Kadifekale, Izmir

Despite hundreds of years during which quite a number of natural disasters damaged it, Kadifekale still stands quite well preserved on a hill to the south of, and dominating the city of Izmir.

According to what Strabo writes, one day, Alexander the Great fell asleep under an oak tree by the temple of Nemesis after hunting on the hill of Kadifekale. In his dream Nemesis comes and asks him to build a new city on that site for the people of the old Izmir to come and settle there. The oracle of Claros interpreted the dream as follows: People who are to live on the hill of «Pagus» across the stream of Meles will be three or four times happier than they used to be.

And soon after, the people of Izmir who were living on the hill of Bayrakl? came to live in the new Izmir built on the hill of Kadifekale and at its foot in 330 B.C.

The acropolis on Kadifekale was built by Lysimachus who also built the city, In fact, the lower parts of many of the walls were built with the technique of construction used in the Hellenistic age. The upper parts which were either reconstructed or repaired in the Roman and Byzantine periods, are in the Roman or Byzantine style.

Since only a few portions of these walls survive, it is difficult to locate the extensions of the walls, and to tell which parts of the hill they covered. As the acropolis served as a protection against enemies, the walls must have surrounded the hill completely.

The outside walls were built of big stones cut and laid on each other without using mortar. The thickness of the walls is not everywhere the same. There are three large entrances facing the west, the north, and the east. Inside the castle there is a cistern, with a ceiling supported by columns, to provide the water supply of the people during a siege. Besides this there are two smaller ones built later.

It is very likely that the city walls surrounded a very large area extending, in one direction, as far as Basmahane, and in another, along the coast, the latter enclosing the Agora and turning towards Degirmentepe. The remmants of the walls are still to be found around Mezarlikbasi and the Basmahane Railway Station.

Two large city gates used to be openings for the maintenance of the relations of Izmir with the world outside. One of these gates was the Gate of Ephesus at Esrefpasa. A road starting from this gate led to Colophon and Ephesus. The other gate used to stand on the south corner of the Basmahane Railway Station, with a road going to Sardis by way of the Kemer Bridge.



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