Izmir's Ancient Agora was built at the base of Pagos Hill, the highest hill in ancient Smyrna/Izmir. What is an “agora”? According to the dictionary, it means; “ a public marketplace, a public gathering area for commerce as well as a forum for the citizens of a city”. It was used in ancient times for the social and political sounding board for opinions and commerce to be heard and shared. It is known that as early as the 900s–700s BC that, citizens that were free-born male land-owners would gather in the Agora to hear announcements and statements of the rulers.
After driving to the Agora, which is midway between the acropolis and the harbor, you can wander around this Open Air Museum of Izmir and know that you are in one of the best preserved agoras in the world. Another place of great interest for students of history is the Izmir Archaeological Museum, where the precious artifacts from Aphrodisias, Miletus, Didyma, Ephesus and Pergamon, plus more. that were once found in the Izmir Agora are now wonderfully preserved.
It was, wife of Marcus Aurelius, that had the Ancient Agora rebuilt after an earthquake devastated the original in 178 AC. In its glory days, it had a large altar dedicated to Zeus in the center with colonnades encircling it on the western and northern sides which you can still see today and helps in imagining the Agora’s glorious past.
FYI: The common modern word “agoraphobia”, is the fear of public places and situations.