İzmir,(Greek: Σμύρνη) the third most populous city of Turkey and the country's largest port after İstanbul, is located on the Aegean Sea near the Gulf of İzmir.
The name of a locality called Ti-smurna is mentioned in some of the Level II tablets from the Assyrian colony in Kültepe (first half of the 2nd millennium B.C.), with the prefix ti- identifying a proper name, although it is not established with certainty that this name refers to İzmir.  Some would see in the city's name a reference to the name of an Amazon called Smirna. The oldest Greek rendering of the city's name we know is the Aeolic Greek Μύῥρα Mýrrha, corresponding to the later Ionian and Attic Σμύρνη Smýrnē, both presumably descendants of a Proto-Greek form *Smúrnā. The Romans took this name over as Smyrna which is the name used in English for the pre-Turkish periods. The name İzmir is the Turkish version of the same name.
The city is one of the oldest cities of the Mediterranean basin. Until recently, the original urban site was thought to be established in the 3rd millennium B.C. on a small hill (possibly an island at that time) in the northernmost corner of the gulf's end (in present day Bayraklı, Karşıyaka) making it one of the most advanced cultures in Anatolia of its time (on a par with Troy). But the recent discovery (2004) of two höyük (tumulus), very close to each other (Yeşilova and Yassıtepe), situated more to south (dotted in red in the image below) in the plain of Bornova, and the findings of the first season of excavations carried out in the Yeşilova Hoyuk in 2005 by a team of archaeologists from İzmir's Ege University under the direction of Assoc.Prof. Zafer Derin, resets the starting date of the city's history three millenia back in time. Indeed, the tumulus contains three levels, first of which is a loose tissue of occupation from the late Roman-early Byzantine periods, while the Level 2 bears traces of early to mid-Chalcolithic, and the Level 3 of Neolithic settlements, with continuity. These two levels would had been inhabited, very roughly, between 6500 to 4000 B.C. With the seashore drawing away in time, the place had been transformed into a cemetery (several graves containing artefacts dating, roughly, from 3000 B.C. were found)
Homer, referred to as Melesigenes which means "Child of Meles Brook" is said to have been born in Smyrna. Meles Brook is located within the city of İzmir, still carrying the same name. Aristotle recounts: "Kriteis... gives birth to Homer near Meles Brook and dies after. Maion brings this child up and names him as Melesigenes ("Child of Meles") to emphasize the place where he was born." Six other cities claimed that Homer was their countryman. These cities are Salamis, Argos, Athens, Rhodes, Colophon and Chios, but the main belief is that Homer was born in Ionia. Combined with written evidence, Smyrna and Chios lay the strongest arguments in Homer's claim.
İzmir Bird's Paradise is in Çiğli, located 15 km west of Karşıyaka, has 205 species of birds. There are 63 species of domestic birds, 54 species of summer migratory birds, 43 species of winter migratory birds, 30 spices of transit birds. 56 spices 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’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 meatballs, keskek (boiled wheat with meat) zerde (sweetened rice with saffron) and mucver (made from squash 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, importing many sophisticated spice and foods.