Located in the west of Izmir and in the center of the peninsula bearing its name, Urla's history dates back to ancient times. After the reign of the city states, the region came under the dominion of Persia-Alexander, Roman and Byzantine empires. Then, the domination of the Great Seljuks, Anatolian Beyliqs, Anatolian Seljuks and Ottoman Empire was in place. Urla remained 3 years under occupation during the First World War and then on September 12, 1922 the region was taken under the administration of the Republic of Türkiye.
There are various rumors about how the district got its name. It is said that it was produced from the word "Vurla", which means swamp or reeds in Latin and Greek. And one of the commanders of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet Çelebi, Ibrahim Bey, who came to the expedition, said "Uğurola" and "Uğurlu came" (these words sound like Urla in Turkish and they mean “good luck”). It is also written in Evliya Çelebi's Travel Book that the city was founded by the daughter of the King of Kidafe, “Ulice”, and when the city was named “Urli”, it was changed in the folk language and then called as “Urla”.
The District Center, which was established at the starting point of the Urla peninsula in the west of Izmir Province, is 38 km from Izmir. The dominant vegetation in the district, which is 65 meters above sea level, is as follows: ryegrass, olives, big nuts, laurel, myrtle and maquis. The land structure is mountainous and hilly. The mountains are covered with degraded coppice forests. The plains and coves, which are formed on the slopes of the hills descending perpendicular to the sea and remaining green in the winter, have important tourism potential to be evaluated. Urla, which has all the features of the Mediterranean climate, is located across the gap of Karaburun and Foça of the Izmir Gulf; therefore the district has constant breeze; summers are hot, the winter months are warm and rainy.
Urla Pier, Yücesahil, Yıldıztepe, Çeşmealtı, Denizli, Zeytinalani, Özbek, Gülbahçe villages and Balıklıova, Kadıovacık, Uzunkuyu, Zeytineli and Yağcılar Villages are among the important locations for the tourism potential of our district in terms of both the coast and the forests they own.
The most important feature of the district in terms of tourism is that Urla is the closest location to İzmir where it is possible to swim. With its beach and sea the district has the potential to become the most important tourism center when the projects are completed. There is a 40 km coastline stretching from Kalabak coast to Balıklıova coastline and especially in the summer months, the number of people who benefit from the sea is quite high with the presence of some private and public facilities in addition to 6 camps and tents in various areas. Köprülü Mosque, the Islamic and Turkish artifacts in the Denizli neighborhood, Rüstempaşa Mosque and bath, Yahşibey Complex, Mosque / bath and complex, Helvacılar mosque and bath, the Sübyan School, Kılıç Hocaali mosque, Fatih İbrahimbey mosque and Complex, are in the district.
Our main goals are to continue constant tourism service in all villages, especially within the islands and the district center.
Klazomenai Ancient City
The ancient city, located within the borders of İskele District of Urla District of Izmir Province, is known among the twelve Ionian cities. The ruins of the city of Klazomenai are located in the fields adjacent to the sea and on the Quarantine Island near the shore. The establishment of the city of Klazomenai also coincides with a late phase of the settling process of the Ions to the west coast. The city, which was understood to be on a peninsula in ancient times, has lost this feature with the filling of the bays in the east and west today. The island, on which the city of Hellenistic and Roman periods is located, is known as the Quarantine Island. The island is known with this name, because the ships which were arriving Izmir in the eighteen and nineteenth centuries were kept here for quarantine. This island, which was formerly named Yolluca Ada and H. Ioannis, has structures belonging to Urla State Hospital and the Ministry of Health today.
