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Kadifekale (Velvet Castle)

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Alexander the Great constructed Velvet Castle in the fourth century BCE on a peak with a commanding outlook of the Gulf of Izmir. Remnants of successive occupiers, such as Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans, can be found, although not much of the walled castle survives besides high ramparts, the remnants of a mosque from the 14th century, and a breathtaking view.

The Basics

Around the castle, pottery going back to 10,000 B.C. and earlier has been discovered. Examine the ruins of the Byzantine cisterns and Ottoman buttresses for historical clues, and climb the ramparts for the best perspective. Since there are no explanatory displays at Kadifekale, most tourists choose for a guided tour to learn about the complex history of occupation and conquest at the castle. Add trips to the Agora and the Ethnographic and Archaeological museums for a deeper understanding of the ancient past of the region. A specialized trip, such as a guided excursion to learn about Izmir’s rich Jewish legacy, is another possibility.

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 near the top of Mount Kadifekale on Laleli Mahallesi in Izmir, just east of the city’s Konak district. The drive from the center of town should take about ten minutes.


When to Get There

While Kadifekale is open all year, go early in the morning because passengers say the neighborhood is unsafe at night. Come to Izmir between May and Sept, when the weather is pleasant and the rains are few. While it can be scorching during the day, cool sea breezes welcome you at night. Come attend the famous International Izmir Festival in September.

Ancient Smyrna

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Kadifekale?

Attractions near Kadifekale:

What else should I know about attractions in Izmir?

As well as visiting the Kadifekale, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit:

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