Our group arose early this morning in Istanbul in order to make our flight to Izmir. Izmir is a beautiful city on the Aegean coast of Asia Minor about 35 miles north of Ephesus. It is known as the location of the Biblical city of Smyrna.
Smyrna is mentioned only twice in the New Testament as the location of one of the seven churches addressed in the Book of Revelation (1:11; 2:8-11).
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this: ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. ‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’ (Revelation 2:8-11 NAU)
The earliest city of Smyrna was founded in the first half of the third millennium B.C. at Bayrakli, a few miles from the present city of Izmir. In 600 B.C. the city was captured and utterly destroyed by King Alyattes of Lydia. During the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. the city was insignificant.
All of this changed after the time of Alexander the Great when a new city was founded on the slopes of Mount Pagos.
Our visit today included Mount Pagos. From there we had a magnificent view of the city and the harbor. We also visited the Roman Agora, and two archaeological museums.
This photo shows the great arches in the lower level of the three story civic agora dating to the second century A.D., and a powerful spring of water that was discovered only a few years ago.