The period after the 1960s and the 1970s saw another blow to İzmir's tissue - as serious as the 1922 fire for many inhabitants - when local administrations tended to neglect İzmir's traditional values and landmarks. Some administrators were not always in tune with the central government in Ankara and regularly fell short of subsidies, and the city absorbed huge immigration waves from Anatolian inland causing a population explosion. Today it is not surprising to see many inhabitants of İzmir (in line with natives of such other prominent Turkish cities as Istanbul, Bursa, Adana and Mersin) look back to a cozier and more manageable city, which came to an end in the last few decades, with nostalgia. The Floor Ownership Law of 1965 (Kat Mülkiyeti Kanunu), allowing and encouraging arrangements between house or land proprietors and building contractors in which each would share the benefits in rent of 8-floor apartment blocks built in the place of the former single house, proved especially disastrous for the urban landscape.
İzmir is also home to Turkey's second largest Jewish community after Istanbul, still 2,500 strong. The community is still concentrated in their traditional quarter of Karataş. The most famous figures the Jewish community of İzmir has produced are Sabbatai Zevi and Darío Moreno.
The Levantines of İzmir, who are mostly of Genoese and to a lesser degree of French and Venetian descent, live mainly in the districts of Bornova and Buca. One of the most prominent present-day figures of the community is Caroline Giraud Koç, wife of industrialist Mustafa Koç. Koç Holding is one of the largest family-owned industrial conglomerates in the world.
İzmir has a population of 2,606,294 (2007 census) of which 1,297,119 are men and 1,309,175 are women.
For further information on the remnants of the ancient city, see Smyrna
Standing on Mount Yamanlar (Dağı), the tomb of Tantalus is an example of the tholos type monumental tombs. The grave room of Tantalus' tumulus was in the plan of the fountain, displaying a style called isopata, meaning the construction has a rectangle plan, covered by vaults made with a corbel technique. This monumental work is thought to be the tomb of the Basileus or Tyrant who ruled ancient Smyrna in 580-520 BC.
One of the more pronounced elements of Izmir harbor is the Clock Tower, a beautiful marble tower that rests in the middle of the Konak district, standing 25 meters in height. It was designed by the Levantine French architect Raymond Charles Père in 1901 for the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the ascension of Abdülhamid II. The clock workings themselves were given as a gift to the then Ottoman Empire by Kaiser Wilhelm II. The tower features four fountains which are placed around the base in a circular pattern, and the columns are inspired by North African themes.
The Agora of Smyrna is well preserved, and is arranged into the Agora Open Air Museum of İzmir, although important parts buried under modern buildings, waiting to be brought to daylight. Serious consideration is also being given to uncovering the ancient theatre of Smyrna where St. Polycarp was martyred, buried under an urban zone on the slopes of Kadifekale. It was distinguishable until the 19th century, as evident by the sketchings done at the time. On top of the same hill soars an ancient castle which is one of the landmarks of İzmir.
The Kemeraltı bazaar zone set up by the Ottomans, combined with the Agora, rests near the slopes of Kadifekale. İzmir has had three castles historically- Kadifekale (Pagos), the portuary Ok Kalesi (Neon Kastron, St. Peter), and Sancakkale, which remained vital to İzmir's security for centuries. Sancakkale is situated in the present-day İnciraltı quarter between Balçova and Narlıdere districts, on the southern shore of the Gulf of İzmir. It is at a key point where the strait allows entry into the innermost tip of the Gulf at its narrowest, and due to shallow waters through a large part of this strait, ships have sailed close to the castle.
There are nine synagogues in İzmir, concentrated either in the traditional Jewish quarter of Karataş or in Havra Sokak (Synagogue street) in Kemeraltı, and they all bear the signature of the 19th century when they were built or re-constructed in depth on the basis of former buildings.
The İzmir Birds Paradise in Çiğli, a bird sanctuary near Karşıyaka, contains 205 species of birds. There are 63 species of domestic birds, 54 species of summer migratory birds, 43 species of winter migratory birds, 30 species of transit birds. 56 species of birds have been breeding in the Park. İzmir Bird's Paradise which covers 80 square kilometres was registered as "The protected area for water birds and for their breeding" by Ministry of Forestry in 1982.
