The geographer and traveller Strabo, writing in the 1st century B.C., stated that the city was constructed by two of Alexander's commanders, Antigonus and Lysimachus. In the Hellenistic and Roman periods, thanks to its perfect location, the city developed quickly and became one of the most important of Anatolia. Strabo praised the city as being "the most beautiful" of the cities of his own time and mentions that it had a regular plan (a grid plan).
Particularly during the Roman period Smyrna was a highly-developed city capable of competing with Ephesus and Pergamon. For the cities of the Roman Empire, the right to build a temple dedicated to the cult of the Emperor was extremely important. This right (conferring the title of "Neocorus") was given to Smyrna three times. Coins of the city (4) and certain inscriptions found in the Agora (5) bear witness to this prestigious situation.
Although very many cities were abandoned at the end of Antiquity, Smyrna has been settled right up to our own day thanks to its position commanding the bay and to its harbor. Structures and traces of the ancient city can be followed at various points in the center of Izmir. Today the inner citadel (Kadifekale), the agora, the bouleuterium (city council building), the theatre and a small section of the
fortification walls, together with the aqueducts that brought water to ancient Smyrna, can still be seen in the modern city or under or between later structures (3).
In addition, underneath the modern Kemer bridge, an earlier one that was used from Antiquity right up to the end of the Ottoman period has been discovered in good condition. (6) This bridge was at the beginning of the road linking Smyrna to the cities of Pergamum (modern Bergama), Phocaea (modern Foça) and Magnesia ad Sipylum (modern Manisa) on the north. Other than these, in the light of ancient sources and of the works of travellers who came to the city between the 17th and the 19th centuries and depicted the ancient ruins here, the approximate locations of the stadium, the Zeus Akraius Temple and two city gates (the Magnesian and the Ephesian Gates)are known. It has been suggested that the city had two harbors, one military and the other commercial. The main harbor is accepted to have been located at the place of the modern Kemeralti neighborhood. (3).