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Ancient Smyrna was located north of Ephesus in a powerful trading position on the Aegean Sea known for its harbors, commerce, and marketplaces. The primary ruins of ancient Smyrna, including its massive city market (agora) and underground sanitation system, are located in the middle of the modern Turkish city of Izmir. Since Izmir is a bustling city with the second largest population in Turkey, very little of ancient Smyrna has been excavated.
St. John Church
Monument (Basilica) of St. JohnThe Basilica of St. John on the southern part of the Ayasuluk Hill was dedicated to the gospel writer and young apostle whom Jesus most loved. First, a simple mausoleum was built for John the Apostle. In the 5th century AD, a basilica with a wooden roof was constructed on the same site. This basilica became unusable due to the earthquakes in early 6th century AD. Emperor Justinian (527-565) and his wife Theodora built a new cruciform basilica with three naves and six domes.The basilica is entered through the large narthex gate on the western side. The four small columns at the center of the bema belong to the ciborium. During former excavations, three graves were found in the crypt beneath it. The one in the middle of them is supposed to belong to John the Apostle. However, during the excavations, nothing was found in the graves. In fact, it is known that these graves were empty since the 13th century and that sacred relics had been transferred to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Istanbul earlier. The columns surrounding the bema and decorated architraves originate from the Middle Byzantine Period (10-12th centuries). Those and the synthronon were restored in recent years.
The city was known as "Pelopia" but it was named Thyateira by king Seleucus I Nicator in 290 BC because being at war with Lysimachus and hearing that he had a daughter born, called this city 'thuateira', from Greek thugater, thugatera, meaning 'daughter'. In classical times, Thyatira stood on the border between Lydia and Mysia.