İzmir International Fair
İzmir prides itself with its busy schedule of trade fairs, exhibitions and congresses. İzmir International Fair (IEF), the oldest member from Turkey of the International Union of Fairs is held in Kültürpark, covering an area of 421,000 m² in the heart of the city. Aside from this main event, organized in the beginning of September each year, there are, for 2007, 35 national or international fairs and exhibitions held around the year and in different areas of activity.
These fairs have made great contributions to İzmir's social and cultural life with its vast ground, open-air theatres, Painting and Sculpture Museum, art centers, amusement park, zoo and parachute tower.
İzmir is characterized by long, hot summers and mild, rainy winters. The total precipitation for İzmir averages 706 mm (27.8 inches) per year; however, 77% of that falls during November through March.
The average maximum temperatures during the winter months vary between 12 and 14 °C. Although it's rare, snow has been recorded in İzmir in January and February. The summer months from June to September bring average daytime temperatures of 30 °C or higher. On a number of occasions, temperatures as high as 46°C have been recorded in the city.
Cuisine of İzmir
İzmir's cuisine has largely been affected by its multicultural history, hence the large variety of food originating from the Aegean, Mediterranean and Anatolian regions. Another factor is the large area of land surrounding the region which grows a rich selection of vegetables. Some of the common dishes found here are tarhana soup (made from dried yoghurt and tomatoes), İzmir köfte, keşkek (boiled wheat with meat), zerde (sweetened rice with saffron) and mücver (made from zucchini and eggs).
Historically, as a result of the influx of Greek refugees from İzmir (as well as from other parts of Asia Minor and Istanbul) to mainland Greece after 1922, the cuisine of İzmir has had an enormous impact on Greek cuisine, exporting many sophisticated spices and foods.
The İzmir International Festival beginning in mid-June and continuing to mid-July, has been organized since 1987. During the annual festival, many world-class performers such as soloists and virtuosi, orchestras, dance companies, rock and jazz groups including Ray Charles, Paco de Lucia, Joan Baez, Martha Graham Dance Company, Tanita Tikaram, Jethro Tull, Leningrad Philarmonic Orchestra, Chris De Burgh, Sting, Moscow State Philarmony Orchestra, Jan Garbarek, Red Army Chorus, Academy of St. Martin in the Field, Kodo, Chick Corea and Origin, New York City Ballet, Nigel Kennedy, Bryan Adams, James Brown, Elton John, Anathema, Kiri Te Kanawa, Mikhail Barishnikov and Josep Carreras have given recitals and performances at various venues in the city and surrounding areas, including the ancient theatres at Ephesus and Metropolis (an antique Ionian city situated near the town of Torbalı). This festival is the member of "European Festivals Association" since 2003.
The İzmir European Jazz Festival is among the numerous events organized every year by İKSEV (The İzmir Foundation for Culture, Arts and Education) since 1994. The festival aims to bring together masters and lovers of jazz in the attempt to generate feelings of love, friendship and peace.
International İzmir Short Film Festival is organized since 1999 and the member of European Coordination of Film Festivals.
İzmir Metropolitan Municipality is building Ahmet Adnan Saygun Culture and Art Center in Güzelyalı over an area of 21.000 m2 in order to contribute to the city's culture and art life. The acoustics of the center has been prepared by ARUP which is a world famous company in its own field . The center will serve from summer of 2008.
The mascot of Universiade 2005 in İzmirNotable football clubs in İzmir are: Altay SK, Altınordu, Göztepe A.Ş., İzmirspor and Karşıyaka SK. Currently there is no team from İzmir playing in the Turkish Super League, but the teams of İzmir were once among the greatest in Turkey. Göztepe A.Ş. played the semi finals of the UEFA Cup in the 1968-1969 season, and the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in the 1969-1970 season; becoming the first ever Turkish football club to play a semi-final game in Europe. Altay SK and Göztepe A.Ş. have won the Turkish Cup twice for İzmir.
Legendary 1960s football star Metin Oktay, a native of İzmir, played in İzmirspor, Galatasaray and Palermo.
Despite the current lack of any İzmir-based team in the Turkish Super League, İzmir Atatürk Stadium regularly hosts many Super League and Turkish Cup derby matches, including those of Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe, and Galatasaray.
Several important international sports events were held in İzmir:
1971 - Mediterranean Games,
7 - 22 August, 2005 - Summer Universiade, the International University Sports Games,
2 - 7 September, 2005 - preliminary games of European Women's Basketball Championship,
4 - 9 July, 2006 - European Seniors Fencing Championship.
14 - 23 July, 2006 - U20 European Basketball Championship for Men