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Agora Museum

Agora Museum
These ancient remains of Smyrna are now the Izmir Agora Museum located in the district of Namazgah and are referred to by the locals as “Agora”.
The Agora sits on the northern slopes of the Pagos hills and was the commercial, judicial and political centre of the city and the place of artistic activities and teaching.
The Izmir Agora Museum has five sections which include the agora area, the base of the northern basilica gate, the stoa and the ancient shopping centre. The Agora was built during the Hellenistic period and after being destroyed by earthquake in 178 AD was rebuilt in the 2nd century AD by the Romans during the reign of Marcus Aurelius and following city plans drawn by Hippodamus of Miletus ; there is a bust of the Emperor’s wife, Faustina, on the second arch of the western stoa.

The Agora was built on a sloped terrace 165m wide and 200m long, over three floors and close to the city centre, bordered on all sides by porticos and was used up until Byzantine times. As a Byzantine and later an Ottoman cemetery were sited over the Agora ruins this helped to preserve it from any modern construction and today is the largest and best preserved among the Ionian agoras.

As you enter the courtyard and on the left is the western stoa, at the back is the basilica and to the right the Ottoman cemetery. The courtyard had porticos on three sides and the basilica and western stoa were built over basements with round arches to protect them against future earthquakes. The eastern and southern porticos had a two-floor structure and under the basilica was a covered market.

The design of the basement resembles the crypto-porticus constructions of the western provinces and the monumental entrance on the east side was one of the most magnificent arched structures of the Hellenistic period.
A two-storied stoa 17.5m wide was built at the eastern and western sides of the Agora each divided into three galleries by two rows of columns, with an upper storey stoa which were protected from weather conditions by a roof, and the huge structures measured 75m x 18m. On the south-side of the western stoa there are many channels and large water reservoirs that would have once fed water to the Agora.

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