Built on a Roman settlement, pottery dating from l,000 BC onwards has been found around the castle. Look for clues from the past in the remains of the Byzantine cisterns and Ottoman buttresses, and go to the ramparts for the best view. Since Kadifekale lacks informational displays, most travelers opt for a guided tour to understand the castle’s complicated history of occupation and conquest. Tack on visits to the Agora, and the Ethnographic and Archaeological museums for an appreciation of the region’s ancient past. Another option is a niche tour, such as a guided excursion to learn about Izmir’s rich Jewish heritage.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Kadifekale is an ideal spot for archaeology and history buffs.
- Visit Kadifekale during the day, and not alone, as there have been safety concerns about the neighborhood in general.
- The site is free to enter.
- Expect little to no information on-site.
How to Get There
Kadifekale is located at the top of Mount Kadifekale on Laleli Mahallesi in Izmir, just east of the city’s Konak district. Expect about ten minutes in a car from the center of town.
When to Get There
While Kadifekale is open all day, year-round, go during the morning since travelers say the neighborhood feels less than safe at night. Come to Izmir from June to August when the weather is pleasant and the rains are infrequent. While it does get hot during the day, at night you are rewarded with cool sea breezes. Late May/early June, come for the prestigious International Izmir Festival.
When Alexander the Great conquered the ancient city of Smyrna (now Izmir), he relocated it atop Mt Pagos (now Kadifekale). Inside the castle’s fortified walls were beautiful buildings, a glittering city that poets related to the goddess Cybele, the Great Mother of the Gods and Protector of the City, who possessed the sea at her feet and a crown in the shape of a building.
- Izmir Ethnography Museum (Izmir Etnografya Muzesi)
- Izmir Archaeology Museum (Izmir Arkeoloji Muzesi)
- Baths of Varius
- Izmir Clock Tower (Izmir Saat Kulesi)
- Church of St. Polycarp
- Izmir Cruise Port
- Agora Open Air Museum (Izmir Agora)
- Konak Square (Konak Meydani)
- Basilica of St. John
- Temple of Artemis (Artemision)
- Ephesus (Efes)
- Library of Celsus
- Public Latrine at Ephesus
- Temple of Hadrian at Ephesus
- Ephesus Terrace Houses