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Smyrna, is the third most populous city of Turkey and the country's largest port after İstanbul. It is located in the Gulf of İzmir, by the Aegean Sea. It is the capital of İzmir Province. The city of İzmir is composed of 9 metropolitan districts. These are Balçova, Bornova, Buca, Çiğli, Gaziemir, Güzelbahçe, Karşıyaka, Konak and Narlıdere. Each district, and often also the neighborhoods within, possesses distinct features and a particular temperament (for detailed information, see the articles on these districts). The 2000 population of this urban zone was 2,409,000 and the 2005 estimate is 3,500,000.

İzmir is inheritor of almost 3500 years of urban past, and possibly up to that much more in terms of advanced human settlement patterns. It is Turkey's first port for exports and its free zone, a Turkish-U.S. joint-venture established in 1990, is the leader among the twenty that Turkey counts. Its workforce, and particularly its rising class of young professionals, concentrated either in the city or in its immediate vicinity (such as in Manisa), and under either larger companies or SME's, affirm their name in increasingly wider global scale and intensity [1]. İzmir is widely regarded as one of the most liberal Turkish cities in terms of values, ideology, lifestyle, dynamism and gender roles. It is a stronghold of the Republican People's Party.

The city hosts an international arts festival during June/July, and İzmir International Fair, one among the city's many fair and exhibition events, is held in the beginning of September every year. It is served by national and international flights through Adnan Menderes Airport and there is a modern rapid transit line running Southwest to Northeast. İzmir hosted the Mediterranean Games in 1971 and the World University Games (Universiade) in 2005. It has a running bid submitted to BIE to host the Universal Expo 2015, which will be voted in 2008. Modern İzmir also incorporates the nearby ancient cities like Ephesus, Pergamon, Sardis and Klazomenai, and centers of international tourism such as Kuşadası, Çeşme and Foça.

Despite its very advantageous location and its heritage, İzmir suffered, as one author puts it, from "sketchy understanding" in the eyes of outsiders until recently. When the Ottomans took over İzmir in the 15th century, they did not inherit compelling historical memories, unlike the two other keys of the trade network, namely İstanbul and Aleppo. Despite the Turkish preponderance in İzmir's population, its emergence as a major international port as of the 17th century was largely a result of the attraction it exercised over foreigners, who in their turn drew in others.Very different people found İzmir attractive over the ages and the city has always been governed by fresh inspirations, including for the very location of its center, and is quick to adopt novelties and projects. Nevertheless, its successful completion of 2005 Universiade games gave its inhabitants a renewed confidence in themselves, which remains very present in the bid made for Universal Expo 2015.
The name of a locality called Ti-smurna is mentioned in some of the Level II tablets from the Assyrian colony in Kültepe (first half of the 2nd millennium B.C.), with the prefix ti- identifying a proper name, although it is not established with certainty that this name refers to İzmir.Some would see in the city's name a reference to the name of an Amazon called Smirna.

The oldest rendering in Greek of the city's name we know is the Aeolic Greek Μύρρα Mýrrha, corresponding to the later Ionian and Attic Σμύρνα (Smýrna) or Σμύρνη (Smýrnē), both presumably descendants of a Proto-Greek form *Smúrnā. It would be linked to the name of the Myrrha commifera shrub, a plant that produces the aromatic resin called myrrh and is indigenous to the Middle East and northeastern Africa. The Romans took this name over as Smyrna which is the name still used in English when referring to the city in pre-Turkish periods. The name İzmir (Ottoman Turkish: إزمير İzmir) is the modern Turkish version of the same name.

In Greek it is Σμύρνη (Smirni),(Izmir) in Armenian, Smirne in Italian,and Izmir (without the Turkish dotted İ) in Ladino.

In English, the city was called Smyrna until the early twentieth century and has generally been called İzmir since, although often without the Turkish dotted İ.

İzmir is nicknamed "Occidental İzmir" or "The Pearl of the Aegean".

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