Within walking distance of Konak Meydanı are two of İzmir’s most important museums located in two adjacent buildings – İzmir Arkeoloji ve Etnografya Müzesi (archaeology and ethnography museum).
The İzmir Archaeology Museum is located in a modern facility and has an impressive collection of coins, pottery, and artifacts found in İzmir and nearby. The museum was established in 1924 and the current building was constructed in 1984.
The most interesting pieces for me were the beautifully decorated Clazomenian sarcophagi, from the ancient Greek city of Clazomenae. Other pieces have come from Ephesus, Pergamon, Miletos, Aphrodisias, and other ancient cities.
The grounds outside the museum contain a path lined with sarcophagi, pedestals from ancient columns, and tombstones from the important communities in the city’s history, including the Ottomans, Greeks, Jews, Armenians, and Levantines.
Right next door to the Archaeology Museum sits the İzmir Ethnography Museum. It’s located in the former St. Roche hospital, built in 1831. Aside from the typical creepy mannequins, there are several pieces of clothing, pottery, glass, weapons, armor, and other artifacts on display.
A part of the museum explores Ottoman life in the city with rooms of a typical Ottoman home.
Another section gives a glimpse into the lives of certain trades that were present in the city, such as glassworkers, metalworkers, and pharmacists.
The textile section had some impressive carpets and other textiles along with an old loom.