In 1764, British traveler R.Chandler came to the region and examined the Quarantine Island. In 1867, B. Randolph briefly discusses the remains he saw on the Quarantine Island and interprets some marble blocks on Droumousa Island (Uzunada) as a Roman temple. Towards the end of the 19th century, figure decorated terracotte sarcophagi produced in Klazomenai started to attract the attention of European museums and collectors as products of ancient art. In 1883 G.Dennis published two Clazomenai sarcophagi, which were found by chance by the villagers; this interest in sarcophagi soon led to the start of illicit diggings in the region and the distribution of finds to various museums. About 70 years after Dennis, another British scientist J.M.Cook conducted the first intense topographic research in Klazomenai, dealing with the historical geography of the Ionian centers in Western Anatolia. The exact location of the old Klazomenai city was determined by Prof. J. M Cook. Professor Cook determined the prehistoric settlement in Liman Tepe, which was also mentioned by E. Akurgal in the 1950s, and tried to localize both the archaic city and the 4th century BC settlement in Khyton based on the surface material. He defined the small hill in the north-east of Yıldıztepe, surrounded by a city wall, as the Acropolis. Cook emphasized the areas extending to the north and northwest of this hill as the main settlement areas of the 6th century BC.
The only scientific excavation in Klazomenai before today's work was carried out in 1921 and 1922 by the Greek archaeologist GP Oikonomos, who was responsible for the Asia Minor Antiquities. The finds from the unfinished works in war conditions have been completely lost except for a sarcophagus taken to the National Museum of Athens and some selected ceramics. In the excavations where finds were not published except for two news articles, G.P Oikonomos' work focused on the archaic necropolis and the remains of the Hellenistic / Roman city on the Quarantine Island. It revealed a paved road in the north-south direction on the west coast of the island, and in the east, some Late Roman structures with mosaic floors. During the studies on the mainland, he studied more than 80 burials in the archaic necropolis in the region called Monastirakia. He observed that these burials, consisting of amphoras, sarcophagi and inhumations, overlapped over time and formed a stratification as a result of intensive use of this necropolis area.
In 1970, a rescue excavation was carried out in Kalabak Region by İzmir Museum expert M.Baran, and a group of burials, including a classical type of Clazomenae sarcophagus decorated by the Borelli Painter, were exposed. After the studies carried out by the Ministry of Culture in 1979 and 1980, in 1981, Ege University Faculty of Letters, Department of Archeology undertook the excavation of Klazomenai under the presidency of Güven Bakır. Since 2007, the excavations have been carried out by a team headed by Associate Professor Yaşar ERSOY, one of the faculty members of the Department of Archeology and Art History at Bilkent University.
Pausanias describes the foundation of the city of Klazomenai by the Ionians, and also outlines the history of Klazomenai. While Pausanias stated that the land of Klazomenai did not see any settlement before the Ionians, the archaeological data point to the contrary, indicating the existence of a settlement established in these lands long before the arrival of the Ionians. Located in Limantepe Region of İskele Neighborhood of Urla, the settlement of the prehistoric period, now being excavated by Dr H. Erkanal, was first identified by E. Akurgal. The findings uncovered so far prove that this settlement, which belongs to the period when the writing was not yet known, started in the 6th millennium BC and was abandoned towards the end of the 2nd millennium BC, and the lands of the Klazomenai were not empty before the Ionians. The archaeological traces belonging to Ionian immigrants in Klazomenai are from the middle of the 10th century BC, in other words, the Late Protogeometric period. This seems to be compatible with the information given by Pausanias about the fact that Klazomenai is a later settlement than other Ionian cities.
It is not yet possible to determine the borders of the Ionian city during its establishment phase. The borders of the city of geometric period could not be determined precisely. However, it can be said that the center of the settlement is located in Limantepe and its vicinity, where the prehistoric settlement is located. The spreading area, architectural structure and other material cultural traces of the city of the geometric period have not been investigated yet. This is because the layers associated with the periods in question are located below the sea level and the groundwater today. Archaic settlement in Klazomenai was interrupted around 546 BC with the Persian occupation and the city area was abandoned for 20-25 years. The phase before this temporal gap, which cannot be traced with archaeological finds, is considered as an early archaic period. It is understood that with a dating that can be made based on the Attika material, the Klazomenians returned to the old city areas around 525-520 BC, life was revived even though the structures were built temporarily at first, and a widespread settlement and industrial activities started again in all urban areas within a very short time. Both the information obtained from ancient sources and the archaeological studies conducted in overseas colonies constitute evidence to the advanced trade and rising prosperity of the last quarter of the 6th century BC. In Klazomenai, both the prevalence and density in the settlement areas and also the revival of an industry, especially olive oil production workshops, are among the evidences of this accumulation of wealth.
