Barely 9km/5.5mi from Konak Square to the southwest of Izmir and beyond extensive residential suburbs lies a major road junction. To the left (700m/765yds) is the spa center of Balçova with the radioactive Baths of Agamemnon (35-40°C/95-105°F). A cable-car takes the visitor to a panoramic restaurant. Turn right at the road junction for the resort of Inciralti (2km/1.25mi).13km/8mi beyond the crossroads, the main road which extends west towards Urla and Çesme reaches another junction.
In the plain to the south of Sigacik lie the remains of Teos, a member of the Panionic League of cities which was noted as a center of the cult of Dionysos and the birthplace of the lyric poet Anakreon (ca. 540 B.C.). No traces remain of the once-renowned temple built by Hermogenes of Alabanda.
Situated about 11km/7mi along the main road from Izmir is the town of Urla famous for its magnesium-rich baths. 4km/2.5mi north on an islet linked to the mainland by a causeway near the little town of Urla Iskelesi, birthplace of the philosopher Anaxagoras (ca. 500 B.C.), are the remains of ancient town of Klazomenai. A number of Archaic painted clay sarcophagi were found in the grounds of the hospital here.
Rising above the sea and dominated by the walls of a medieval castle, lies the holiday center of Çesme which is situated at the tip of the peninsula, 45km/28mi west of Urla. It takes its name from its thermal springs ("çesme", spring). The sulfurous water (35-50°C/95°- -122°F) is recommended for the treatment of rheumatism. From here a ferry service conveys cars to the Greek island of Chios (Sakiz in Turkish). The seaside resort of Ilica (hotels, holiday facilities) is situated 5km/3mi east of Çesme, in a bay with a beautiful sandy beach.
South of Izmir lies Cumaovasi, home of the city's new "Adnan Menderes" civil airport which was completed in 1987. The road which branches off the main road and passes through the little town, continues south to Degirmendere, close to the site of ancient Kolophon. Kolophon was one of the principal cities of the Panionic League, famed for its wealth and luxury and also noted for the breeding of horses and the production of colophonium, a purified resin harvested from the pine trees growing on the surrounding hills. The site is crossed by the River Avci Çayi (formerly Ales).
Izmir's port of Notion used to stand at the south end of the Ales valley, 12km/7.5mi from Kolophon on a little bay which is now silted up. The remains of the ancient town are on a hill surrounded by walls and towers, from which two promontories project into the sea. On the east side of the site stood a theater in which more than 20 tiers of seating can still be seen. Nearby are the remains of a temple 12m/40ft long. To the north lies the town's necropolis.
Located in a side valley to the east is the site of ancient Klaros, which was celebrated for its cave oracle of Apollo. The site was identified in 1907.
The road which leads northwest from Izmir skirts first the beautiful Gulf of Izmir and then passes the remains of ancient Larissa (40km/25mi). The acropolis was built by Aeolian Greeks in the sixth century B.C. On a hill to the east is the site of Neon Teichos, a stronghold directed against Larissa which was endowed by the people of Cyme in the eighth century B.C. The lower town, with polygonal walls, lay under the acropolis.
Some 2km/1.25mi north of Larissa a side road branches off the main road on the left to the pleasant little port town of Foça (founded 1576) situated on the site of ancient Phokaia (Phocaea) at the northern entrance to the Gulf of Izmir.Phokaia, the most northerly of the Ionian cities, was founded in the eighth century, probably from Teos. Situated on a promontory projecting into the gulf, the city had two harbors. The Phocaeans were daring seamen who by the seventh century B.C. were familiar with the coasts of the western Mediterranean, founding Massalia (Marseilles) about 600 B.C. and Alalia (Aleria), on the east of Corsica, about 565 B.C. Many wealthy citizens of Phokaia moved to these new areas when their city fell to the Persians about 540 B.C. The only surviving ancient structures are the foundations of walls. There is also a ruined 15th century Genoese castle.
On the far side of the promontory (road via Baglararasi) is the little town of Yenifoça with its beach, small harbor and modern tourist developments. Founded at the beginning of the 14th century it fell to the Turks at the same time as its twin town of Foça, or Focia Nuova as it was once known. In the lonely surrounding area are several attractive bathing beaches.
On a promontory on the north side of the Gulf of Çandarli stands the little grain port of Çandarli, dominated by a restored 13th century Venetian castle. In antiquity the gulf was known as Sinus Elaiticus, after the city of Elaia, the port for Pergamon. There are still remains of the ancient town walls built by Attalos I. The acropolis was built on an egg-shaped hill.Çandarli was traditionally believed to be the site of the Aeolian port of Pitane, founded by the Amazons, which had two harbors, one on each side of the promontory.
The provincial capital of Manisa lies 40km/25mi northeast of Izmir at the foot of Manisa Dagi (the ancient Mount Sipylos; 1,517m/4,977ft), the highest peak in the Manisa range. Manisa has a number of notable mosques but is also worth visiting for its picturesque location on the slopes of a hill. The houses with their typical light-colored hipped roofs and the minarets which soar up between them make this old Ottoman town into a major attraction. Of the origins of the town, which was known in antiquity as Magnesia on the Sipylos to distinguish it from Magnesia on the Maeander, nothing is known. The Akpinar relief suggests that the region was under the influence of the Hittite Empire after 1400 B.C.The two principal mosques are the Great Mosque (Ulu Cami), built in 1366, which has antique columns with Byzantine capitals supporting the arcading round its courtyard and the Murat Mosque (Muradiye Camii; 1583-1586), now a museum, which is surrounded by an almshouse, a library and a former medrese (theological college).Near the two mosques stands the Sultan's Mosque (Sultan Camii; 1552), with a medrese and a hospital.On the hill of Sandik Tepesi, to the south of the town, the walls of the old citadel are still visible. Three circuits of walls can be distinguished. The outermost ring dates from the time of the Byzantine Emperor John III (1222-54). The upper ring must be built on the foundations of the ancient acropolis, of which nothing remains. (third century B.C. statue now in the Archeological Museum, Istanbul).The top of the hill offers fine views over the town and the plain of Gediz.
On the southwestern outskirts of Manisa a crag in the rough shape of a head has been popularly identified as Niobe weeping for her father Tantalus - a legend traditionally set in this area.
On the hillside to the left of the Salihli road On the hillside to the left of the Salihli road 6km/4mi east of Manisa stands a badly weathered figure of a seated goddess. Referred to by Pausanias as "the oldest sculptured image of the Mother of the gods", the inscriptions date from the period of the Hittite Empire.