10 Reasons To Visit Izmit
There are endless reasons to visit Izmit, but here is our top 10.
With a 3000 year history, there are more than 500 historical landmarks and dozens of 10 different reasons to visit this city.
Izmit is an exciting city that has witnessed important historical events and has been home to several civilizations.
1. Izmit Clock Tower
Izmit Clock Tower is the symbolic landmark of the city. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century in the Saraybahçe Kemalpasha neighbourhood, at the same time, as similar magnificent tower built in other cities in the Ottoman Empire in order to celebrate Sultan Abdulhamit II’s 25th year on the throne. With its neoclassical architectural elements, the Clock Tower stands in one of the finest locations in the city, overlooking the Gulf of Izmit.
2. Izmit Palace
Built by the Ottoman Sultan Abdülaziz in the 19th century, Izmit Palace is the only palace in Turkey that was built outside Istanbul. The neoclassical, baroque and classical Ottoman art styles of the palace are especially highlighted. The various sections of the palace contain an Atatürk room, a protocol room, a palace museum, a reception room and a Turkish hammam. The palace is also known as the Hunting Mansion, The Izmit Mansion and the Sultan Palace.
3. Sirri Pasha Mansion
Built on the orders of Izmit governor Sırrı Pasha in the Hacı Hasan district in Yeni Çesme street, the mansion is an example of 19th century civil architecture. With a view over the Gulf, this four story wooden mansion’s interior walls are decorated with antique statues and other architectural pieces. The annex of the mansion was built with bricks imported from France. A part of the high stone-fences of the garden were built with stones from antique buildings. It is said that the mansion’s interior wall decorations were by the same artists who restored the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul.
4. Archaeology Museum
Having been home to various civilizations in its 3000 year history, and with priceless items excavated from the area, The Izmit Archaeology and Ethnography Museum has more than 5000 pieces on display, with something of interest for every visitor. The museum is located in a train station complex, and has items from the Paleolithic, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras displayed in indoor and outdoor exhibitions.
5. Pertev Pasha Mosque
The Pertev Mehmet Pasha Mosque was built by Mimar Sinan by the order of Kethüde Sinan Aga in accordance with Pertev Pasha’s will. It was built in the 16th century and is one of the most valuable and exceptional landscapes built by Mimar Sinan in Izmit. Also known as Yeni Cuma Mosque today, the only surviving parts of what used to be a great Islamic – Ottoman social complex are the mosque itself, the fountain, and the Ottoman primary school.
6. Antique Aqueduct
There is an aqueduct located in the valley to the north west of Üçtepeler village. It is one of the most fascinating landmarks in Izmit. The meagre vegetation around the aqueduct highlights the magnificence of the landmark even more. According to historic sources, aqueducts were built by Nicomedia’s governor Plinius in the 2nd century by order of the Roman Emperor Trajan. It is apparent from the Ottoman and Byzantine markings on the top of the aqueduct that the landmark was restored many times.
7. Orhan Mosque
In the first years of the Ottoman Empire, the mosque was built in Orhan Gazi’s name by his descendant, Süleyman Sah. As the only mosque that was built after Izmit’s conquest and still surviving today, it also symbolizes that conquest and has a unique sentimental value, being one of the rarest mosques in Turkey. You’ll never tire of the view of the sunset over Izmit bay from the Mosque’s garden.
8. Gültepe Necropolis
The remains of the necropolis dating from the 2nd – 4th centuries AD, and a religious landmark from the Byzantine Empire is located in the Izmit section of the Istanbul – Ankara highway, east of Gültepe. After the excavations conducted by the Kocaeli Museum, many hypogeans and cruciform church remains were found. Tombs with rectangular rooms in the West and the remains of Christian martyrs were just some of the things that were found during the excavation.
9. Izmit Tolerance Monument
This modern monument was built on 23 July 2011 by the collaboration of the Art Nicomedia Association and the Izmit Municipality to celebrate the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Tolerance published in Nicomedia by Roman Emperor Galerius on 30 April 311 AD, which was a turning point in world history, being world’s first known edict of tolerance. The Izmit Tolerance Monument symbolizes the concept of tolerance that has been present in the city for centuries.
10. Kapanca Street
Izmit is a city that is famous for its Ottoman style traditional houses, and Kapanca Street is an important example of traditional civil architecture. We’re lucky that many buildings in this street, with their traditional characteristics, have survived until today. A large number of the houses in Kapanca Street were rebuilt in the 19th and 20th centuries, and were restored with original materials from the centuries when they were originally built.