One of the most important historic locations in the Aegean region, more and more findings continue to be revealed in the Agora area in İzmir in western Turkey.
Following long stages of expropriation and demolition works by the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, the Agora excavations continue to reveal new findings. Agoras are outdoor spaces open to the public in ancient Greece, were a site for public buildings where political, financial and religious activities took place.
Some scriptures written in Greek as well as some drawings pertaining to the Roman and Hellenistic times are expected to give clues about the daily life at the time. The mosaic work found in the area also has great importance for İzmir’s history and the city will take the work under protection.
Conducting many projects to reveal the history, İzmir is preparing to develop the Agora and the surrounding area as a "Archeology and History Park" while the Dokuz Eylül University also undertakes some excavation work of great importance for İzmir.
Graffiti in the area shows shipping drawings and human faces, which give important clues about the maritime transport, ship typology and daily life at the time.
Moreover, the water and meal containers, cups and plates found in recent excavations show that Agora was an area that hosted many small enterprises. The antique drainage system reveals that Agora did not have a wastewater problem and that the water cisterns met the city’s needs for clean water.
City meets history
Planning to frame the Agora area as ’Archeology and History Park’, İzmir Metropolitan Municipality has paid more than 20 million Turkish lira for the land in the area so far. The municipality also allocated 2 million lira last year for the excavation work at Smyrna and Phokai.
After completing the land transfers, the municipality fences off the sensitive areas and hand them over to excavation teams. Depending on the needs of the team, the municipality also provides equipment, meals and excavation assistance.
The first expropriations of buildings around the agora started in 1997 and the first demolition occurred in 2005.
So far, 16,852 square meters of old, broken buildings have been expropriated at an approximate cost of 20 million Turkish lira. Forty-nine of 87 parcels have been taken over and 50 buildings have been demolished, the legal process is continuing in relation to other areas.