The cities of Ionia, after this rapid leap, increased their self-confidence and ended with an attempt to rebel against the Persian domination. It is reported by Herodotos (V.123) that Klazomenai was conquered by the Persians in the early years of the rebellion. The abandonment of the city of Klazomenai on the mainland should be after the Ionian uprising, for which Pausanias said, "They pass to the island because of the fear of Persia”. In the settlement areas on the mainland, traces of fire observed in layers from the late 6th century to the beginning of the 5th century BC can be evaluated in connection with Persian destruction. Although this destruction does not cover all areas, the fact that many buildings are not reconstructed after the fire in question should point to fires that developed as a result of the rush during escape. After this date, for at least a hundred years, no archaeological remains are found on the mainland. During the 5th century BC, Klazomenai certainly looked like an island city. As excavation works on the quarantine island show, Klazomenai would live as an island city from that time on. It is understood from the small excavations carried out on the island that the Klazomenai people moved here in the beginning of the 5th century BC. Quarantine Island should be the new settlement places of the people fleeing the mainland with the fear of Persia. In the time of Alexander, the city was rebuilt on the island by providing a connection to the mainland (Quarantine Island) with the island off the city, this connection way still remains in place today. A new urbanization has emerged with the city walls and the city theater located in the north. The architectural texture of the Hellenistic and Roman era Klazomenai (its ruins are located on the Quarantine Island today) is very weak due to the fact that their remains were looted to be used as building blocks for centuries. After the peace of Apameia in 188 BC, Klazomenai is among the cities liberated by the Romans. It is understood that the city on the island was abandoned in the 5th century AD. The city, which is mentioned in the Khalkedon council in 451 AD, the Hierokles lists in 530 AD and some later bishopric lists, seems to be possible to be located in Gülbahçe Village, where a church ruin and Byzantine inscriptions were found belonging to these periods.
Klazomenai gains importance with the diversity of data related to its industrial fields. Olive oil atelier showing two different usage phases in the 6th century BC and other olive oil workshops that continued their activities at the end of the same century are proof of the city's attempts to meet the increasing overseas demand during this period. Ceramic furnaces unearthed in the city, bone tools (or ornaments?) workshop and blacksmith's workshop can be underlined as other industry units. During the excavations carried out between 1992 and 1998, one of the oldest olive oil production facilities was discovered in the region of Hamdi Balaban Field, dating to the 6th century BC. The Klazomenai workshop was unearthed with small finds from its era. According to the dates given by these finds, the workshop was established in the first half of the 6th century BC. This workshop was abandoned in the middle of the century, when the Persians captured Ion cities together with Lydia, and in the last quarter of the century it was reused with new arrangements. As can be observed in the entire settlement, this facility was abandoned around 500 BC during the Ionian uprising and was not used later.
Excavations were carried out in this region in 1999 to understand the function of the 6th century olive oil workshop and of the area north to the workshop. These studies revealed the existence of a new archaic workshop in Klazomenai. With the help of pits dug into the bedrock, the data obtained from the shaped parts and small finds, it was understood that this building was a olive oil production workshop and a modern blacksmith workshop. The workshop is located just south of and adjacent to the waste water channel called double channel. The double channel limits the blacksmith workshop diagonally in the north. In this regard, the workshop does not have a proper plan.
In Klazomenai, necropolis areas, most of which are dated to the late geometric and archaic periods, have been identified. The fact that the necropolis was scattered all over the city and used in many cases simultaneously suggests that in the noble society of the era, each lineage buried their dead in separate places. In the east, there are Kalabak locality and DSI Canal Necropolis, in the southwest there are Yıldız Tepe Necropolis and Monastirakia Necropolis near Cankurtaran Hill, and in the west there is Akpınar Necropolis. Also in the sources from the beginning of the 20th century, there is word of some sarcophagi, which are said to be located in the 'Kamani' region, in the eastern part of the Urla-Iskele road. Apart from these, the spots on several hills around were also used as burial areas. In these areas one can see also some destroyed tumuli.