Wednesday, October 10, 2007

İzmit (ancient Nicomedia) is a city in Turkey, administrative center of Kocaeli Province as well as Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality . It is located at the Gulf of İzmit in the Sea of Marmara, about 100 km east of İstanbul, on the northwestern part of Anatolia. The city has a population of 199,023 (2000 census), compared with a pre-earthquake estimate of 210,000. The urban area has a population of 577,932 inhabitants and is part of Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality , which has the same border as 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 system introduced by Diocletian, and 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 Constantinople, present-day Istanbul).

Defining İzmit
The local climate, more temperate near the Gulf of İzmit (Körfez in Turkish) 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, but certain differences are apparent between the coastal regions mentioned: 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 41.6°C , the coolest (4 Feb 1960) -8.7°C , while the yearly average stands at 14.8°C .
The Black Sea coast sees an annual rainfall of 1000mm., which gradually lessens the further south-east one travels: Izmit, for example, generally gets less than 800mm. The south-facing slopes of the Samanlı mountains, near Körfez, experience conditions similar to Black Sea coastal regions. Here too rainfall is different. Winter winds blow from South/South-East, Summer South-east.

İzmit is an important industrial center, 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 İstanbul and Ankara, and having a major port.
In the past few years the province has developed into a hotspot for the automotive industry, with investments of the sector's heavy names such as: Ford, Hyundai, Honda and Isuzu. The big leaguers of the tyre and rubber sector (Goodyear, Pirelli, Lassa and Bridgestone) operate in Kocaeli. Today Kocaeli hosts 1200 industrial investments of which 108 have been established with international capital. Turkey's largest enterprise, Tüpraş Petroleum Refinery Plant, is also located in Kocaeli, where the province shoulders 27% of the national chemical industry (petro-chemical included). 18 of the 100 largest enterprises of Turkey are located in Kocaeli.
Another strong indicator for the province is the 17-18% of the national tax revenues which are collected from Kocaeli.
Financial Times affiliated Foreign Direct Investment Magazine nominated Kocaeli (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 Adana for Turkey, which scored the most points for cost effectiveness against Kocaeli's wider infrastructure, while Adana and Kocaeli tied on points for human resources and quality of life.
According to calculations made by the Anatolia News Agency based on national income estimations for 2007 with respect to purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita and accepting the shares of the Turkish provinces in the national income of 2001 as a constant, Kocaeli will be the richest province in Turkey with a per capita income of $23,581.
İzmit Outlet Centre gives manufacturers the opportunity to sell their products faster by uniting in one center. Besides shopping, the Center is designed to cater for all needs where visitors can spend longer periods of time.
The famous Turkish traditional sweet Pişmaniye is a native product of İzmit and the Kocaeli Province.

Being located along the commercially-active Black Sea and Marmara Sea shorelines, Kocaeli boasts 5 ports and 35 industrial docks, making it a logistics haven, as well as Anatolia's farthest inland contact point and a gateway to the 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 the railway lines, form an intercontinental passage network. Kocaeli neighbours one of the world's largest metropolitan centres, Istanbul. Its vicinity to Istanbul's two international airports (Sabiha Gökçen International Airport and Atatürk International Airport) which are 45 and 80 km away, respectively, from İzmit's city centre, provides the ultimate national and international transportation connection with the city and its surrounding province.

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

In antiquity, the city was called Astacus or Olbia (founded 712 BC). After being destroyed, it was rebuilt and founded by Nicomedes I of Bithynia in 264 BC under the name of Nicomedia, and has ever since been one of the most important cities in northwestern Asia Minor. Hannibal came to Nicomedia in his final years and committed suicide in nearby Libyssa (Gebze). The historian Arrian was born there. Nicomedia was the metropolis of Bithynia under the Roman Empire (see Nicaea), 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 Constantinople (present-day Istanbul). 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 Constantinople.
The city was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1338.
The earthquake of August 17, 1999 (magnitude 7.4) devastated the region, killing more than 19,000 people and leaving many more homeless. It took several years for the city to recover from this disaster; but the scars, especially on the memories of the residents -most of whom lost their loved ones, family members or friends- can still be observed.

Gulf of İzmit
İzmit Clock Tower
İzmit Roman aqueduct
Temple of Augustus
İzmit TCG Gayret Museum

Historic and modern sites in and around İzmit

Flag of Germany - Kassel, Germany since 1989
Flag of South Korea - Ulsan, South Korea
Flag of the People's Republic of China - Jinan, China

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