabited by the descendants of Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Greeks and others. Roman Empire became the Eastern Roman Empire; its official religion was proclaimed to be Christianity in 380 and in 392 paganism was banned. In 476, Rome collapsed and Constantinople remained the sole capital of the empire. Roman Empire was both a state and a civilisation, built along the lines of the Roman state, the Greek culture and the Christian faith. The emperor enjoyed divine power and relied heavily on the Church.

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As described by Victor Hugo: “İzmir… a princess with a beautiful necklace on her neck”, along the waterfront, tourists and locals alike enjoy the gentle touch of Aegean breezes while watching thousands of colors blend together as the sun sets over İzmir’s bay.

(Content copied from the presentation during the first mobility)