A great place to start a day in İzmir is at Konak Meydanı. The square is the busiest in the city. It’s surrounded by government buildings and is full of street vendors, children feeding (and chasing) pigeons, and lots and lots of pigeons.
In the center of the square is a very ornate clock tower called İzmir Saat Kulesi. It was built in 1901 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Sultan Abdülhamit II’s accession to the throne. The clock was a gift from Kaiser Wilhelm II. It was designed by Levantine French architect Raymond Charles Père. It looks really amazing at night, too. Click here for a virtual tour.
Behind the clock tower (or in front, to the left, or right, depending on where you’re standing), there’s an adorable little mosque (if mosques can be adorable), called the Konak Camii. It was built in 1755. Click here for a virtual tour.
The government buildings on the square are the İzmir city hall and the Hükümet Konağı, which was built in 1872 and houses the offices for the İzmir Province. The square is named after this building.
A large park with a small section containing a cactus garden covers the southern part of the square. A pedestrian street along the park has more buildings and a shopping mall along it.
A block inland is the İzmir Milli Kütüphane (national library), built in 1933. Attached to it on the left is the İzmir Opera ve Balesi (opera and ballet), originally built in 1926 as the Elhamra Sineması, a movie theatre. The world’s first “talkie”, The Jazz Singer, was shown there.