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The former ancient city of Smyrna, today's Izmir is a up-to-date and bustling commercial center sprawling between a vast harbor and a backdrop of mountains. With a population of about two and a half million residents, Izmir is Turkey's third largest city. Its port is second only to Istanbul's.

Suggestive more of Mediterranean Europe than traditional Turkey, the cosmopolitan city's ambience is a mixture of wide streets and red tile roofs, many-windowed business buildings, ancient churches and mosques, modern shopping centers and a market dating to the 1700s.

Izmir's warm summers are moderated by Aegean sea breezes. Numerous cafes beckon along the waterfront. Perfect for after-supper strolls, palm-lined Birince Kordon is a promenade that extends across the entire city. Izmir offers a satisying array of entertainment and cultural venues, such as numerous lounges and nightclubs, the Izmir State Symphony Orchestra, Izmir State Opera and Ballet, and the Archaeological and Ethnographic museums.

In addition, the International Izmir Festival, scheduled from mid-June to mid-July, is a panoply of music and dance. Adjunct performances may also be enjoyed in nearby Ephesus and Cesme.

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