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İzmit is a city in Turkeymarker, administrative center of Kocaeli Provincemarker as well as the Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality. It is located at the Gulf of İzmitmarker (the ancient Gulf of Astacus) in the Sea of Marmaramarker, about east of Istanbulmarker, on the northwestern part of Anatoliamarker. The city centre has a population of 248,424 (2007 census). The urban area has a population of 577,932 inhabitants and is part of Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality, one of seven districts within Kocaeli Province, with a population of 1,411,845 inhabitants.

İzmit (Nicomedia) was the eastern and most senior capital city of the Roman Empire between 286 and 324, during the Tetrarchy introduced by Diocletian. Following Constantine's victory over co-emperor Licinius at the Battle of Chrysopolis (Üsküdarmarker) in 324, Nicomedia served as an interim capital city for Constantine the Great between 324 and 330, until the nearby Byzantium was officially declared Nova Roma (later known as Constantinoplemarker, present-day Istanbulmarker.)


The geological location of İzmit is between 40°-41° N and 29°-31° E, surrounded by the Gulf of İzmit at south, Istanbul and the Sea of Marmara at west, the Black Seamarker at north, and Sakarya at east.

The city is mostly built on hill slopes because of the cramped area, while flat plains are located around the gulf, near the sea. This topographic structure divided the city in two different parts. The first part was created on flat plains, where the city center is also located. The railway and highway networks also pass from this area which is close to the Sea of Marmara. The second part was built on hills, with many historic houses from the Ottoman period in the old quarters.


The local climate, more temperate near the Gulf of İzmitmarker (İzmit Körfezi in Turkish, known as the Gulf of Astacus in the Roman period) and the Black Sea, more severe in the mountains, constitutes a transition between Mediterranean and Black Sea types; the typical urban summer here is hot and dry, the winter wet, however, Izmit and Marmara lack the refreshing summer breezes of the northern reaches, and can become humid.

The highest recorded temperature in the city (11 Aug 1970) was , the lowest (4 Feb 1960) , while the yearly average stands at .

The Black Sea coast sees an annual rainfall of 1000 mm, which gradually lessens south-eastwards: Izmit, for example, generally gets less than 800 mm. The south-facing slopes of the Samanlı mountains, near Körfezmarker, experience conditions similar to Black Sea coastal regions. Winter winds blow from the south to south-east, while in summer mainly south-easterly.


In Antiquity, the city was called Astacus or Olbiamarker (founded 712 BC). After being destroyed, it was rebuilt and founded by Nicomedes I of Bithynia in 264 BC under the name of Nicomediamarker, and has ever since been one of the most important cities in northwestern Asia Minormarker. Hannibal came to Nicomedia in his final years and committed suicide in nearby Libyssa (Gebzemarker). The historian Arrian was born there. Nicomedia was the metropolis of Bithynia under the Roman Empire (see Nicaeamarker), and Diocletian made it the eastern capital city of the Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system. Nicomedia remained as the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Roman Empire until Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great in 324. Constantine mainly resided in Nicomedia as his interim capital city for the next six years, until in 330 he declared the nearby Byzantium as Nova Roma, which eventually became known as Constantinoplemarker (present-day Istanbulmarker). Constantine died in a royal villa at the vicinity of Nicomedia in 337. Owing to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinoplemarker.Until the late XI century it was under Byzantine rule. Than it was captured by Seljuk Turks, but soon after it was regained thanks to the successes of the first crusade. After capture of Constantinoplemarker in 1204 the city, together with most of the Bithynia province, became a part of the Latin Empire. It was recaptured by the Byzantines around 1235 and stayed in its borders until first half of the XIV century. The city was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1338.

It was occupied by United Kingdommarker in November 20, 1918 and Greecemarker in October 26, 1920 and was "liberated" in June 28, 1921 during Turkish War of Independence.

The earthquake of August 17marker, 1999 (magnitude 7.4) devastated the region, killing more than 19,000 people and leaving half a million homeless. It took several years for the city to recover from this disaster; but the scars, especially on the memories of the residents - many of whom lost loved ones, can still be observed.

