Biblical Turkey Guide
Izmir, covering an area more that 4 miles, is the third largest city of Turkey and has also largest natural harbor of western Turkey. The oldest settlement was discovered at the head of its natural harbor, in a small historical mound called Bayraklİ. According to archaeological research, history of the town dates back to 3rd millennium BC, and is contemporary with the first settlement of Troy.
The city moved to Mount Pagus (Kadifekale) during the time of Alexander the Great. During the Roman times, Smyrna became the rival city to Ephesus. It prided itself as being the Rome's most faithful ally, and built a temple for Goddess Rome as early as 2. Century BC and for Emperor Tiberius later on. Christian faith in Izmir started with the activities of Paul who sent some of his disciples. According to ancient sources, the earliest bishop of Smyrna was Apelles. The city housed a great Jewish colony and some of these Jews accepted the Christian faith at early stage. The church in Smyrna had a great struggle against tremendous political and religious opposition and experienced poverty and tribulations because of their faith. It is claimed that Saint John returned to Izmir from Patnos after his exile. The letter addressing to the church in Izmir is full of sympathy and love. It was written to the church nearly 60 years before the martyrdom of Saint Polycarp. Because of its magnificent location, the city was captured by various people through its history.
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