Agora Open Air Museum

Vantage Point

  • 18 Nov - 24 Nov, 2017
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Panorama

In the centre of Izmir there is the Agora Open Air Museum, a piece carying the historical texture of the city that houses many cultures and layers. The Agora, which is one of the big agoras located in a city centre with its three floor design, is one of a kind. The word Agora means “marketplace”. It was also a government place used for political meetings and people’s courts. The Agora underwent a major restoration after an earthquake in 178 A.D. The one located in Namazgah (one of Izmir’s older districts) is a multistorey structure built on arches and pillars in the Roman Era around a large quad with marble tiling.

A statue group of Poseidon and Demeter, one of the most notable artifacts from the Agora, can be found in the History and Arts Museum. The Agora is undergoing changes in order to turn it into an Archaeology and History Park. It is thought that the spring in the entrance of the Basilica has been flowing since the first age. Another of Agora’s exciting finds is the world’s largest Greek graffiti collection, which carries profiles of Hellenistic and Roman daily life. It is under protection and is said to have been made between the 2nd and 4th centuries A.D. On the walls there are around 1500 graffiti, which have been preserved for 2,000 years, and have been painted or engraved.

It is possible to see layers of the Hellenistic Era, Roman Era, Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire in the Agora expeditions. The Roman Bathhouse that was recently unearthed in the latest Agora expedition attracts the attention of visitors passing by Faustina road, which goes through the Northwestern gate to the docks. Since the Agora ruins were used as a cemetery in the Namazgah district long ago, it is home to many artisan-crafted gravestones. Although the graves were transported to a different location, the Ottoman gravestones may still be viewed at the site. The pieces extracted from the Agora are today in the Izmir Archaeology Museum and the History and Arts Museum.