The Peninsula is located at the west end of İzmir and consists of Karaburun, Çeşme, Seferihisar, Urla and Güzelbahçe districts. The biggest peninsula of Turkey with 171 thousand hectares, it is surrounded by the Aegean Sea in the west and Bay of İzmir and River Menderes in the north, Balçova and Narlıdere in the East; Bay of Kuşadası in the south. A great part of the southern coast of İzmir Bay is located at the peninsula. The proximity of Çeşme to Chios in the west and Karaburun to Lesbos in the north gives information on the continental intimacy of the area. The Sarpıncık Lantern at the very end of Karaburun opens the doors of the Aegean to the Mediterrenean.
Thousands of Years at the Peninsula;
The very first settlement founded in the İzmir Peninsula was during the Chalcolithic age. Archeologists have come across archeological findings at Manastır, Çakmaktepe region (approx. 3-4 km south from Karaburun city center), Mordoğan and Ildırı. Stone axes, instruments and hand tools, pots and jugs were found dating back to the 4th century BC. Underwater archeological works proved that the very first known harbor city, Urla Limantepe was settled in the 6th century BC. It was also proven that one of the first settlements of the Peninsula, in Erythrai’de (Ildırı), dated back to the 3rd century BC.
The Peninsula went through its golden age during the Ancient era; in the the Ionian period that pioneered navigation, trade, philosophy, science, arts and politics. The Ionians moved from today's Greece to Western Anatolia due to Dorian invasion around the 1st century BC and settled to various 12 harbors and set up 12 independent city states. The Ionians built a great civilization covering Ildırı in the west, Söke and Didim in the south, Foça in the north and across the coast Chios and Samos islands. The 12 Ionian cities, 7 of which are within the borders of today's İzmir (geographically within the peninsula and its background), were:
Erythrai (Ildırı-Çeşme), Klazomenai (İskele-Urla), Teos (Sığacık-Seferihisar), Lebedos (Gümüldür-Seferihisar), Kolophon (Değirmendere-Menderes), Ephesus (Selçuk), Phokai (Foça), Priene (Söke), Miletus (Didim), Myus (Didim), Chios (Sakız), Samos (Sisam).
Within about three hundred years, the Ionian civilization, enriching itself with naval trade,involved Smyrna (İzmir) as well. Smyrna was settled over the fertile lands of Yeşilova and Ulucak, next to the water springs, in around 6500 BC and was included to a trade union called Panionion during the 8th century BC. Smyrna was one of the first cities that flourished due to the naval trade of the ancient times and prospered ever more during the Ionian period that established the most advanced naval civilization in history.
Karaburun and its periphery were called Mimas during the Ancient era and after the Ionian rule, Lydians, Persians, Macedonians, Kingdom of Pergamon, Romans and the Byzantians dominated the area. After the Malazgirt War in 1071, Turkmen tribes settled in to the region. Çakabey set up the first Turkish Smyrnian seigniory and ruled over the Peninsula. İzmir was invaded by Aydınoğulları Seigniory in 1310 and then conquered by the Crusaders in 1334, which designated the history of the Peninsula. Yıldırım Bayezid was defeated by Timur (1402) during the war of Ankara, thus İzmir was granted to Aydınoğulları. In 1415, Çelebi Sultan Mehmet included the city within the Empire borders. After the declaration of the Republic on the 29th October 1923, the Peninsula of İzmir became what it is in the present day.