Main sights

There are numerous tourist attractions both in the city centre and its adjacent region, such as
  • remains of the ancient Acropolis, Agora, Amphitheater, Nymphaeum, Necropolis
  • the Demeter Temple
  • the Hellenistic Üçtepeler Mound King Tombs
  • Roman city walls, aqueducts and cisterns
  • parts of the Temple of Augustus
  • parts of the Palace and Arsenal of Diocletian
  • the Byzantine fortress at the core of the Roman city walls
  • Orhan Gazi Mosque (1333)
  • the 14th century Süleyman Paşa Hamam
  • the 16th century Imaret Mosque and Pertev Paşa Mosque (1580), designed by the great Ottoman architect Sinan
  • Pertev Paşa Fountain (1571)
  • the 16th century Mehmed Bey Hamam
  • Saatçi Ali Efendi Mansion (1776)
  • Tüysüz Fountain (1782)
  • the early 19th century Fevziye Mosque
  • Kapanca Sokağı Fountain and Canfeda Kethüda Kadın Fountain (1827)
  • Sırrı Paşa Mansion (mid-19th century)
  • Kasr-ı Hümayun Palace
  • French Theological School
  • Redif Barracks (1863)
  • İzmit Clock tower (1901).


A view from İzmit's Demiryolu Avenue.
İzmit is an important industrial centre, with a large oil refinery, and major paper and cement factories. Ford Motor Company has a plant here in a joint venture with Otosan, assembling the Transit/Tourneo and Transit/Tourneo Connect vans. It is also a transportation hub, being located on the main highway and railway lines between Istanbul and Ankaramarker, and having a major port.

In the past few years the province has developed into a growth point for the Turkish automotive industry, receiving investments from Ford, Hyundai, Honda and Isuzu. Tyre and rubber products are produced to world class standard (Goodyear, Pirelli, Lassa and Bridgestone.) As of today, Kocaeli province has attracted more than 1200 industrial investments, 108 of which have been established with international capital. Turkey’s largest enterprise, the Tüpraş Petroleum Refinery Plant, is also located in Kocaeli, containing altogether 27% of the national chemical products industry, including petrochemical products. Eighteen of the 100 largest enterprises of Turkey are located in Kocaeli, and contribute to around 17-18% of the national tax revenues.

Financial Times affiliated Foreign Direct Investment Magazine nominated Kocaelimarker (the province of which İzmit is the capital) among the 25 European Regions of the Future for 2006-2007. The city was chosen along with Adanamarker for Turkeymarker, which scored the highest points for cost effectiveness against Kocaeli's wider infrastructure, while Adana and Kocaeli tied on points for human resources and quality of life.

The famous Turkish traditional sweet Pişmaniye is a product of İzmit and the Kocaeli Provincemarker.


A ferry leaving İzmit for its destination.
Being located along the commercially-active Black Seamarker and Marmara Seamarker shorelines, Kocaeli boasts 5 ports and 35 industrial docks, making it an important communications centre, as well as Anatoliamarker’s farthest inland contact point and a gateway to global markets. The main transportation routes, the D-100 highway and the E-6 TEM (Trans European Motorway) which connects Europe with Asia, along with railway lines, form an intercontinental passage network.

Kocaeli neighbours one of the world’s largest metropolitan centres, Istanbulmarker. Its vicinity to Istanbul's two international airports (Sabiha Gökçen International Airportmarker and Atatürk International Airportmarker) which are away, respectively, from İzmit's city centre, provides national and international connections.


Kocaeli University was established in the city in 1992. The university has more than 50,000 students.

Image gallery

Image:Gulf_and_City_of_Izmit.jpg|Gulf of İzmitImage:Izmit old city.jpg|İzmit Clock TowerImage:Roman_aqueduct_in_Izmit.jpg|Roman aqueductImage:Temple of Augustus in Izmit.jpg|Temple of Augustus

Historic and modern sites in and around İzmit

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

İzmit is twinned with:

See also


2. Nicomedia (Izmit Tarihi) by Avni Öztüre

External links

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