Kemeraltı Bazaar in Izmir is one of the oldest market places in the world and Izmir is one of the oldest cities in the world. Embracing many historical sites, İzmir’s Kemeraltı Bazaar, which is 2,400 years old, has been the shopping center of the city since the Hellenistic period. It is actually 1,500 years older than Istanbul Grand Bazaar. Kemeraltı Bazaar, as old as Izmir’s history, began to emerge after the castle built by Alexander the Great in Kadifekale or also known as Pagos Hill, in 330 BC. It was one of the trade centers on the western end of the Silk Road which would reach the port of Izmir.
Like in the past, Kemeraltı Bazaar is the most important shopping center of Izmir today. Even if the number of mysterious shops of the past has decreased, modern streets, shops, cinemas, and cafeterias are still charming thousands of people every day. The streets are alive at any time of the day, and Kemeraltı Bazaar is a site where all kinds of shopping can be done. It is possible to find all kinds of ceramics, tile panels, wooden products, tombs, carpets and rugs, and leather products from traditional Turkish handicraft masters in this bazaar consisting of indoor and outdoor shops.
It is an important place that directs the social, cultural, and commercial life of İzmir and accelerates the development of the city. Kemeraltı Bazaar extends from Agora of Smyrna to the Clock Tower of Izmir and offers its guests a joyful shopping experience. There are about 2 thousand historical registered buildings in Bazaar. Kemeraltı Bazaar is also a place of religious diversity where churches, mosques synagogues of 3 religions live in harmony for many years.
Today, Kemeraltı Bazaar is far from how it used to look in the past. Now it has the atmosphere of a shopping center. Although some shops still show the products of the past, modernized business centers, cafes can be found next to them. At the same time, Turkish handicrafts are also included in the Kemeraltı Bazaar. Ceramics, tile panels, wood carvings, metalware, and woven products are also offered in Kemeraltı Bazaar.
Since 2018, Kemeraltı Bazaar has been closed to motor vehicles and made only available to pedestrians. Also, Kemeraltı Bazaar is on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.
It is very easy to reach Kemeraltı. Because the bazaar is located in Konak, which can be considered the heart of İzmir. The main entrance is behind the Clock Tower. You can enter Kemeraltı via many other gates too. I can easily say I grew up shopping and exploring this marvelous bazaar. It is more like a labyrinth where someone can spend a whole day getting lost and found again and again. I totally recommend anyone who has some free time in Izmir to visit Kemeraltı Bazaar. If you have questions or if you need tips on Kemeraltı Bazaar, you can always contact me. If you need a local private professional Turkish tour guide to take you there, you can contact me. See you soon, Hasan Gülday