A result of excavations carried out on the Yeslova Mound, located in the sub-district of Bornova on the eastern side of the Bay of Izmir, it has become clear that Izmir's past goes back 8500 years. The first city to be called Smyrna was founded on a peninsula on the northern shore of the bay. This city appears in Hittite texts as Tismurna.
Two basic sources of western culture are the epics known as the Iliad and the Odyssey, creations of the poet Homer. Studies of the dialect and language style that he used have led to the conclusion that Homer was from Smyrna.
While sciences such as mathematics, astronomy and philosophy flourished in the fertile geography of Western Anatolia, the city of Smyrna at Bayraki also acquired considerable wealth and importance particularly in the Archaic period but for various reasons this settlement declined towards the end of the 4"century B.C and it became necessary to move the city elsewhere.
The Agora that you are now visiting was part of the new site on Mt Pagos (presently called Kadifekale) and its slopes. With its position commanding both the bay and the highways, its easy defensibility and sale harbor, this area was a fitting place for the city of New Smyrna.
In ancient times the founding of a city was generally identified
with a hero
or a legend. The re-founding of Smyrna was attributed to Alexander the Great. There is so far no written or archaeological proof that the Macedonian king visited Smyrna when, in the course of his Asian Campaign, he made a journey from Sardis (the present-day Sart near Salihli) to Ephesus (present-day Selçuk). However Pausanius, a geographer and
traveler of the 2nd century A.D, relates that Alexander came to the slopes of Mt Pagos (Kadifekale) to hunt, that he fell asleep under a plane tree by a spring in front of the Temple of Nemesis, and that in his dream he saw the two goddesses Nemesis (the
goddesses of divine retribution and revenge), who commanded him to found a city in that spot and move the people there from the former site.
According to the legend the Smyrnaeans asked advice about this command of the goddesses from the famous oracle of Apollo at Claros (present day Ahmetbeyli/Menderes). Apollo answered that "those who live on Pagos (Kadifekale) beyond the Sacred Meles (today's
Yesildere stream ?) will be three and four times happier than before." This legend is depicted on very numerous coins of Roman Period Smyrna. (2)