Shopping Roman Style

Agora-2Having some time to kill in Izmir, waiting for the bike to be serviced (which will be another story), we decided to drop in on Smyrna Agora. We were quite shocked to see a tour bus as we arrived, normally the place is empty.  The bus left before we entered and as per usual we had the place to ourselves, other than for a pair of crows and some archaeologists.  We cannot understand why so few people visit, it is right in the heart of Izmir, is fascinating, was a three story Roman shopping mall and public place, still has water running through it, and some nice pieces of architecture.

There is some more work being done, a new dig, and preparations for opening up some of the adjoining buildings.  There was a sign indicating a hall with a mosaic, and a walkway to it, but the walkway was roped off.  There was also signage and details about the Bouleterion another adjoining building.  We would imagine the Bouleterion of Smyrna to be fairly impressive.  There were quite a few workmen and archaeologists around still working on the mosaic building and the Bouleterion and no indication of when it will be opened to the public.

Part of the Basilica remains closed but there are signs it too is being prepared to Agora-1reopen.  There were pictures in there with writing under them – we think about the statues and inscriptions originally found there, difficult to be sure as it was hard to see through the barriers.

Perhaps, although the site is impressive to us, it doesn’t seem to have what it takes to attract visitors.  We think they are hoping to attract more people by providing more visual information on the site itself.    This is a different approach to the massive reconstruction efforts we have seen elsewhere.  It remains to be seen which approach will capture the public’s imagination.

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8 responses to “Shopping Roman Style

  1. Remember visiting this site in Izmir when in Turkey last year.

  2. . . damn it! That ‘to do list’ is getting longer and longer 🙂

  3. I’ve never heard of this place but sounds fascinating. Love the three story Roman shopping centre – incredible.

    • A lot of people just regard Izmir as a big, modern City (and it is a lively, buzzing modern city too). We have always found a lot to see and do there. Sometimes we go because it’s our Regional Capital and we have to do some sort of official business. Sometimes we got to get work done on the bike and sometimes we go just for fun and shopping.

  4. Hello! Just found your blog, and I see you are interested in archeological sites. I would like to advise you to visit two wonderful sites, one is at Assos, Çanakkale, it is called Athene’s Temple, and the second is the antique city of Milet, in Aydın (its close to Didim). Athene’s Temple is unique with its divine location, and it has some peculiar architectural characteristics. Milet, on the other hand, presents a vast area, from an amphi-theatre to remains of baths. It was one of the richest site-states in the Ancient Greece. Also, it was the starting point of the annual 4-days Dionysus pilgrimage. And Museum of Milet is newly-built (there are English explanations as well).

    I would like to thank you for putting an effort in spreading our culture.

    An English Literature student from Ankara.

    • Thank you so much.
      Our Turkish is very bad, but we are taking lessons.
      We have visited Assos and Milet in the past – also Priene which is very beautiful and has a wonderful theatre.
      We are fortunate to live near so many wonderful sites.
      We have also been to Ankara which is a very interesting city. We loved the archaeological museum.

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