From Agepedia

Jump to: navigation , search

SMYRNA (Turkish, Ismir); a city on the western coast of Natolia, situated at the bottom of a deep gulf, about fifty miles from the sea, in a delightful country; lat. 38° 28' N.; Ion. 27^8' E. Smyrna was probably an Ephesian colony, and was successively in the possession of the iEolians, lonians, Lydians, and Macedonians. It was destroyed by the Lydians, and was afterwards rebuilt by Alexander. Having been received into the Ionian confederacy, it soon became the mart of Asia Minor, the seat of art, and the resort of strangers. In the thirteenth century, only the ruins of its former splendor were left; but after the Turks became masters of the country, it revived. The town rises from the shore to a hill on which is an old castle, and not far from this lies a smaller castle. The quarter inhabited by Europeans, called the Frank quarter, is the pleasantest part of the city, and lies entirely on the sea. Carriages are rare, and the streets extremely narrow; and the bustle in this great mart of the Levant is remarkable. The population is estimated at about 120,000, among which are 65,000 Turks, 25 to 30,000 Greeks, 7000 Armenians, 12,000 Jews, and some Europeans and Americans. There are Armenian, Greek, Roman Catholic, and Protestant churches, several monasteries, and three synagogues here. The bay is capacious, the anchorage excellent, and the water so deep that large ships come close to the wharfs. Smyrna has been several times destroyed by earthquakes, and frequently ravaged by the plague. In 1814, from 50,000 to 60,000 persons are said to have perished by this scourge. In the year 1831, Smyrna suffered very severely from the cholera. The principal articles of import consist of grain, furs, &c, from Odessa and Taganrog; cotton stuffs, silk and woollen goods, coffee, cochineal and dye woods, glass, &c, from Great Britain, France, Italy, the U. States, &c. The principal exports are raw silk and cotton, fruits, opium, rhubarb, drugs, oil, madder, Turkey carpets, wool, wax, &c. Smyrna is one of the places which laid claim to the honor of having given birth to Homer, (q. v.) On the banks of the Meles was shown the spot where he was brought into the world; and, in a cavern by its source, the place was pointed out where ne was said to have written his poems : the coins of Smyrna bore his image, and the citizens held their assemblies under the columns of his tomb. A short, distance from this place, near the baths of Diana (several fountains, which unite to form a lake), are some ruins, supposed to be the remains of a temple of Diana. The Spcctateur Oriental, formerly published in Smyrna, was succeeded, in 1827, by the Obsewateur Impartial, which has since given place to the Cowrier de Smyrne.