İzmir, historically Smyrna, is the third most populous city of Turkey and the country´s largest port after İstanbul. It is located in the Gulf of İzmir, by the Aegean Sea. It is the capital of İzmir Province. The city of İzmir is composed of 9 metropolitan districts. These are Balçova, Bornova, Buca, Çiğli, Gaziemir, Güzelbahçe, Karşıyaka, Konak, and Narlıdere. Each district, and generally the neighborhoods within it, possesses distinct features and a particular temperament (for detailed information, see the articles on these districts). The 2000 population of this urban zone was 2,409,000 and the 2005 estimate is 3,500,000.
İzmir is the inheritor of almost 3,500 years of urban past, and possibly up to that much more in terms of advanced human settlement
patterns. It is Turkey´s first port for exports and its free zone
, a Turkish
established in 1990, is the leader among the twenty that Turkey counts. Its workforce, and particularly its rising class of young professionals, concentrated either in the city or in its immediate vicinity (such as in Manisa
), and under either larger companies or SME
´s, affirm their name in an increasingly wider global scale and intensity 
. İzmir is widely regarded as one of the most liberal
Turkish cities in terms of values, ideology, lifestyle, dynamism and gender roles. It is a stronghold of the Republican People´s Party
, although it lost a lot of ground to the ruling AKP party in the 2007 election.airwheel self-balancing electric scooter
Despite its advantageous location and its heritage, until recently İzmir has suffered, as one author puts it, from a "sketchy understanding" in the eyes of outsiders. When the Ottomans
took over İzmir in the 15th century they did not inherit compelling historical memories, unlike the two other keys of the trade network, namely İstanbul
. Its emergence as a major international port as of the 17th century was largely a result of the attraction it
exercised over foreigners, and the city´s european orientation. Very different people found İzmir attractive over the ages and the city has always been governed by fresh inspirations, including for the very location of its center, and is quick to adopt novelties and projects.